Week two brought plenty of surprises and tense matchups. Week three looks to do the same. 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.
Knicks Gaming (0-1) vs. Magic Gaming (0-2)
Wednesday, April 24, 6 p.m. EST
The Knicks are hoping that a bye week cured their championship hangover, as star point guard iamadamthe1st hasn’t gotten back up to league speed. After an asterisk-stained loss to Magic Gaming in the Tipoff Tournament, the Knicks know that star center Goofy757 has to win the rebounding battle against KingCamRoyalty and the non-lockdown defenders have to check the Magic’s dual-threat ballhandlers.
For the Magic, coming off a bye week, it’s all about executing. They’re not worried despite the slow start, since Reizey has cleared up any doubts about his point guard performance with 13 assists per game, good for second-best in the league. If KelMav explodes for a big game against the similarly slow-starting Knicks, the Magic should find themselves in the win column sooner rather than later.
Raptors Uprising GC (0-2) vs. T-Wolves Gaming (1-1)
Wednesday, April 24, 7 p.m. EST
Another matchup between two teams coming off of their bye week. Raptors Uprising certainly needed the prolonged break more than T-Wolves Gaming. Canada’s finest followed up their Tipoff Group 1 win with two losses in week one: first to fellow groupmates Cavs Legion GC and then again to juggernaut 76ers Gaming. The team shied away from the double lockdown defender set up but still couldn’t produce enough offense to take home a win. Most concerning so far has been first-round pick Doza’s general lack of production: the former Pistons GT man debuted for his new team two weeks ago with a 3-point, 3-assist, 1-for-6 performance and followed it up with a 5-point, 5-assist, 2-for-9 showing. Needless to say, the team needs more out of him.
It was a less disappointing regular season debut for the T-Wolves. Though the team took a 23-point loss to the excellent Bucks Gaming, they rebounded to take care of business against Lakers Gaming. Point guard BearDaBeast famously said if he and Hood figure it out, it’s over for everyone else. Well, Bear and Hood have had another week to figure things out, which indeed probably is a concern for the rest of the league considering the early returns on the Bear-Hood pairing have been auspicious for the Wolves.
Mavs Gaming (3-0) vs. Lakers Gaming (1-2)
Wednesday, April 24, 8 p.m. EST
The Mavs are 3-0, but those wins have come against opponents with a combined record of just 1-8. The more chemistry Dimez and Pete find in the pick-and-roll, the more certain a 3-0 team the Mavs will be. But one underrated factor that’s sent the Mavs skyrocketing in the standings is the emergence of first-round pick Mo, who averaged 19 points and 4 3-pointers per game in last week’s 2-0 doubleheader.
Lakers Gaming picked up its first win of the season, over the lowly Grizz, but they might still be searching for answers after a drubbing at the hands of Blazer5 Gaming. With the way things stand, Kontrul at point guard has to be the answer, since the Lakers can’t shake the look of a pick-and-roll reliant team. That’s good for Mootyy, who averaged 16.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists in last week’s 1-1 split.
Magic Gaming (0-2) vs. T-Wolves Gaming (1-1)
Wednesday, April 24, 9 p.m. EST
The Magic need to be ready for whatever the T-Wolves throw at them in both teams’ second game of the night. UCManny holds the keys to this game, as his performance against one of the T-Wolves’ scorers will play a major role in determining the game’s outcome. Another underrated matchup: KingCamRoyalty goes up against center counterpart Feast in a battle of two of the most underrated centers in the league.
T-Wolves Gaming, the league’s lone 1-1 team, could be the most dangerous team in the league coming off a bye week. Emphasis on could, since consistency is the final feature the team needs to figure out. Keyed by the fearsome scoring duo of BearDaBeast and Hood, the talent is certainly there, but realizing that game-in and game-out is the real test of the team’s second game of the night.
Heat Check Gaming (2-1) vs. Lakers Gaming (1-2)
Wednesday, April 24, 10 p.m. EST
Heat-Lakers. Primetime, right? Not quite. The Heat are one of the more workmanlike teams in the NBA 2K League, and although they talk more trash than just about anyone, they put out a team effort and expect the most out of all five positions. Hotshot is the triple-double threat, but if Dropoff—who scored 21 points on 8-for-8 shooting in the team’s last outing—can maintain his level of play, the Lakers could be in big trouble.
This will be the Lakers’ second game of the night, and whatever mood they’re in after game one will be sorely tested by the Heat’s trash talk. The Lakers are 2-1 overall against rookie point guards, though, and if Vert—or whoever plays lock—can muster a stellar effort against JMoney, the Lakers will be in this game all the way.
