It will be a complete 72 days since the last time that these two rivals played each other. We are going to use this space as a reminder of how awesome that game was and how awesome this game will be this time around.
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BTSL 07/02/2015: Hi-Tech 59 : Nakhon Pathom Madgoats 61
These two teams would marquee the launch of the BTSL being the first game played. It was the surest bet for an entertaining game, so the BTSL organizers bet on scheduling Hi-Tech vs. Madgoats as the season debut.
It paid back marvelously.
The teams were neck and neck throughout the whole game and it took a made shot and a missed shot in the last 10 seconds to determine the winner.
And we shouldn’t be expecting any less from both teams this time round. After that game both teams have been running through opponents. Both have been undefeated since.
The Madgoats are averaging a league best 81.3 points per game, which is 5.5 point better than 2nd place Hi-Tech (75.8 ppg) solidifying their spot as the best offensive squad in the league.
Hi-Tech defense has suffocated opposing teams, allowing only 61.3 points per game.
Hi-Tech has the edge on point differential so far at 14.5 compared to the Madgoats 12.2.
Let’s see what we can take from last game to see what we can expect from this game.
BTSL 19/04/2015: Hi-Tech vs. Nakhon Pathom Madgoats
What Hi-Tech does well/What the Madgoats should limit
Hi-Tech are at their best when they are running as can be seem in the first match up of these two teams and Hi-Tech’s win over Mono Vampires. They have two of the best fast break finishers in the country (Reuben and Wattana Suttisin) and the best outlet passer in the league (Steve Thomas). Hi-Tech will swarm you with their defense and quickly turn it into points if you don’t take good care of the ball which is what happened for most of the game the last time these two played. The Madgoats are not a very quick team especially when they put in a bigger line up with Chaiwat and Fey. They will need to find a way to stop the fastbreak from their own side of the court.
What the Madgoats does well/What Hi-Tech should limit
The Madgoats individual talent and veteran savvy carries them. Mike Fey is the best inside offensive weapon in the BTSL.”JO” Ratdech Kruatiwa is the best isolation guy in the league. “Palm” Darongpun Apiromwilaichai is the best penetrator and foul magnet in the league. This gives them a huge advantage if the game slows down into a half court battle. The Madgoats will find a way to break you down in the halfcourt. They are mature enough to keep patient and grind you in a slow paced battle. Even their youngest starter, “Arm” Nattakarn Meungboon, plays like a vet beyond his age. Hi-Tech needs to take them out of their game and pressure them up front in a hurry to push the tempo.
Where Hi-Tech struggles/Where the Madgoats should attack
Maybe it’s because they run heavily on their “Motion” offense or because it’s the way their team is structured, but Hi-Tech lack a definite “Go-To Guy”. Other BTSL teams can lean on their imports to be their Go-To Guy (think Bryant Austin of Thewphaingarm) but Steve Thomas just isn’t a First Option for a team. Not to say he can’t be one, he’s just not wired that way.
Wattana Suttisin might be the answer to being a Go-To Guy but he’s looked more like a Jamal Crawford than an Allen Iverson type. Great offensive player, but sometimes a but streaky and narrow-sighted off the dribble.
They had the privilege of having Chris Charles throughout the TBL2014 and ABL basketball. Charles is now temporarily in the Phillipines, leaving a huge void at Hi-Tech.
The Madgoats can’t do much to force Hi-Tech into going Iso, but it does give them a great advantage in a close, high pressure, and physical game with the level of individual talent they have.
Where the Madgoats struggles/Where Hi-Tech should attack
Throughout the past year, I have watched 2 games where the Madgoats lost (1 against the Vampires in the TBL, 1 against Hi-Tech in the TBL Finals) and had 2 very close games (1 against the Vampires in the first BTSL matchup and the aforementioned matchup against Hi-Tech).
The lost to Hi-Tech in the Game 2 of the TBL finals was an outlier case of losing their lead point guard to a wrist injury the game before. The other two times, it was just a case of players not hitting the shots. Case in point, in those two games alone, JO shot around 4-34 (surprisingly, he shot 2-17 in both games).
That’s what Hi-Tech has to do: get the Madgoats stars to shoot a lot AND miss a lot. Easier said than done, but that just how well structured this Madgoats team is and what it will take to take them down.
