Pure Youth 84 - Dacin 73
This was an interesting match-up of imports as both Jones-Jennings and Gayden are physically imposing compared to the Taiwanese players. With a 200 cm height restriction teams either go for the long athlete, or the brick wall. While Gayden is a great athelete, both of these players have some brick-wallishness about them.
This was a lot closer of a game then the final outcome suggests. Frankly, the teams were evenly matched in almost every statistical category. In the end it came down to Pure Youth hitting a couple more shots and then sinking their free throws at the end of the game. The imports had a nice little battle, showing a difference in their style of play. Jones-Jennings finished with 16 and 15 largely by moving people inside, while Gayden showed some versatility by stepping out for jump shots, he found the most success on inside moves and put backs, ending the night with 22 and 14. The best Taiwanese performance came by way of PY's Chien Chia-Hung who finished with 26.
Taiwan Beer 93 - KKL 72
Not too much to comment on this game, Taiwan Beer is just a lot better team. KKL is still without an import player since the departure of Bailey. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of this game is that all twelve players on Taiwan Beer saw at least 8 minutes of action. Phenomenal substituting by the coaching staff!
KKL's Chang Jung-hsuan leads the league in scoring at this point, but is really going to benefit from the presence of Shawn Hawkins on the opposite wing.
Taiwan Mobile 78 - Bank of Taiwan 72
Mobile jumped out to a 25-10 lead at the end of the 1st and appeared to be on their way to an easy victory. Not so. Bank of Taiwan slowly chipped away at the margin over the next two periods, starting the 4th only down by 2. While Mobile did hold on, it was an unimpressive victory to say the least. Dove continues to confuse me. He looks good out there, and is by far the best athlete on the court at all times. It does not seem to be translating to a huge impact on the court though. One problem Mobile faces is their lack of depth. They only went 8 deep in this game and it showed. Faulknor had another average performance. He plays with a ton of energy and makes good things happen, but does not seem to have the ability to create his own shots. This would not be a problem if his teammates could create shots . . .
Dacin 86 - KKL 72
The only good news coming out of this game was that one team would finally get a 'W'. Dacin, riding on the physical interior play of Gayden and Tien Lei pulled ahead in the 2nd Quarter and never looked back. Gayden has looked better each game after an ugly performance in the opener against Tseng and his Yulon teammates.
Yulon 76 - Pure Youth 74 (OT)
By far the game of the night, and the game of the season far was this battle between two of the top teams in the league. I saw this as a match-up to determine who is the #2 team in the league at this point, as Taiwan Beer looks to be in a class of their own. Anyway, after taking a commanding lead early, Yulon let Pure Youth back into the game in the 4th. Pure Youth's charge was really a team effort, with big contributions from a number of players.
In the end there were some awful calls down the stretch that all went Yulon's way. As a result they were able to force overtime and come out with the victory. One thing I can't figure out is where was James Mao? I did not notice him get injured against Dacin the night before. Pure Youth needs his scoring, and this would have been a completely different game with him in the lineup.
Taiwan Beer 73 - Taiwan Mobile 59
Once again, at the end of this game I was not sure I knew how good Taiwan Beer is as a team. By this I mean, until they are challenged regularly I do not think we will have an accurate read on their team personality. Dove had an ugly game for Mobile, scoring 7 points on 3/12 shooting. He at least grabbed 12 rebounds.
- We know that Taiwan Beer, Yulon, and Pure Youth are good. We know that Taiwan Mobile, Bank of Taiwan, and KKL in their current state are weak. Dacin is the only team I do not think we have a real read on yet. They play Bank of Taiwan on Wednesday.
- I am tempted to rate the imports today, but am going to wait until next week and I have seen them all play one more time.
- Last night I had SBL running on one computer and the CBA running on the other, and could not help but think about the awkward relationship the two leagues have. If I were a CBA team I would be recruiting Taiwanese players aggressively. The fan support, sponsorship, and facilities of the SBL can in no way compete with the CBA. I understand a CBA team would have to think about the political message they were sending by bringing over a handful of Taiwanese players, but the basketball rewards would be worth it. There are at least a 10-15 players with the skill level to play in the CBA playing in the SBL right now, if not more. Taiwanese teams lack the size of Chinese teams, but at point and wing positions are as good, if not better. In my opinion of course . . . It will be interesting to see what rumors about player movement start swirling at the end of this season.