Crescent Basketball League

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CBL30 Semis Preview. Two Games

CBL Semi-finals 2021. Game 1, 8:00pm

Autobots(8th) vs Uncle Drew(6th)
The two under dogs have made it to the semi finals and in a shocking and exciting way. If one of these teams can make it to the finals it may just be a Cinderella story for the history books. The Autobots look to be the first team with one win in the regular season to make it the CBL30 Finals. Uncle Drew would be the season underperformer who made it to the finals on grit and patience. Either way this semifinals matchup might be one talked about for years to come. Get you’re cookies and here we go!

Head to Head

Johnathan Hunter Vs Alonzo Robinson (PG)
This point guard matchup might be the matchup to watch for the night. The first question to be asked is what will they come in and do? Pass, score, defend? We ask this because they can both do it all.. but at will!! Ager brings high energy without saying a word and if not for his game you wouldn’t know he was there (silent killer). Alonzo is brash, has swagger and skill but he’ll let you know all about it to your face! They both have the ability to do what they want when they want and it’s a beauty to watch. When watching Zo you wait to see if he’ll ever miss, with his quickness and ball handling good luck keeping up. Ager plays with strength, force and hustle all qualities not many CBL guards have. Many question if Zo even goes hard because basketball looks so simple for him I sweats yes sweats! Ager plays every possession as if it’s his last. If you want to see a dog fight this is the one. It’s a tough matchup to decide and because of that we find this matchup : EVEN

Dez Frasier Vs Saleh Ahmed (F)
If we get the Saleh and Dez that we saw in round one then this is gonna be one heck of game! Both came out to cook whoever was at the BBQ and boy was it scrumptious. It took some brotherly trash talk to get both men going, saleh by his boys and Dez by the league and it backfired for the opponents! Saleh is a prolific outside shooter who loves to knock down the top of the key three and sprinkle a post up fadeaway J when he feels like it. Dez is a post um and toast Um force who will take a charge on Shaq if he had to. Once locked in Saleh is a guy who you can’t lay off of because he can push a 2 point lead to a 10 point lead. He’s got youth, hunger, and free reign to do what he likes so long as he’s under control. Dez is a veteran and methodical player, he gets to his spots and takes his time making sure it’s efficiency over flash. They both have the stamina of Farooq on a long Friday night(minimal) but on this night they need to dig deep it’s do or die. We see Saleh as the favorite in this matchup do to his age, free offense and pace: SALEH

Andre Florent Vs Azal Ahmed(SG)
Both these men have arrived and it’s about damn time. They went missing in the regular season do to personal reasons and we understand that but due to CBL kindness they still have a chance to erase all negatives. Dre at 100% is a force and one to reckoned with believe me you. He’s got slashing, defense, and the strength to win. What he lacks in IQ he surely makes up in effort. His shooting is subpar but the AUTOBOTS hide that well. His counterpart Azal is the same but has the IQ and veteran poise a team would want. His PG mentality is key to relieving pressure off of Zo and his ability to dribble drive and dish gets Saleh easy baskets. We feel that his lack of shooting ability stops him from being a threat on offense as he becomes hesitant to shoot or go for the layup when under the basket. Dre has the ability to change a game on a dime and it’s scary. Azal has the ability to control tempo and that is stellar. The main thought is which player shows up on this night? We believe the younger Dre will step up knowing he’s gotta use his strength and speed rather then his skill: ANDRE