Celtics Crossover Gaming (0-1) vs. 76ers GC (1-0)
Thursday, April 25, 7 p.m. EST
This initially looked to be a rematch of the Tipoff finals, but due to a post-game scrum between Celtics Crossover Gaming and Hawks Talon GC the Celtics will be short-handed in an already-tough matchup, losing oFab to a one-game suspension. As far as what the Celtics will do in Fab’s absence, the only clue we have is this Twitter post, which appears to show MelEast at shooting guard. Needless to say, this isn’t the ideal scenario to find yourself in, without your best player and floor general against the best team in the league.
The 76ers are coming off a week two bye and there’s nothing that leads us to believe they won’t pick up right where they left off. Radiant (although controversial to some) was voted Player of the Week for week one. Week in and week out, award or not, look for Radiant to be one of the best players in the league. This Sixers team has yet to show a significant weakness and it’s hard to imagine the depleted Celtics will crack the code.
Knicks Gaming (0-1) vs. Pistons GT (1-2)
Thursday, April 25, 8 p.m. EST
The reigning champs have looked anything but so. Yet it’s hard to completely count out the Knicks until the numbers completely confirm elimination, as this looks eerily similar to their situation this same time last year. There are some rumblings that Malik will officially run point guard this week, similar to the Hawks and Rando. How this potential move could affect iamadamthe1st will be worth noting, but maybe it’s already time to switch things up in New York City.
The Pistons came into week two experiencing similar issues. Yet Jaacko, whose arrival was delayed due to VISA issues, provided a much-needed spark. The Pistons look to build off their momentum from week two, where they finished 1-1. May and Joseph have really become a cohesive duo down low, while Stylez finally has a scorer next to him, allowing him to showcase more of his playmaking ability. This matchup will be a showdown between a backcourt trying to find its footing and a backcourt that believes it has found the method.
Raptors Uprising GC (0-2) vs. Nets GC (2-0)
Thursday, April 25, 9 p.m. EST
Raptors Uprising has been on a downward trend since its first win in the Tipoff against Mavs GG. Going from what many believed might be the meta in the double lockdown defenders after a lopsided victory in their opener against Mavs Gaming, many are now questioning what exact lineup will work for this Raptors roster. Doza has really struggled to find any offensive production, while the defense just hasn’t looked up to par with what we saw from them in the tournament. Could the Raptors do some more lineup switches this week? It wouldn’t hurt to try Kenny, who started season one at point guard, at the 1 position.
Nets GC seems to be patient with its growth. Shuttles was finally inserted into the lineup and it proved vital for the Nets’ week one success. The Nets are currently 2-0 and look to carry the momentum into week three after having a bye week in week two. Shuttles and Nate in pick-and-roll defense was clearly top-tier in the Nets’ week one matchups. Look for it to be a factor in this matchup against the Raptors, as well.
Blazer5 Gaming (2-1) vs. Cavs Legion GC (2-2)
Friday, April 26, 6 p.m. EST
The initial worries about Blazer5 look to be due to the fact Bucks Gaming is significantly better than what everyone anticipated. As Blazer5 showed in week two, they are still contenders. Mama Im Dat Man currently leads the league in assists at 15 per game, while OneWildWalnut looks like he finally found his rhythm while taking home the Player of the Week award for week two. This team still has some questions surrounding the offensive production—or lack thereof—from King Peroxide, as well as the defensive consistency from Daveed 3x and LavishPhenom, both of which Blazer5 seem adamant to figure out as the season progresses.
Cavs Legion GC, on the other hand, seems to be trending in the opposite direction. After finishing week one 2-0, the Cavs followed that up with an 0-2 showing in week two. Opponents appeared keen to force someone else besides Strainer to beat them offensively. The Cavs are one of the better defensive teams but until LYKaPRO starts to capitalize more on his offensive opportunities, it seems unlikely that this team reaches its full potential. However, if Strainer can find his rhythm against another off night from the Blazer5 locks, the Cavs could steal this one.
Celtics Crossover Gaming (0-1) vs. Kings Guard Gaming (2-2)
Friday, April 26, 7 p.m. EST
The return of oFab, who will have served his one-game suspension in the team’s game against 76ers Gaming on Wednesday. Celtics Crossover Gaming should show some urgency to win this game, no matter the result against the 76ers the day before. Should they fall as expected to Philly, going 0-3 if they lose against the Kings would be a horrible (disastrous?) start for a team with championship aspirations. If they pull out a win in the Tipoff finals rematch and notch a victory here against the Kings, a 2-1 start considering everything that has happened to this team so far would be a hell of a stabilizer and a nice injection of confidence into the team.
Kings Guard Gaming, meanwhile, also has a date with the 76ers, except it’s the Friday nightcap. This team is a sneaky 2-2 at the moment, with times where it seems like they’re on the verge of figuring things out and times where they frustrate you with their play. Week three will tell us just a little bit more about what this team really is. The continued excellence of BP, who most certainly in the very, very early Rookie of the Year race, will go a long way against two tough opponents this week.
