Week one of the second season of the NBA 2K League is over, which means it’s on to week two. Here are some quick breakdowns of every matchup of NBA 2K League action this week, capping it all off with a Game of the Week and a Player to Watch. Games are sorted in chronological order, with the Game of the Week bringing up the rear.
Pacers Gaming vs Cavs Legion GC
Wednesday, April 17, 6 p.m. EST
Pacers Gaming looked the part of a contender in week one. Coming off a 38-point dismantling of Jazz Gaming, it’ll be interesting to see how the Pacers carry that momentum into week two. Everything seemed to click in the Pacers’ matchup in week one. But as we’ve pointed out in previous weeks, offenses have found success when they attack the hash opposite star lockdown defender WoLF.
Cavs Legion GC is still out to prove its legitimacy this year. This matchup seems like the perfect time to do so. It is hard to imagine the Cavs finding success this game without both guards playing well. Lately, Cavs Legion has been extremely dependent on Strainer in its half-court offense, so expect WoLF to be assigned to Strainer from tip-off. First-round point guard LYKaPRO will have his chance to attack that opposite-WoLF weak point in the Pacers’ defense.
Warriors Gaming Squad vs Blazer5 Gaming
Wednesday, April 17, 7 p.m. EST
As first reported by our Josiah Cohen and confirmed by the team, Chiquita will make her league debut in this matchup. What remains to be seen is how the Warriors deploy Chiquita here. In the preseason Draft Clash, Chiquita was playing lockdown but she could also slot into the power forward position, if needed. The Warriors could move Gradient to the center position and allow either Chiquita or Jin to fill in as lock.
It might be hard to argue that there’s a tougher matchup to switch lineups against than Blazer5 Gaming. Blazer5 look primed to avenge its shortcomings of late. Although Blazer5 have been losing, they aren’t failing the eye test. Mama looks like one of the better point guards in the league again, while Walnut seems to be getting into his groove. The question looms in regards to their defense, which allowed ARooks to score a career-high 41 points in the team’s week-one double-overtime loss. BSmoove and CB13 won’t be any easier this week.
Pistons GT vs Bucks Gaming
Wednesday, April 17, 8 p.m. EST
Pistons GT looks like one of the worst teams to date. Yet there is still some room for optimism. Third-round pick Jaacko has finally cleared his VISA and is currently with the organization. The Pistons have struggled mightily to find a scorer to help take the pressure off point guard MrStylez. If Jaacko can provide a much-needed offensive spark, look for this Pistons team to make a little more noise.
Bucks Gaming keeps proving the doubters wrong. The Bucks won both of their week one matchups—including a double overtime thriller against Blazer5 Gaming. Bucks Gaming made a few lineup adjustments that proved vital in these matchups. SlayIsland was moved to point guard, Chaddynick was moved to lock and ARooks made the switch from the sharpshooting shot-creator at the 2 to the shot-creating sharpshooter at the 3. SlayIsland adapted to the point guard position seamlessly, and while Chaddynick didn’t have the best game against Blazer5 Gaming (allowing Mama to score 31 points and record 11 assists), ARooks looked as comfortable as he’s ever been at the 3.
Cavs Legion GC vs Warriors Gaming Squad
Wednesday, April 17, 9 p.m. EST
The interesting part about this matchup is that it will be the second game of the day for both organizations. With Cavs Legion, it will be interesting to see how they carry over their energy from the first game. The Cavs also have great perimeter defenders such as Godddof2K and oLarry to counter the elite double ball-handling system run by Warriors Gaming Squad.
Knowing that the Warriors are planning to debut Chiquita in their first matchup this week, it makes you wonder if they plan to carry over the momentum should the lineup in the first game be successful. Regardless, this team looks to build on the strong outing from BSmoove (28 points on 11-17 shooting) in week one.
