GSB S2 Finals: Game 3 Preview
Well, here we are folks. One team has every ounce of momentum and one team has their backside wedged up against a wall. To throw out some fancy statistics, tabulated by a supercomputer in a stowed away government basement, there is a 93% chance that one team will win and one team will lose this game. There is also a 0.00000041% chance that the jumbotron will fall down from the rafters squarely on top of both Anthony Stank and Hoe Jarris at the same time, and turn them into Stanky Hoe juice. I like those odds. But to each their own. Stanky Hoe Juice is a copyrighted product of the GSB universe and cannot be sold or redistributed in any form without written consent of the league. Stay thirsty my friends.
This season has been jam-packed full of amazing moments, so it’s hard to believe we are nearing the finale. Does Oakland hoist the trophy tonight, or can Portland snag a victory and put off Jarris’s red-eye flight to Atlantic City for one more day? Let’s break it down.
The Oakland Otters have shown flaws (very few if any) in sparse moments, but have still undoubtedly dominated this series averaging a margin of victory of 18 points on the dot.
The Otters and their prolific scoring attack took Game 1 by a score of 90 - 71 with gallant efforts from Almedin Colakovic and rookie Dane Jones. Both Colakovic and Jones hit the 20 point mark and carried Oakland through to the end buzzer. Anthony Stank had an atypical game and struggled to get going offensively. The Oakland HC spoke about “taking pressure off” of Stank, and possibly not making him the main focal point of the offense every game. Luckily, even with him only producing 4 points the team still waltzed to a win by controlling the 4th quarter of what had been a back and forth game.
Game 2 ended in a very similar manner with Oakland taking the win by nearly the same margin of victory as Game 1. An 88 - 71 victory put Oakland up 2-0 in the series. The difference in this game was Oakland took a massive lead early and never relinquished their grip on Portland’s nape. The Otters utilized a very balanced attack with the starters and bench both being efficient. There was very little back and forth and Portland looked completely out of sync from the get go. Maybe this stemmed from Oakland’s gameplan or Portland’s lineup change.
We have witnessed all season long the Otters’ ability to pounce on teams and rapidly turn a 4-5 point run into a 15 point lead through timely shooting, quick-cutting motions, and athletic contact finishes. It’s like each basket fuels their next shot and then the next and then the next; before you know it they have a double-digit lead on you, right after your best play when you felt like you had just gained the momentum against them.
But the same can be said about the Portland Pioneers. Who in my opinion on paper have one of, if not, the deepest rosters in the league. Hoe Jarris, Quan Wulong-Chi, Milton Francis-Heinkel, Pharaoh Dotson, Rashadi Ish, Rae’Sean Carter, Tim Savage, Tolany Velez, Devan Davis, Braden Hartjes… These are not just names… well they are. But these are also extremely proven players that have developed perfectly to fit snug in Portland’s offense stemming from their defense system.
Portland gets a lot of production from their bench, because their plan has always been to utilize the bench fully. They make use of their rotations wisely and try to always have veteran guards, with the ability to create their own shot, on the court at all times. Portland’s modus operandi this season has been a high-key pick and roll offense run usually with a guard and forward that gets their shooters open on the wing or forces mismatches to allow their slashers to iso and cook. However, they would much rather let MFH have a block party on the defensive end, grab a rebound, and then push the ball up court for a quick basket in transition. They are athletic, long, and like to run. Portland is also statistically one of the best defensive teams in the league and like to use the havoc they create to jumpstart their offense.
What to Expect in Game 3
I have spoken on this subject ad nauseam, the only thing differentiating these two teams is their physicality. Both teams have elite shooters, like to defend, and a deep roster. However, hustle and determination is where champions are made.
No matter which way you draw it, when both teams are this evenly matched, you have to fall back on the fundamentals. Who is getting it done at the most basic of levels. Right now Oakland is winning the rebounding battle and although the margin is not whopping , it’s the situations in which they are getting rebounds that are dictating the pace and feel of the game. Right now Oakland leads total rebounds 94 to 86 in the series. But understand that all rebounds are not created equally, although they show up in the stat sheet numerically as the same, I am talking about the game within the game. Oakland is getting a majority of their boards in Quarters 1-3, whereas Portland is getting a large part of their boards in Quarter 4 during mop-up duty.
If Portland wants a chance in Game 3, they need to get more physical on defense and position themselves better to be physical for rebounds. They are getting outworked and giving up offensive rebounds to Oakland which helped spark numerous runs in Game 2. Giving up an offensive board kills momentum, but imagine it happening after playing elite defense for 24 seconds in a game where your team is struggling, it’s soul-crushing. Every time the Pioneers seemed to try to make a run they’d give up an offensive board and fall apart shortly after. I fully expect for Porltand to shore up their rotation, and make sure that they pair Rae’Sean Carter and Pharaoh Dotson together more. That duo worked well given their athleticism which allowed Portland to run an inside-out offense that benefited their shooters like Jarris, Wulong-Chi, Velez, and Davis much more.
They also need to figure out ways to get Jarris going for the entire game. He has shown the ability to be a 20 point type of player, but has not been the leader we are used to him being on the court. They need their star players to step up.
However, on the opposite end you can feel something raunchy brewing. Stank is due for his magnum opus. A perfect game from him would more than likely seal the deal. He doesn’t just want to win, he wants to clown his opposition and drop 30 points on their head with a slew of stepback 3’s, crotch-grabbing dunks, and impossible layups. I predict Stank to look unstoppable, he has yet to unleash his fuel fury and the build-up is seeping out of his pores. He will burst if he doesn’t drop at least 20 points.
“Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again,” thank you Bush.
Oakland has figured out Portland and I hope and pray that Game 3 looks more like Game 1, the back and forth thriller that came down to the 4th quarter. But my gut says it will look more like Game 2, with Colakovic, Stank, and Nuff doing what they’ve done all season long. I do not want this season to be over. But, Oakland does.
Oakland 102 Portland 76 - we all get free fries.