B.LEAGUE Semifinals Preview

May 18, 2024

B.LEAGUE Semifinals Preview
B.LEAGUE Semifinals Preview

Written by EASL

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Chiba and Ryukyu face off in rematch of last season’s Finals

The B.LEAGUE semifinals start today. Let’s take a look at the match-ups.

Ryukyu Golden Kings vs. Chiba Jets

An epic showdown is on the horizon with reigning EASL champions the Chiba Jets squaring off against reigning B.LEAGUE champions the Ryukyu Golden Kings.

This is a rematch of the 2023 B.LEAGUE Finals, a series in which the Golden Kings defeated the Jets two games to none.

As finalists of the B.LEAGUE Finals last season, both teams qualified for the EASL 2023-24 Season. The Ryukyu Golden Kings finished with a 3-3 record, missing the Final Four.

The Chiba Jets went undefeated in the EASL season. In the Final Four, they blew past Chinese Taipei P. LEAGUE+ runners-up the New Taipei Kings, before defeating the EASL Champions Week and 2023 Korean Basketball League (KBL) runners-up, the Seoul SK Knights in the final. Japan national team captain Yuki Togashi was named EASL Final Four Most Valuable Player.

In the B.LEAGUE this season, Ryukyu has had Chiba’s number, winning the season series 2-0. However, in the Japan Emperor’s Cup Final, the Jets demolished the Golden Kings with a convincing 48-point victory, 117-69.

The familiar foes square off in Okinawa today. Will the Jets avenge their 2023 B.LEAGUE Finals loss, or will the Golden Kings extend their reign?

Players to Watch

Ryukyu Golden Kings– #14 Ryuichi Kishimoto – PG

The Golden Kings relied heavily on their point guard Ryuichi Kishimoto to defeat Alvark Tokyo in the quarterfinals.

Kishimoto averaged 12.6 points, and three three-pointers per game, in the three-game series against Tokyo.

The 34-year-old has been with the team since 2013 and has been team captain since 2015-16. He represented the Japan national team during its historic 2023 FIBA World Cup run.


Chiba Jets – #2 Yuki Togashi – PG

The 5-foot-6 Yuki Togashi continues to shine in big moments.

After taking home the EASL Final Four and Emperor’s Cup MVP honors, he is now vying for the B.LEAGUE Playoffs MVP.

In the hard-fought quarterfinal against B.LEAGUE regular season champions the Utsunomiya Brex, Togashi led his team in scoring in two of the three games, and averaged 20 points, 6.3 assists, and 5.3 three-pointers per game.

One more stat you should know

High-scoring affair

Two of the B.LEAGUE’s top four offenses will be on display in this match-up.

The Chiba Jets rank second in the league, scoring 84.2 points per game in the regular season. The team relies heavily on three-point shooting, ranking fourth, hitting 10.2 shots per game from deep, a 31.9 percent clip.

The Ryukyu Golden Kings rank fourth in points scored this season, averaging 82.6 per game.

Chiba will have to limit their fouls. They are the third-most foul-prone team in the league. Ryukyu will take advantage of every free throw opportunity, as they average 13.8 free throws a game, putting them fourth in the league.

Game schedule

All times Japan Standard Time

Game 1: Ryukyu Golden Kings (Home) vs. Chiba Jets (Away), Saturday, May 18, 16:05

Game 2: Ryukyu Golden Kings (Home) vs. Chiba Jets (Away),  Sunday, May 19, 16:05

Game 3: Ryukyu Golden Kings (Home) vs. Chiba Jets (Away), Tuesday, May 21, 19:05*

* = if necessary


Nagoya Diamond Dolphins vs. Hiroshima Dragonflies

The Dragonflies are the underdog against the B.LEAGUE West District Champions, but these are two of the hottest teams in the league.

The Nagoya Diamond Dolphins have lost just two of the last 17 games, including a convincing sweep over the SeaHorses Mikawa in the quarterfinals.

The Diamond Dolphins relied on lethal three-point shooting to beat Mikawa, hitting 23 treys, at a 36 percent clip, in the two games.

Nagoya also outrebounded Mikawa in both games, grabbing 10 offensive rebounds per game tokeep possession and continue to bomb away from deep.

While the Diamond Dolphins shot the lights out to get to the semifinals, the Dragonflies played stout defense to advance.

Against the favored San-En NeoPhoenix, the highest-scoring team in the country this season at 89.5 points per game, Hiroshima limited their opponent to just 68 points per game, and a 40 percent clip, in the quarterfinals. This was 6.5 percent lower than their opponent’s regular season mark.

Players to Watch

Nagoya Diamond Dolphins – #52 Takumi Saito – PG

Takumi Saito has upped his game in the playoffs. The Japan national team player averaged 12.7 points in the regular season and ranked fourth in assists, averaging 6.2 dimes per game.

In the series against the SeaHorses, Saito led the team in scoring in both games, averaging 22 points and 7.5 assists per game.

Hiroshima Dragonflies – #30 Ryo Yamazaki – SG

Ryo Yamazaki had a hot shot in the quarterfinals against the NeoPhoenix.

The 10-year veteran was five-for-nine from deep to score 19 points in Game 1. He followed up with 12 points in Game 2 to help the Dragonflies clinch the team’s first B.LEAGUE semifinal berth in franchise history.

As Hiroshima continues to play without star guard Ryo Terashima with injury, Yamazaki will continue handling the offensive load.

One more stat you should know


Turnovers vs. Steals

Nagoya must learn to protect the ball to succeed against Hiroshima’s third-ranked defense.

The Diamond Dolphins were the most turnover-prone team in the league this season, averaging 15.1 a game. That will not be ideal against the Dragonflies, who were fifth in the league on steals, with 7.3 per game.

Game schedule


All times Japan Standard Time


Game 1: Nagoya Diamond Dolphins (Home) vs. Hiroshima Dragonflies (Away), Saturday, May 18, 14:05

Game 2: Nagoya Diamond Dolphins (Home) vs. Hiroshima Dragonflies (Away), Sunday, May 19, 13:10

Game 3: Nagoya Diamond Dolphins (Home) vs. Hiroshima Dragonflies (Away), Monday, May 20, 19:05*

* = if necessary

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