Blazer5 Gaming vs Lakers Gaming
Wednesday, April 17, 10 p.m. EST
The Blazers have the league’s only MVP on their roster and an MVP candidate in Mama Im Dat Man, but they’ve struggled to make good on their guarantees so far this season, failing to advance in the Tipoff and falling in epic fashion to Bucks Gaming last week. They’ve got a West Coast foe here in Lakers Gaming, another team struggling to find its footing and one that the Blazers should outmatch on paper. Containing sharpshooter Kev may be Blazer5’s toughest job, as the Mama/Walnut pick-and-roll figures to finally return to its season one level in this game.
The Lakers, by contrast, have no such pedigree, and lost in week one to T-Wolves Gaming in a game nowhere near as close as that of Blazer5. Kev has been a massive bright spot this season, and he could be poised for a big day if the Blazers keep Lavish, playing lock, matched up with Vert at point guard. Is this the week, however, that the Lakers succumb to the public clamor and switch Kontrul to point guard and Vert to lock? Center Mootyy performed well against OneWildWalnut last year, and he’ll need to rise to the occasion once again in this game.
Grizz Gaming vs Lakers Gaming
Thursday, April 18, 7 p.m. EST
Ah, the Grizz. It’s a big week for Memphis, and they get a chance to start things off in a good matchup against the Lakers. As we pointed out, rookie point guard Vandi has to continue to come into his own and be decisive for the Grizz to cure their anemic offense, which is scoring just 48 points per game. AuthenticAfrican is having a phenomenal season, as expected, but a subtle undertone to this game may wind up being the emergence of ancillary players Toxsik and JayRod. They’re poised for big games, and going up against a shaky Lakers Gaming lineup might be the spark that both players need to get going.
The second game of the Lakers week, they’ll get the extra day in New York to watch some film on the struggling Grizz. It’s all about shutting down Vandi and AuthenticAfrican in the pick and roll. Their lineup may well depend on their success in their first game of the week, with that game deciding the point guard/lock spots. This could be Kev’s game, though, as he’ll likely operate against the Grizz’s second-best defender. If he can outplay JayRod, and if whoever plays lock holds Vandi in check, the Lakers will be able to use this game as a stepping stone to find their form.
Mavs Gaming vs Jazz Gaming
Thursday, April 18, 8 p.m. EST
The Mavs eked out a one-point win in week one, staving off the Grizz Gaming comeback attempt, and it’s hard to say that they’ll need to dramatically improve against the Jazz. They certainly want to, and rookie center PeteBeBallin will have to be at the top of his game against 2019 first overall pick Ria, but the Jazz are struggling while Mavs franchise cornerstone Dimez has nearly returned to top-tier Dimez form. He’ll look for his second double-double of the season against an uncertain Jazz lineup, and if he gets there the Mavs should have the clear upper hand in this matchup of 2018 top-three picks.
A bright spot for the Jazz: they’ve had more time to recalibrate and refocus in between games after a brutal 80-42 loss at the hands of Pacers Gaming. Another bright spot: third-round pick Gliz will likely be back in the lineup after missing the first two weeks of the season with the flu. But the Jazz need to create their own bright spots, not really on circumstantial positives. Compete has looked extremely underwhelming all season, and the Jazz have consequently struggled to find their identity and integrity. They’ve got to find it sooner rather than later.
Pacers Gaming vs Pistons GT
Thursday, April 18, 9 p.m. EST
The Pacers are going to be amped for this game, as star big man Ramo returns to face his former Detroit team. Pacers Gaming looked absolutely dominant in week one, firing on all cylinders across the floor, and a similar effort should have them in the winner’s column once again after Ramo’s rematch game. When Swizurk shoots the lights out, as he often does, and Wolf yields nothing to opposing point guards, the Pacers take the spotlight off Matty and Lord Beezus with elite players at three positions. The Pistons offer an intriguing matchup, but one that the Pistons should be eminently capable of conquering.
