Ladies and gentlemen we are now in the playoffs with two of the best teams from the regular season in the Central Division, the Houston Push and the Enid Outlaws. The Outlaws have the top scorer in the whole TBL in Chance Comanche, who is averaging 27.3 points per game on an absurd 69 percent from the field! The 6’10 former Arizona Wildcat has not only been a scoring machine but also a menace on the boards, averaging 12.8 rebounds a game and 1.3 blocks, leading his team in all the five categories mentioned above. If the Outlaws want to win they will need their best player to continue being the two way force he has been all season long and he was just that in Game 1 against the Push despite losing 118-98 by going for 26 point double-double to go along with three blocks. He will need to continue being a threat, which will attract double teams and have shooters open.
Secondly, the Outlaws will also need to continue playing that effective and breath tightening 2-3 or 3-2 zone defense they were playing on the Houston Push, forcing them to take contested long threes and making it hard to get a rhythm offensively. Thirdly, the Outlaws' top four leading scorers, outside of Comanche all underperformed in Game 1. Charlie Marquardt, Wayne Runnels, and Tavares Sledge all combined for a putrid 24 points, with all performing well below their season averages. These three will all need to step up in the scoring department and take pressure off Comanche in demanding him to make up so much offensively with all these guys not being aggressive or not shooting the ball well.
Lastly, the Outlaws will need to cut down on their turnovers. They turned the ball over a whopping 24 times in Game 1, which is not going to get it done if you want to win games.
On the other side we have the Houston Push, who were tied for the best record in the central division with the Outlaws and beat them in their first matchup ,118-98. If the Push want to continue making a run throughout the postseason they will need Ruston Hayward to continue attacking the defense like he did in Game 1 and doing a little bit of everything by going for 17 points, 5 boards, 3 assists, to go along with 4 steals.
The Push will want Marcus Bell to continue the production he gave them off the bench with a 20 point double-double to go along with two blocks, doing it on both ends of the court for the Push. Thirdly, the Push will need to continue the beautiful ball movement they had in Game 1 which collapsed the Outlaws zone defense while also limiting their turnovers, which they had 14 of all game. Lastly, the Push can go far if their energy guys such as Jevonlean Hedgeman and Reggis Onwakamuche continue bringing the energy on the defensive end, contesting shots and protecting the rim, similar to a Clint Capela on the Atlanta Hawks.
It will be an interesting series between these two heavyweights of the Central division and whoever does these things will come up victorious.