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Crystal Ball  
#1 Posted : Tuesday, June 25, 2024 1:14:14 AM(UTC)
Crystal Ball

Rank: Benchwarmer

Groups: Forum Member
Joined: 11/27/2023(UTC)
Posts: 15
Location: Antarctica

As always, we start predictions remembering our brothers and sisters struggling around the world. May Allah help and free our brothers and sisters in Palestine. May He make this trial a way for their sins to be expiated and may He accept all those who have lost their lives as martyrs and give them the highest level of Jannah. May Allah bring terror and demise to all oppressors around the world.

We’re back after our season opener last Wednesday. The first week of the season was filled with no-shows, as wedding season is in full swing. Congrats to all those getting married, May Allah bless your marriage. Just a heads up, please refrain from setting up important events on the sacred Wednesday evenings. Super difficult to predict when half the league is missing lol.

Let’s see what the Crystal Ball has for us this week.

Al-Wehdat - Qalqilya:

First game couldn’t have gone better for either of these teams as we saw both flourish with a collective effort. Early in the season, it’s easy to get a feel for teams that mesh well together and I think both these teams do. Mahdy didn’t need a huge performance to pull out the win but he’ll have to be consistent for this team to be great. Raza also looked like he turned back the clock with the week 1 performance, similar to Qalqilya’s Kareem Ahmed, who is always a consistent pickup and a reliable playmaker. I think Qalqilya did great trading for Num Num, who was slept on in the draft. He’ll be tasked with guarding Mahdy which I think is interesting. On the other side, Ahmad Chaabane will be salivating as he goes up against ex-teammate Shahzaib and will have to take primary defender responsibilities on that. This will be a great game and I think a big performance from an unexpected role player will ultimately be the difference. That is, unless one of the aforementioned defenders can force the two stars on either side to have a sub par performance. Crystal Ball is leaning with Qalqilya on this one, so that’s where we’ll go.

Qalqilya by 3

Khan Yunis - Al-Quds:

Now, this is a stylistically very interesting matchup. On paper, it bodes well for Al-Quds, as most matchups will this season. Zain will be able to play safety on defense unless OQ shows up and forces him out the paint. Both of these teams won without key pieces last week, which speaks to each team's depth. Khan Yunis has more depth than expected with the quick rise of young star Elhindi, who was a top scorer last week and really stretches the floor for this team. The thing is, Al-Quds has enough versatile defenders to make life difficult for the Khan Yunis well oiled offense led by the two Caucasians, Amir and Joe. This offensive system is very San Antonio-like, which will require Al-Quds to be disciplined and really communicate. Anywho, I expect Omar Hussein to come into his role as more of an off ball guy as the season goes on, something he is not accustomed to. He can definitely shoot the ball well enough to play this spot as a guard, and may be the most reliable shooter on this team, so Al-Quds definitely needs that. If Al-Quds can get their 4 talented picks to mesh and each contributes as we’re used to seeing, who can pick against them. Problem is, they didn’t do that week 1 and it might take some time for it to come to fruition. Last week, they scraped by with Lil O and Malik Zubi combining for an out of the ordinary, all-time abysmal shooting performance. They can't rely on something like that happening with this Khan Yunis squad. Crystal Ball likes the new tango developing in Khan Yunis.

Khan Yunis by 7

Safad - Yaffa:

This may be the biggest family showdown in MB history and something these two teams have probably looked forward to for years. Too bad Bilal Abbassi couldn’t join the party as he’s nursing an injury. Anyways, look at these two sides and one would be amazed to see two teams with such similar last names. One team started with a win in Yaffa as they really came to play week 1. Safad was close in delivering an upset to preseason favorites and were one three away from getting it done. But now slates clear and sight is back to looking ahead. Size favors Yaffa, and Safad will call on Deeb and Koyas to make sure the Yaffa guys stay off the glass, which they’re more than capable of. The guards are a similar scenario on both sides, hard-nosed, aggressive, IQ-driven guys in Fursan and Islam for Safad and Yahya and Habi for Yaffa. Newcomer Saif Abdalla will be missing which will force Yaffa to play more through Big Moose and Elias, but this team is hell bent on playing an unselfish brand of basketball. This was great for Big Moose week 1 as he had a seamless 30 points without breaking a sweat. Will Safad choose to focus on him for their defensive scheme, or will they play reactively to what Yaffa tries to throw at them? It will also be fun to see if Lil O will be able to find success in his off ball game of catch me if you can with guys like Yahya and Habi chasing him all game. The most exciting game of our short season so far.

