This is how a championship game should be played out; the #1 seed vs the #2 seed, the former giving the latter their only loss of the season. In the regular season Nasr beat Humazah 59-56 with both teams playing at pretty much full strength; Humazah had Ahsan Raza and Mohammed Sayeed and Nasr had Milton and Malik. The only significant player absent in the regular season was Humazah’s point guard, Zuhair Kanji.
|The past isn’t always an indicator of the future
||Jul 4, 2006
In light of this, a safe assumption was that with Sayeed being absent, Nasr would be able to gut out a win and give Adam Hassan his first taste of East glory. However, a regular season win doesn’t always translate into post-season glory (just ask the Mavs). Plus, you never know who is going to step up and be an X-factor in a high stakes game. In this championship game, Zuhair Kanji was the X. Despite playing in just 4 regular season games and averaging only 4.5ppg and 4.0rpg, Zuhair managed to drop 22 unexpected and huge points on Nasr, essentially negating Sayeed’s absence.
This game was an offensive one as expected and the big guns were out and performing as expected. The first half ended with Nasr leading 36-31 behind Malik’s 11 points and Milton’s 10 points and 6 rebounds. Humazah was lead by Ahsan Raza with 14 points and 4 rebounds and Zuhair Kanji with 11 points. So, as you can see, if the big guns could carry on their production in the 2nd half, the supporting players would play a huge role in the outcome.
Though Malik continued to get his, Humazah began exerting themselves down low and managed to slow down Milton as he was only able to chip in 4 points and 4 rebounds in the 2nd half. This drop-off in production was matched by Humazah’s Ahsan Raza as he only managed to throw in 7 points and 3 rebounds in the 2nd half. Zuhair and Malik pretty much cancelled each other out as well in the 2nd half. So we have to go to the supporting cast to see what happened to allow Humazah to overcome their 5 point halftime deficit and turn it around into a 5 point victory. Most obvious is that Humazah’s Feroz Khan was able to get out of his funk from the earlier game and chip in 10 points and that Malik Davis fouled out of the game.
In the end, Humazah pulled out the 60-55 win and the 2006 East Spring League Championship. Congratulations to both Humazah and Nasr for great seasons and some outstanding personal performances from players on both teams. Also, congratulations to Zuhair Kanji for a great game and being awarded the Finals MVP.