Hi-Tech X-Factor: Montien Wongsawarntham/Nakorn Jaisanook
This might seem like a surprising pick but I feel like if Hi-Tech are going to win, Montien and/or Nakorn will need to have a good game. If they shoot well, the defense will expand out creating more space for cuts into the basket.
Madgoats X-Factor: “JO” Ratdech Kruatiwa
The outcome of the entire game will probably be depending on which mode JO shows up in:
- “Classic Early 2000s” Kobe Bryant Mode: This is the mode that JO was in the last time he played Hi-Tech. He hit big shots throughout the game and when it came down to clutch, the Madgoats ran three isolation plays that led to two in-your-face three pointers and a drive-and-dish by JO.
- “Post Torn Achilles Surgery realizing Nick Young is your 2nd best player” Kobe Bryant: This is the mode that JO was in in the two games that the Madgoats struggled against Mono. He shot the ball a bit too much and they didn’t quite fall. Nobody blames Kobe like Nobody blames JO because they’re just doing their jobs, but deep down we’re all thinking maybe he should have pass one or two more times out of those shots.
- “Prime Mid 2000s” Kobe Bryant Mode: This is the mode that JO has been in recently. He’s been a bit more conservative about his shots and playing more of a facilitator. His shots are not coming out of isolation plays that much. He’s still a threat to do damage in scoring, but he’s approaching it less aggressively.
The thing is that the Madgoats can still win a game despite which JO shows up, but if “Post Torn Achilles Surgery realizing Nick Young is your 2nd best player” mode shows up, it’s going to be much much harder to seal the deal.
Why does this game matter so much?
Here’s a fun fact: On February 7, 2015, Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans hit a buzzer-beating game-winning double-clutch 3-point shot to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Yes, it is as glorious as it sounds.
At the time, it seemed like just another wild shot that solidified that Anthony Davis is an alien. That shot was the third win against the Oklahoma City Thunder for the Pelicans. A couple of days ago, it would turn out that because the Pelicans and the Thunder have the exact same win/loss record, that shot would be the difference that would push Anthony Davis and the Pelicans into the NBA Playoffs.
I bring that up because on February 7, 2015, “Palm” Darongpun Apiromwilaichai of the Nakhon Pathom Madgoats made a drive towards the basket with 10 seconds left the clock and made the game-winning final-second twisting contested layup to beat Hi-Tech.
It’s not “Anthony Davis” glorious, but it’s okay.
At the time, it just seemed like a another exhilarating drive by Palm to confirm his status as one of the best in the game right now. That shot won the game for the Madgoats by two points. It turns out that shot might very well be the tie-breaker deciding who become champions of the BTSL.
Here’s a list of the possible scenerios:
Wrap your head around that for a second. In the end it just means that
- Hi-Tech has to win and should win by more than two points.
- Madgoats would be better off winning it, but they can try getting away with a 1 point loss.
Imagine the millions of end game scenarios that might cause! Imagine Hi-Tech hitting a layup in the final seconds to get the lead to 1. I don’t think I’ll ever live to see another game where the team that is up by one point might have to foul the trailing team.
Imagine if Hi-Tech were down by 1 point and they are at the free throw line for two shots, with barely anytime left. Do they go 2-2 and take the win, but enter the last weekend with the fate of the championship in the hands of a Thewphaingarm win? Or do they go 1-2 and try to get a larger lead in overtime?
Imagine the Madgoats trailing by three points and hitting a buzzer beating 2 point shot. They’d still lose the game, but chances are that Hi-Tech will not be so happy about that victory.
Take in consideration that this will be the third champ-or-chump game that these two teams will have played against each other. Hi-Tech has always had a burning rivalry with the Former-Thewphaingarm Madgoat players, and the rivalry seems to have carried on.
CAN WE JUST START THE GAME NOW!
In my Opinion
In this part, I talk about the things I liked and did not like from previewing this game.
1. Gladiator: I can’t wait to see if “JO” pulls another “Russel Crowe in Gladiator” impersonation.
Here’s the movie clip, in case none of you have watched “Gladiator”
This weekend, 2 games will be played with the schedule as follows:
Saturday, 18 April: Mono Vampires vs. PEA @ LED Building
Sunday, 19 April: Hi-Tech vs. Nakhon Pathom Madgoats @ Thung Kru Stadium
The games will be played from 2PM to 4PM local time on their respective dates and can be viewed live at Channel 3 Family.
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Pictures from the BTSL by Kuk Ornvisa Thewphaingarm
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