Jaacko is in town, but has he gotten in enough reps to provide the Pistons an immediate spark? Splashking hasn’t been getting it done, and while JosephTheTruth will play hard against former teammate Ramo, MrStylez and May could be in for a long day against the Pacers’ fearsome pick-and-roll defense. It’s still early, but a demoralizing loss in this emotional game could have the Pistons evaluating their options for the offseason and beyond much earlier than they hoped.
Jazz Gaming vs Hawks Talon GC
Friday, April 19, 6 p.m. EST
A tale of two week ones. It was a dream regular season debut for the expansion Hawks, which secured a double-digit win over Tipoff runners-up Celtics Crossover Gaming. The team may have found its best lineup with Dat Boy Shotz returning to power forward and a revamped backcourt. Rando didn’t have the best of shooting nights against the Celtics, but he has looked like the best player on this Hawks team this season. The move of DevGoss to the sharpshooting build at small forward is the logical one, and Jay a Fool was a surprise impact player at the lockdown defender. The Hawks don’t have the strongest week two opponents, which means it’s time for them to show they’re for real and can win the winnable games, a trademark of a great team. Winning this opening matchup may prove to be a lot tougher than the next one, as team leader Shotz won’t be available due to his role in last week’s post-game altercation against the Celtics.
On the other hand, Jazz Gaming needs to figure out something, and fast. It can’t be stressed enough that this team has two top-three picks and Comp on its payroll and is still getting blown out by almost 40 points. Going 0-2 in week two might warrant full-on panic mode in Utah. But the Mavs and Hawks aren’t among the league’s elite teams—so far as we know—meaning that these are winnable. A couple of wins here could turn around the season. A lot of work has to be done, though.
Wizards District Gaming vs Mavs Gaming
Friday, April 19, 7 p.m. EST
All eyes will be on this game for one reason: Dimez vs. Dayfri. The two former teammates have made it very, very, very, clear they do not care for each other much, and the subtweets have come at a blistering pace to start the season. Look for both of them to get loud, and for the winner to take one more shot at the loser on Twitter. This will mean a lot more than your average game for both players.
The Mavs look like the more talented team, but anything can happen in a rivalry game. What’s particularly concerning about Dallas is its lack of offensive production: the team has put up just 46.6 points per game so far. It needs to find a way to maximize its personnel. The Wizards aren’t doing any better, either. This could be a turning point for both teams early in the season. And no matter what, it will be an emotional game.
Kings Guard Gaming vs Hawks Talon GC
Friday, April 19, 8 p.m. EST
Kings Guard Gaming’s biggest weapon, BP, appears to finally be online. The third overall pick scored 24 points against Nets GC and 25 against the Wizards with decent efficiency and showed off the flashy dribbling that made him one of the most coveted point guards in this year’s draft. The team also got good performances out of BallLikeSeem and Worthingcolt during the two matches it split in week one, and it’s always a good thing when your three biggest offensive threats are producing. The most worrying thing about the team is its defense, though. It held a bad Wizards team in check but looked lost against the Nets. That will have to improve.
The big test for the Hawks in this game will be Jay a Fool defending BP. The lockdown defender didn’t play horribly, but oFab still got his in their matchup last week. Stopping Fab is a tough task for even the best on-ball defenders in the world, but BP will still be a tough ask for a guy who has just been moved to a new position. What should work for the Hawks is their shooting, as they go up against a questionable Kings defense. Look for Rando and Dev to pull the trigger early and often.
Heat Check Gaming vs Wizards District Gaming
Friday, April 19, 9 p.m. EST
The Wiz Kids have struggled mightily to start season two. Its lone high point of the year so far was a win over woeful Grizz Gaming which required a last-second bucket. The team followed that up by being absolutely shellacked at the hands of T-Wolves Gaming before an uninspiring performance against the Kings. One of the main culprits for the team’s struggles is Demon JT, averaging just 10 points a game while shooting just over 30% from the field. The former first-round pick needs to find his form if this team is to have any success. If he can’t flip the shooting switch, don’t expect the Wizards to make too much noise this year.