Yaffa by 6

Ramallah - Qibya:

Tough loss for Ramallah in week 1 as they almost pulled off the comeback. Qibya went through a nightmare week 1 that saw captain Aadil nearly unplayable in the second half, with 4 fouls to start the first half of the season. Both teams will look to get a win this week as starting the season on a losing streak could be a telltale sign down the road. Anas Zubi started the season on the injury report and honestly if he was available, Ramallah would probably be 1-0. I love the combination of the two bigs in Khaled and Sal, one plays outside in and the other likes to fill the paint and put the body on guys. Then there’s the orchestrator and a sneaky great first round pick, Jay Mustafa. This guy is a stat sheet stuffer and does it extremely nonchalantly, even on the defensive end. As the Crystal Ball predicted, Farhad won’t be able to put Qibya on his back and it will be a lot better if they could find someone to find him in his spots and not make him work as the primary ball handler. This is really where we see what Aadil is made of, he has a running mate in Farhad but he’s gotta be driving the bus this time. Maturity is something that will do wonders for this team as they got guys like Medo and Ali Mahin who can ball. They got a lot to work through and the Crystal Ball doesn’t see them doing a complete 180, which is what they need for the win on Wednesday.

Ramallah by 14, without Anas Zubi Ramallah by 7

Nablus - Al-Balah:

Both these teams were missing KEY pieces week 1, which resulted in both teams getting blown out. This just means one less week to gain chemistry and figure things out, something that is crucial in draft seasons. Jojo and Ali highlight Nablus lineup, Al-Balah is highlighted by the Singer-Hassan combo. Newcomer to watch is Yazan from Al-Balah, who may have enough size and skill to be an X-Factor against Nablus, who misses the luxury of a true big. Idris and Ahmad get the pass week 1 as they are spot up guys that need to be set up. Season starts for both these teams this week, realistically. I think it will be interesting to see if Hassan can contain Ali Hassan, who is the main source of offense for Nablus. If he can do so slightly, can JoJo, Khaled and Humza step up for Nablus? If they can’t week in and week out, this team may be Ali Hassan or bust. If they can, then we can talk about this team as a real contender. Al-Balah goes as far as how well Hassan and Singer can mesh, which could be to the moon or they could get stuck in the ICPC parking lot fighting about who will drive the car. I think Nablus has less to work through and more fire under their butt, as Ali Hassan lost by 30 after having 30, so he’ll look to do even more.

Nablus by 4

Bethlehem - Al-Bireh:

Wow, Shafic vs Towfeek is finally upon us. Seeing that in the schedule is music to my ears. I know Towfeek will take the challenge of bringing this back to the backyard from years ago and will make sure to do his best to make Shafic uncomfortable. No one knows each other in this league like these two, so it will be interesting as to how they game plan for each other. Other than that, both teams have firepower elsewhere. For Bethlehem: Jake, Ali S, Splash, Ali O and more. For Al-Bireh: Mana, Nader, AK, Amir Hassan. These two teams also did a trade week 1, and the Crystal Ball says Bethlehem officially FLEECED Al-Bireh. Splash and Elsamna make this squad led by Shafic a complete one, and their versatility in their bigs proved to be a seamless fit in Week 1. I think this game will show everyone why chemistry is so important and also why teams are more like puzzles than buildings. The right pieces must come together and it’s not always about how high you can stack(Burj Mana) with big name players, no pun intended. Al-Bireh has a big job in making Nader, Towfeek and Mana work and the clock is ticking.

Bethlehem by 11

As always, this ain’t Lavar Ball, this ain’t Lonzo Ball, this is the Crystal Ball.

Edited by user Tuesday, June 25, 2024 1:24:45 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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