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Monday, 25 November 2019 15:53 Written by Greg Abcarian
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2025 NatCon Finals Preview

James Wall's defense made life miserable for 1st time All Star Andrew Lawler in the semifinals.  Can he do the same to 2-time champion and 6-time All Star Val Crumley of the Knights? 

#1 London Knights (62-18) vs. #3 Boston Buzzards (49-31)

by Greg Abcarian

The Conference finals are here and in the National Division we have the London Knights vs the Boston Buzzards. At first glance it looks like the Knights should win this easily, but we will look closer as Buzzards GM Jason Warnke has built himself a very versatile team that can compete with most anyone on the court. Meanwhile Knights GM Jian Lian is well known for being a master game planner and he is the defending champion.

Let's look at the comparisons vs starters.

Center: Tony Jimenez (London) vs Darin Deans (Boston)

This is a no brainer. It is Jimenez all the way (just wanted to see Warnke scowl). It is most definitely Deans. Warnke went big to sign Darin for this reason. He has been missing an inside presence and with Deans he has one offensively and defensively.

Winner: Boston

Power Forward: Jean Larry (London) vs Frank Gifford (Boston)

Gifford is another player that Warnke spent major dollars on and throughout the year and in the playoffs has shown pretty decent numbers (minus the 3-point shooting). Saying that, Jean Larry is a much better PF than Frank. While he may not score as many points, he gets more rebounds, as many assists and a whopping 6.5 blks a game. Defensively Jean is a game changer and that is what he continues to do.

Winner: London

Small Forward: Fredrick Gerard (London) vs Jerrold Dean (Boston)

At first glance neither of these guys doing anything great on paper, but both fill good rolls for the team. Gerard shoots well from the field and doesn't foul much. Meanwhile Jerrold on paper should be better does everything a bit worse than Gerard offensively, but is a much better defensive player. Neither of these guys will hurt their teams, but Jerrold Dean helps his team a bit more than Gerard does his.

Winner: Boston

Shooting Guard: Val Crumley (London) vs James Wall (Boston)

This is a very good matchup on paper and on the court. James Wall is bringing his championship experience to Boston and helping mold the team into winners. While his shooting isn't as good as it was in Anaheim, he is putting up better numbers in the playoffs. On the other side is Val who not only scores and gets plenty of assists, he also plays great perimeter defense. His shooting is a bit down this playoff, but his assists and rebounds still make him the better of the two.

Winner: London

Point Guard: Alain Lagon (London) vs Jesse Yoshida (Boston)

Jian acquired Lagon in the offseason with the intention of getting to the finals again and that decision so far looks to be a good one. Alain had a great season for London after coming from Tampa and has continued that in the playoffs. While he plays the point guard on paper, he is mostly the shooting guard. He is averaging about 23 points a game with an incredible 57% from the field. Yoshida on the other hand isn't doing shabby himself. The problem with him is that as a PG he isn't getting enough assists and Wall doesn't get enough to cover his lack of assists. He also at times isn't the best defensively and might be taken apart by either Crumley or Lagon.

Winner: London

Bench: Jose Owens, Louie Benfield, Thomas Grundy, Truman Kaplan, Sebastian Calabro (London) vs Sheldon Perkins, David Watts, James Hayward, Ben Bonilla, Chris Spitz (Boston)

Well any bench that has Jose Owens is probably the winner because he is essentially star starter. While Sheldon Perkins is a worthy adversary, that is where the Boston bench dies. While Spitz did decent in the season, he hasn't done much in the playoffs and the other 3 are just there. Meanwhile in London, Benfield and Grundy have been playing very well in meaningful minutes each averaging around 10 points and Kaplan doing well at PG off bench.

Winner: London

Prediction: London 4-1 over Boston


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