Don’t be surprised if those struggles continue against the Heat. Lotty has proven himself to be one of the best lockdown defenders in the league, and the Heat boast the top three players in the league in steals per game. The defense is tough, and should match up exceptionally well against the Wizards. On the flip side, the Heat Check offense likely won’t have too hard a time finding a way to score points against this D.C. defense. This is probably going to be one of the least exciting games of week two, as it looks to be one-sided, with the Wizards also likely to have somewhat of a hangover following their big game against the Mavs. Anything can happen in this league, as we’ve seen too many times before, but still, more often than not things go as planned.
Grizz Gaming vs Kings Guard Gaming
Friday, April 19, 10 p.m. EST
These two teams aren’t the best in the league, but this is a sneaky-good matchup. The BP-Vandi duel, a showdown between the third and seventh overall picks, respectively, from this year’s draft, could be a good one. BP has shown serious flashes of his potential already and Vandi has struggled, but Vandi may just have more to prove as he tries to lift up a struggling Grizz offense.
What’s also interesting is that these two teams are kinda similar. Rookie point guard, veteran center, revamped roster. All can be used to describe the Kings and Grizz. For two squads near the bottom of the DIMER power rankings, though, this is a chance to distinguish themselves from one another and gain some momentum for the remainder of the season two campaign.
Game of the Week: Bucks Gaming vs Heat Check Gaming
Thursday, April 18, 6 p.m. EST
Last week, the Bucks cemented themselves as the real deal by winning an all-time double-OT classic against nemeses Blazer5 Gaming. ARooks is playing at an MVP level, leading the league in scoring with 36.5 points per game, and should look to lock up player of the week honors after Radiant snatched them after week one. But the Bucks have found their identity early, in total contrast to last year, and they’re consequently one of the most dangerous teams in the league. BigMeek hits just about every shot he takes; SlayIsland is a vocal leader at point guard; Plondo is poised and implacable at center; and Chaddynick is tenacious, if still somewhat foul-prone, at lockdown defender. But this team runs through ARooks and his shot-making. How long he can sustain it—and with it his MVP performance—is the question for the Bucks week-to-week. They’re the new kids on the block, but beating the established Heat would add an extra level of legitimacy to the Bucks’ impressive start to the season.
While winning is a new feeling for the Bucks, the Heat are familiar with success. They crushed Knicks Gaming in a rematch of last year’s Finals in week one, days after advancing to the semifinals of the Tipoff, and they’re right back to talking up a storm on-stage. Hotshot has taken time to remind everyone of his remarkable abilities in the frontcourt, averaging a double-double and making his presence felt all over the court. JMoney—whose 52nd overall mans is this??—looks more comfortable, and thus more dangerous, at point guard every day, a scary sight for teams. Lotty and Majes7ic combine for a formidable wing duo, and 24K Dropoff has all the savvy and poise of a ten-year veteran (except when it comes to his uniform). Some slept on the Heat before this season started; they’ve quelled those doubts, but stopping the upstart Bucks in their tracks would remind everyone just how hot the Heat can get.
Player to Watch: ARooks
What a story this has been. The thought of the player formerly known as Game6Drake emerging as a top MVP candidate would have you laughed at a mere three weeks ago. But 36.5 points per game in the regular season is no laughing matter, and ARooks has been the focal point of the Bucks Gaming resurgence in season two with clutch buckets and record-breaking shooting. This is a good Bucks team at every position, but make no mistake, ARooks has been the key to everything.
The former first-round pick has two games in week two to establish his MVP case even further. The first opportunity comes against lowly Pistons GT, not the most intense matchup but not one that should be overlooked either. But the real test comes on Thursday with a Tipoff knockout rounds rematch against Heat Check Gaming. The Heat handled the Bucks with relative ease and kept ARooks to a quiet six points two weeks ago, but a signature win against one of the league’s best teams and a big scoring night should be enough to propel the sharpshooter to the top of the race if he wasn’t there already. Expect that to be motivation for both teams, as the Heat won’t want that happen on their watch.