The NBA 2K League studios played host to three games on August 9, 2018. Each was a make-up game from a week 11 that had been limited by rain to seven games rather than the usual seven games. Luckily for NBA 2K League fans, that meant another night of intense competition and games with playoff implication.
Here’s the strat-cap (strategy recap) from the night’s final game, Heat Check Gaming against Kings Guard Gaming. Clips via the league’s Twitch.
Heat Check Gaming (8-4) 80, Kings Guard Gaming (3-10) 69
Kings Guard, long eliminated, were theoretically playing for pride. Heat Check haven’t been without pride, or a win, for five weeks now, and with this victory are just one away from locking up a playoff berth. They’ll have two games to do so (Raptors Uprising, Grizz Gaming) but can go confidently after this one, which wasn’t as close as the score indicated.
If you didn’t watch the game, this play should sum it up.
The Heat ran that piece of nastiness twice in about 30 seconds, and the Kings had no answer for it. Safiya is not the most eager of help defenders, especially when playing/guarding a pure sharp, and Cook got absolutely crunched by 24K Dropoff’s backscreen. Hotshot can create dunks in more fraught situations; this made it a walk in the park.
Here’s some good offball defense by the Heat. You’ll recognize this Kings offball backscreen for Safiya from the strat-cap of their first game, a blowout loss to the Mavs. Hotshot plays it well.
Again, the Kings didn’t run a ton of plays, mostly relying on a once-again inefficient pick and roll. When Colt doesn’t shoot well, the threat of the pick and roll is limited. When Mootyy goes up against a slashing stretch five (Jalen) in the post, that should be a net positive for the Kings, but while Mootyy finished with acceptable numbers (28 points, 13 boards), much of it came too late.
He had the mismatch down low, and got the board and putback. But the three-headed effort of the Colt/Cook/Mootyy didn’t sync up and didn’t find a way to create mismatches and exploit the few they could find.
The Kings didn’t do a lot to help themselves offensively, especially when they were playing very respectable defense in the first half. They committed a lot of turnovers, allowing the Heat to do stuff like this:
You really can’t let that happen when going against a team you’re battling—one you know can really put up points in a hurry. Bad defense, or simply allowing a lot of points, often correlates with poor transition defense.
You really can’t leave shooters open in transition for three, especially when trying to come back. Especially against Heat Check, who, more so than most teams that focus on a shot-creating slasher on offense, can and will shred you to pieces with three-pointers either on the break or with Hotshot facilitating.
Simply put, the Kings eventually allowed the Heat to dominate the style of gameplay. Dictating the tempo and the territory is what teams idealize with a shot-creating slasher, and the Kings—once they felt the game starting to slip away—did just that.