Note: this is a guest post by NBA 2K content creator Thomas Lynch. You can check out Thomas’ work on Twitter, where he creates Pro-Am box scores and analysis videos.
Photo via Bayern Ballers’ Twitter page.
This week was a big one for Pro-Am both in Germany and in Europe as a whole, as it saw the four German NBA 2K teams play in a LAN tournament. It took place in Berlin, at the EGX convention. There was a single elimination format, with two semi-finals and a final being played, as well a third-place playoff.
Game one featured Ratiopharm Ulm and EWE Baskets Oldenburg. Ulm started strong, hitting a lot of 3-pointers and getting easy baskets off of great play from the pick-and-roll, finishing the first quarter up 20-9. They kept the pressure on, increasing the score to 28-10 just a minute through the second quarter. Things didn’t get much better for Oldenburg as the game progressed. They struggled against the 2-3 zone, particularly when Ulm were aggressive in the passing lanes, and they had a tough time on the defensive end, where they couldn’t contain point guard ReignJanto or big man GuardHimCoach. Ulm finished the first half with just five missed shots, shooting 7/11 from 3pt while also getting 7 steals on the other side of the floor. This dominance continued into the second half, with Janto scoring at will, while Oldenburg struggled on both sides of the floor. I’m not sure if there was a lack of communication, or simply a lack of chemistry between Swish41__ and tunKsen but they had no answer for the Ulmer pick-and-roll offense. Janto finished with 29 points and 7 assists, leading his team into the final.
Next up, we had the second semi-final of the day, which featured the first-ever German NBA 2K teams, Fraport Skyliners taking on Bayern Ballers Gaming. It was a very one-sided game, ending 87-27 in favor of Bayern. They played outstanding defense, putting a lot of pressure on the ball at all times. They ran a full-court press and trap for the entire game, moving into a 2-3 zone. They were also very active in the passing lanes and ran out in transition on lots of occasions. Not only did Fraport struggle to deal with the press but they couldn’t get their offense going even in their half-court sets. It took them until midway through the second quarter to get their first basket, having lost the first quarter 21-0.
Marcel Stohl (MGoCrzy) had a great game, being aggressive on defense from the first minute (where he got two steals) and running the pick-and-roll with Jannis Neumann (JLB_THExGREAT). Overall, it was a good game for Bayern although they weren’t truly tested since the game was practically over from the start.
In the final of “The Invitational,” we saw Bayern take on Ratiopharm Ulm. This match was played right after Bayern’s big win in the previous game, so I was interested to see if their momentum would carry over. It started at a quick pace, with both teams trading threes. Ulm played solid defense, doing a good job protecting the paint. They also did a good job crashing the boards, particularly on the offensive end. MGoCrzy, playing on a sharpshooting playmaker, was very effective in the pick-and-roll, shooting aggressively off the dribble or driving and passing. He gave his team a lot of momentum with an And-1 dunk towards the end of the second quarter, finishing the first half with 23 points off 8/11 shooting from the field. As a team, they spaced the floor well and played patiently, particularly JLB_THExGREAT, who was very unselfish and made a lot of extra passes. Their success with the pick-and-roll continued in the second half, although Ulmer adjusted to try and stop MGoCrzy from scoring. Their lineup was certainly unconventional, playing with no pure sharpshooters or stretch bigs, and two primary defenders (WachnOr and xMaxn-). Despite these defensive builds, they struggled on that end of the floor, MGoCrzy finishing with 30 points and 9 assists, while JLB_THExGREAT had 18 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists.
To finish off the day, Fraport Skyliners took on EWE Baskets Oldenburg in the third-place playoff. It was quite a slow-paced game, which may have been because teams were no longer playing for a chance at the championship, however, there was also no full-court pressing as Bayern had done before. Both teams showed flashes of good play, and it was certainly more competitive than Fraport’s semi-final game, although Oldenburg came away with the win, 47-45.
While official tournament honors weren’t awarded, I would give MVP to MGoCrzy for his great performances on both ends of the floor. Congratulations to him and Bayern Ballers Gaming for ending up as champions, as well as to all four teams for participating in this historic tournament. Hopefully, we see many more teams join the European NBA 2K scene, and we see many more tournaments like this in the future!