Weekly ReviewGoyang Orions showing a powerful start to the season
In this early phase of the Korea Basketball League (KBL), the pace of the Goyang Orions is dominant. The team has lost only once in the last 12 games, tying the league record for the fastest team to collect 10 wins.
In the history of KBL, only four teams have gotten 10 wins in 11 games. The Daejeon Hyundai Gullivers (now Jeonju KCC Egis) did in the 1999/2000 season followed by Suwon Samsung Thunders (now Seoul Samsung Thunders) in the 2000/01 season.
Wonju TG Sambo (now Wonju Dongbu Promy) also did so in the 2003/4 season and the Promy repeated the streak in the 2011/12 season.
In their dominant season, each of the four teams also took the regular season title, which suggests the Orions are likely to do the same. But only one of the four teams also won the championship series, which is causing some concern for the Orions.
The Orions, which finished fifth last season, will be going for a seven game-winning streak when they face the LG Sakers on Thursday, followed by the Egis on Saturday at home. Though they share the bottom cellar with the Promy, the Sakers are on a two-game winning streak.
The Egis have ended their three-game losing streak on Sunday against Anyang KGC. They first meet the Promy, which is on five-game losing streak, on Tuesday before facing the Orions.
The Incheon ET Land Elephants have the week off as their first game is on Sunday against Busan KT Sonicboom. Defending champion Ulsan Mobis Phoebus will have two games on the weekend against the Sakers and KGC.
Player in focus: Aaron Haynes (Orions)
The exciting run of the Goyang Orions is powered by its offense, which scores 86.3 points on average, and Aaron Haynes is the key man behind the success.
Haynes, who is in his eighth season in the KBL, has already been named MVP for the first round-robin series of the league. He currently leads the league in scoring (26.92 per game), is second in steals (1.92), third in assists (4.17) and fifth in rebounds (9.33)
The 34-year-old American is becoming a legend in the KBL, and is chasing after all foreign-player records. He has played 352 regular season games in the KBL, which is the most among foreigners.
Already a two-time top scorer in the KBL, Haynes is close to breaking the all-time scoring record for a foreign player. Johnny McDowell, who played seven seasons in the KBL with three different teams from the late 1990s, holds the scoring record at 7,077 points, but Haynes isn’t far behind, with 6,922 points.
Haynes has played with five different teams in the KBL, but he has only won one championship ring, during the 2009/10 season with Ulsan Mobis Phoebus. As the Orions are maintaining a strong pace, Haynes just might be looking at his second KBL championship title.
Samsung Thunders can’t find its roll against Phoebus
Before the season started, Seoul Samsung Thunders coach Lee Sang-min mentioned one team that he really wants to beat this season: Ulsan Mobis Phoebus.
Phoebus coach Yoo Jae-hak even provoked Lee during the media day event last month, saying “Try it [to win] if you can.” Both Yoo and Lee are Yonsei University alumni.
The animosity stems from the fact that the Thunders haven’t beaten the Phoebus since the beginning of 2012.
Hoping to put an end to the losing streak, the Thunders hosted the Phoebus on Sunday in Seoul, but instead, they lost 74-61 - their 22 consecutive loss to the Ulsan squad.
Interestingly, the Thunders this season signed Moon Tae-young and Ricardo Ratliffe, both pivotal Phoebus players who helped the team win the championship last season.
Moon had 20 points and 12 rebounds, while Ratliffe added 19 points and seven rebounds against their former team, but that wasn’t able to stop the defeat.
The big difference between the two teams was in three-pointers. While the Phoebus made nine out of 20 three-point shots, the Thunders only made one out of 11 during the match.
The Thunders now have to wait until Nov. 26 for another shot at breaking the curse.
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