Stan Milen Vs Mehdi Mcbahi(C)
The battle of the bigs is special in this game because it’s insanity(Stan) vs calmness(Mehdi). You’d think insanity would be a bad thing here but it definitely isn’t. Stan brings to CBL what Ben Wallace, Ron Artest and Lamar Odom brought to their championship teams and that’s grit, hustle and skills at any and all costs. He has the length to block shots and cut passing lanes, he’s also an efficient mid range knockdown shooter. His one issue.. falling out with the refs and taking away his focus from the task at hand..winning! Don’t forget he’s a defending champion so he deff is looking to go back to back Covid-19 or not. Mehdi Mcbahi on the other hand is silent and a young lefty who can get lost in the mix but finish with a high double double. He’s got the length and strength to alter shots and grab rebounds. His one down side is is inability to finish at the basket in what we believe are easy attempts. If Mehdi can finish the easy ones he’s a 20 and 10 guy but if he can’t then he’s just a rebounder and not a offensive threat. He’s got youth and energy going for him and he’s gonna be expected to use it in this game. I feel that Stan physically and mentally is just to much to handle and he’ll definitely let Mahdi know: STAN

Dev/Fahad/Raheel/Saffi Vs Tayeb/Amjed/Zia(SG)
The battle of the Ones and the role players. Believe it or not player of the decade Saffi is a one and amongst the names of Fahad’s and Raheel’s but it ain’t so bad. He’s on the floor all game and he might not really be a one! Wake up Commish! Tayeb is a trophy lifter so he knows what winning is he’s also got the shooting ability of a sniper from three that can brake open a game in a minute. Raheel and Amjed play their roles when asked and Fahad and Zia break even. We believe Zia is sidelined with a season ending knee injury so his coaching will be on display. Even though we believe Saffi isn’t a one his ability pushes the Autobots over Uncle drew in the one’s battle. Autobots

Prediction: It’s tough to choose the winner of this game I must say. They both were underdogs for round one and showed grit to pull off upsets. We might have to base this decision on IQ, Veteran savvy and being previous champs before Covid hit. We take the Defending Champs the Autobots in an slow/physical back and forth affair! AUTOBOTS 66-60

CBL Semi-finals 2021, G2 9:30pm

IMAAN (1st) Vs OGZ 3.0 (4th) Just like that the second game of the 2021 CBL semifinals has a matchup for the ages. Kaptain and Koach Kamil of OGZ somehow finds himself one game away from the finals and hoisting another trophy after a rocky, turbulent and dramatic start(if you thought different shame on you). Captain Tariq and IMAAN are where many have believed they would be with superstar Mike Liander leading the way. Is this going to be upset city or just another I told you so type of night let’s break it down and see.

Head to Head

Apron vs Ish
This is a matchup of off court friends and workout buddies. We’ve seen the resurgence of Ish this season and it’s panned out great for Imaan. His ability to score and defend easies the pressure off Mike L in certain situations thus leading to some easy points. There isn’t much bad when it comes to his play other than possibly holding onto the ball longer then needed and feeling the need to score but is that really a bad thing? His counterpart Apron seems to just be flowing and for us that ain’t good enough. We know he has the talent to do anything he likes on the court(triple double ability). We know he’s very unselfish and gets his guys going but on this night more is needed. We’ve seen his lack of finishing at the basket this year possibly because he’s now working full time and those legs aren’t rested(welcome to real world). His shooting from the outside has gotten better and that can mean the difference for him and his team. Both these guys are solid defender’s in one on one situations and do bring the intensity all game. It will come down to offense in this position and who can make the game easier for their team. With this being said we will have to draw the Matchup pick: EVEN

Bryan Vs Moe H
We could say that Bryan may have been the steal/pickup of the season. He’s got the do it all ability with little sweat broken. His best strengths are rebounding and getting to the basket with his length and height. His game is simple and methodical which sometimes has you scratching your head as to how he’s got a double double. Don’t sleep on his outside shooting because when that’s on its tough to stop. His one downfall we feel maybe his lack of aggression and take a back seat mentality to his Co-Stars Apron and Jamal. As for Moe H you know what your getting, an all out defender for the whole game and a PG/SG who can make the open pass when needed as well as setting up the offense to get Mike L his shots. We believe he will start off on Bryan to slow his offense down but don’t be shocked if you see him guard 1 through 5 if asked. If he can produce the same offense he did last week then icing on the cake it will be for Imaan. We expect this matchup to be very interesting as Moe H will look to frustrate Bryan who doesn’t show much emotion. Matchup Pick: Even

