by Timmy Frenchy
Milan Mayhem vs Brooklyn Rage
(Brooklyn won season series 2-0)
I was way out in left field when I wrote that Colorado was a threat to Brooklyn in my preview of the USA Conference. Right after the first game, where the Rage annihilate the Pioneers by 53 points, there was feeling that this would not be the series that we anticipated. The Rage allowed only 58 points that game, their 5th best defensive mark all-time. Brooklyn went on to win every other game by 21 points or more, easily accessing to the league’s biggest stage. They come in with a perfect 12-0 post season record and it sure looks like they are going to win their 4th title in a row.
Mayhem really had to work hard to earn their first final berth in WBA history. It took seven games to get rid of the Giants and Milan now have a 12-8 record this post-season. Milan capture homecourt over Gabon in regular season last games and it proved to be a difference maker in the long run as every home team won their game in the Conference Finals. This is a great accomplishment for Milan, and they should continue to dominate over the next few seasons as their main guys are still under contract.
As resilient and poised the Mayhem as been in these playoffs, the dream of winning it all should not come true this year. The Rage are on a mission. They won every playoffs game and are challenged by the fact that they could become the best team in WBA playoffs history. Only one question mark remains: Can Milan won a game in this series and spoiled Brooklyn perfect run?
Prediction: Brooklyn over Milan in 5
by Timmy Frenchy
Gabon Giants vs Milan Mayhem
(Milan won season series 3-0)
Milan showed some poised and experience in the second round as they won against a strong offensive squad even if they didn’t have home court advantage. Except for game 6 which was a 42 points blowout, all other games were decided by an average margin of 6 points. This group is clutch. Eufrazio averaged 28 points and Bohm averaged 24 points to lead the way for the Mayhem. After coming back from behind to beat the Snow Bears in the first round and then taking out a better seeded in the second, Mayhem have now a lots of momentum on their way to the next challenge.
After cruising in round one, the Giants were challenged in the second against the Hellcats. They took a commanding 3-0 lead, winning a close game 2 at home along the way. But then the Hellcats made some adjustments and won both game 4 and 5. The Giants were relieved to get the W in game 6 in Mexico City, winning only by 4 points to avoid a potential game 7 disaster. The Giants are healthy and looking forward for their second trip to the Conference Finals in team’s history.
Both teams have never been to the WBA finals so we will have a brand new World Conference Champions this season. These 2 teams have similarities; they have both deep squad with talented players at every position. Milan won every meeting they had this season by an average of 14 points. They also have home court advantage. Ex-Giants Jarrod Roe wants to prove to his old team that they should have tried to re-sign him this off-season. Unless Gabon can find some kind of magic formula to slow down Eufrazio and Bohm, this series won’t last very long.
Prediction: Milan over Gabon in 5
Colorado Pioneers vs Brooklyn Rage
(Brooklyn won season series 2-1)
Kansas City did challenge the defending champions in the 2nd round, but only for one game. Game 2 was an instant classic that went to OT and totaled 278 points for both teams combined. Brooklyn won that game and destroyed the Blues in every other game, winning those by an average of 34 points. The Rage are still waiting for a team to make them sweat a little in this post-season.
The Pioneers are in the USA Conference Finals! This is well deserved as they had to defeat the very talented California Fighting Cocks to get there. Some might say that it would have been different if Kurt Beck had return from his injury sooner. But others will remember Tony Henderson superb defense on Beck in the deciding game where he allowed him to shoot only 6/23 from the floor. And Pioneers won that game by 20. It is over and the Pioneers advance.
The Colorado Pioneers represent the first real threat the mighty Brooklyn Rage must face in this year playoffs. Even if they do not have much depth, Colorado have the offensive firepower and the defensive specialists to really give Brooklyn a run for their money. Still, it would be a miracle if the Pioneers surmount this obstacle to get to the WBA Finals. Maybe John «Divine» Devine could do something about it?
Prediction: Brooklyn over Colorado in 6
By Ron Chambers
Well….I blew it last round. Two right out of four is a failing grade. But, I have to admit that this round is pretty tricky.
Gabon (56-24) vs. Milan (56-24)
This will be Gabon’s first match-up this postseason without home-court advantage. Will it make a difference?
Both these teams are efficient offensively and good defenders. They aren’t identical teams but have some real similarities. One advantage that stands out for Gabon is a 1.27 (#4) PPS versus 1.18 (#22) for the Mayhem.
Milan was pushed to the limit in the first round by a young team. But, the bounced back very well in the second round against a very good Barcelona team. The story for Milan has been the great play of Silvino Eufrazio who is averaging 6.8 points a game more in the playoffs than he did in the regular season. He has averaged 28.5 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 3.2 blocks. Oh, and Marvin Lee has been lights out passing at 9.2 assists. Bohm has also been excellent as he always is. Roe has been a strong scorer and rebounder. Bacchi doesn’t’ get the praise but he has been quietly very efficient with a 1.36 PPS.
When you look at Gabon’s playoffs stats no one stands out like on Milan’s roster. Carter has been very good raising his average by 1.7. Avery has raised his passing average to 8.2. The key to their success is excellent team play. They don’t have superstars but they are tough on defense and efficient on offense.
Choosing a winner in this series is hard. They are very closely matched. I tend to give a slight edge to Gabon because of their offensive efficiency. But, Milan has home-court advantage. It comes down to if efficient team play will win over the excellent individual play of Eufrazio and Bohm. So, I make this prediction with very little confidence.
Gaon wins series 4-3.
Brooklyn (74-6) vs. Colorado (64-16)
Colorado and Brooklyn are the only two franchises to break the 70 win mark. Colorado may not be back to what they were 10 seasons ago but they are darn good. Despite winning 64 games this year they surprised many observers by beating the Fighting Cocks. The big surprise though wasn’t the win but how they closed the series out with a dominant win over California when they had a full roster. It was impressive.
Some have written off the pioneers because they don’t have much depth and Kamara doesn’t score. They don’t ask much from their bench. They simply want them to come in, play hard, and not lose the advance. That last part has proven harder in the play-offs but they have performed well enough. Lyons and Devine get the press because of their scoring and they deserve it. But, in the playoffs, Kinsey and Henderson have been key. They lead the team with their high +/-. They are the glue players who defend well and play hard.
But Brooklyn. This team is impressive. They are currently on a 19 game winning streak, including two shut outs in the playoffs. Mario Bailey, Jarius Miles, and Omar Jefferson are all averaging 20 or more in +/- while four others also average double digits. But, they are facing a major test in Colorado. Don’t expect the same sort of dominance.
Brooklyn wins series 4-2