Jamal Raziki Vs Jose Diaz
Boy oh boy If there’s a time to show off your skills now is it and to Jamal we are pointing! Ask anyone in CBL and they will tell you this young man could possibly be the best player in the league. He’s got the build, game, & the style. But ask again and they’ll tell you he’s inconsistent and probably to caught up emotionally. What we’re saying is relax and play your game you’ve been blessed! If we get an aggressive Jamal who doesn’t settle for the pull-up mid range shot(which he can hit) and get the attack the basket first Jamal then this will be a night for his defenders to forget. Jose Diaz is a veteran in this game and in this league and everyone knows his name either by his effort or his vocals. One thing he loves is locking up the other teams star but more than that is letting you know he’s doing it(modern day Oakley) haha. His offense may not be the best but once he gets the easy layups going the threes then start coming and boy oh boy the trash talking does also. We expect him to come out physical and in Jamal’s face with hopes of frustrating him. This matchup can go both ways with Jamal having an explosive offensive night or the opposite with Jose denying him any chance at breathing let alone shooting the ball. With that being said we believe this to be: Matchup pick: EVEN

Mark/Sami Rab vs Mike L
Good luck stopping Mike from scoring. Yeah it’s that plain and simple. We can see OGZ mixing and matching the defense with both Mark(size and strength) and Sammi(footwork and mobility) with hopes of stopping Mike from going off. Both Sammi & Mark can put the ball in the bucket and play their respective roles. They both have the ability to stretch the floor shooting the three as well as slash to the basket for a easy layups from PG Apron. The issue is trying to contain Mike is gonna require heart and mental fortitude with some patience. Now as for Mike “The Bucket” Liander it’s a question of 50 points or 30 points, 20 rebounds or 10 rebounds? I don’t want to sound like I’m in love with the guy but if you watch his game it’s polished and efficient and respect must be shown. Hold on though he isn’t perfect now sometimes we see his inability to trust his teammates come up and that could haunt them. In the playoffs one man won’t win you a game. He also cannot let the refs calls get to him as that sometimes takes his focus away and leads to the opposite team making a run. All in all we feel like no matter what is thrown at Mike it won’t be enough to stop him from doing what he wants..talent and height are it! Matchup pick: IMAAN

Talha/Sami Rab Vs Tariq/Safraz/Ethisam
For Tariq his injury is a concern and one that we will be watching. He alone is a double double player and a defensive presence down-low. Him not being 100% raises concerns for the startling lineup and his ability to run. As of last week we saw him with sneakers off on the flooring massaging away. Safraz is a former MVP and guard with experience and skill. The question is will he be here on the night? We’ve seen him get the loud advice from teammates when to layup or bring the ball out and not turn it over and that may hinder him and his game. We feel like he’s got the ability but he needs to show it. Being timid isn’t the time but being smart and efficient is. Ethisam could be a game changer on any team when 100% fit but as of right now he just seems like a roster spot to be filled until he finds his fitness. He can still shoot when needed but it’s on the defensive end where he gets exposed and for imaan that’s a no no. Talha for OGZ will look to guard the best of his opponents with his length and 6 fouls to give but as a one there’s only so much he can do and making sure to make the open under basket layups is it. Sammi is the same and now is time for him to step up. Matchup pick: IMAAN

Prediction. Another matchup and another great set of players to watch. One tough decision is to pick who the victor will be. We say it’s tough because the OGZ weren’t expected to make it this far(unless it was Kamil). We know Imaan has possible MVP Mike L and possible DMVP MoeH who both can control games. The worry for Imaan is will players other than Mike score or will they pull a CBB? As for OGZ being young is great and having hidden talent is better! In a shocking decision we hate to say it but Kaptain Kamil has been beating the system for decades now and on this day it won’t stop! Matchup pick: OGZ 77-74

Updated: December 5, 2021 — 9:01 pm
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