Pistons GT (1-2) vs. Cavs Legion GC (2-2)
Friday, April 26, 8 p.m. EST
Pistons GT’s play with Jaacko in the lineup makes this a closer game than it would have been just a couple of weeks ago. The Pistons looked like a new team with the New Zealand man making his long-awaited debut in week two, getting a big win over Bucks Gaming before falling in a close one against Pacers Gaming. Not only did the third-round pick give Detroit a needed scoring boost, the team’s two first-round picks, MrStylez and May, had the best week of their young NBA 2K League careers. Now it’s time for them to prove they can all do it on a consistent basis.
The Cavs have had an up-and-down season so far. After a hot 2-0 start, they dropped their two week two games to fall to .500, in part because Strainer wasn’t on his “A” game. The Cavs don’t necessarily need him to be a superstar scoring 20+ points a game, but they sure do play a lot better when he’s shooting well. We’ve written before that the 3 through 5 positions are the most crucial for Cleveland, and if those three can bounce back with big weeks, don’t be too surprised if they come out of week three with a 4-2 record. But Blazer5 Gaming and Pistons GT are two tough opponents, and it’ll take the Cavs’ best play in order to beat them both.
Nets GC (2-0) vs. Blazer5 Gaming (2-1)
Friday, April 26, 9 p.m. EST
Nets GC has proven to be formidable in its debut season. Controversial Tipoff happenings notwithstanding, the Nets have taken care of business so far with a comfortable win over Kings Guard Gaming and a close but quality win over Magic Gaming. While the Nets will thrive with balanced scoring from the entire roster, the key so far has been first-round pick Wavy.zay, averaging 19 points per game so far on some of the most efficient shooting you’ll see in the entire league. The team’s biggest test of the season so far will come against Blazer5 Gaming, though. It will take Wavy’s best performance to take down Portland.
Even for a team that was a first seed in the playoffs last year, Blazer5 Gaming may have had one of its most impressive weeks ever in week two. An 11-point win over formidable Warriors Gaming Squad and a drubbing of Lakers Gaming showed us not only impressive team performances (King Peroxide’s 9 points against the Warriors was the team’s only individual single-digit scoring effort), but season one MVP candidates Mama Im Dat Man and OneWildWalnut made their mark as the league’s best duo. Mama’s statline: 16 points, 15 assists, 4 steals against the Warriors and 16 points, 19 assists, 0 turnovers against the Lakers. Walnut’s: 14 points, 14 rebounds, 70% from the field in the first game and 26 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists in the second game. That’s as good a doubleheader as you’ll see from any two players on the same team. They’ll need to bottle that up and unleash it against a strong Nets side.
76ers GC (1-0) vs. Kings Guard Gaming (2-2)
Friday, April 26, 10 p.m. EST
The BP-Radiant matchup could be a sight to behold. The 76ers defense is tough, though, and this may be the stingiest defense the Kings rookie has faced to this point. Even then, he scored 22 points in these two sides’ first matchup at the Tipoff, a 57-47 76ers win (not exactly a blowout, all things considered). Since then, the Kings have looked much better in the regular season than they did in the opening tournament, so it would be unwise for the 76ers to blow the Kings off and think of it as an automatic win. The Kings defense will also need to turn it up a notch. They’ve held poor offensive teams Wizards District Gaming and Grizz Gaming to 47 and 46 points, respectively, but have otherwise been inconsistent. And you can’t be inconsistent against the 76ers.
Game of the Week: Mavs Gaming (3-0) vs Heat Check Gaming (2-1)
Thursday, April 25, 6 p.m. EST
Now this is a matchup. The Mavs, by this time, could be 4-0 against four teams sitting below .500, with this their first matchup against a team (potentially) above .500. Make no mistake; they’ve been a good team. Mo, as noted above, has made real progress from the Tipoff, as has the majority of the team in terms of its composure and cool. Coming off a big win against former Mav Dayfri, they have to be pumped. First-round pick PeteBeBallin has nabbed 3.3 steals per game, tied for fifth in the league, which helps offset lockdown defender Sherm’s 1.2 steals per game.
MVP candidate Hotshot seems to near a triple-double every night at the center position, but Lotty has quietly rounded into form as one of the top locks in the league. He sits third with 4.3 steals per game, and has also been effective on the offensive side of things, shooting nearly 65% on the season. The Heat, coming off a 1-1 split in week two, haven’t blown teams away like a presumptive frontrunner, but with production across all five positions and rookie point guard JMoney scoring 17.3 points per game in the regular season, the experienced Heat aren’t worried.
Player to Watch: BP
The highest selected point guard in the season two entry draft, BP has so far been worth the third overall pick. At 21.8 points per game, he leads all rookies in scoring and isn’t far off from the top-five scorers in the entire league. His efforts running the offense in Sacramento are the biggest reason Kings Guard Gaming sits at 2-2 entering week three. The flashy dribble moves have translated well onto the league build, his scoring touch has been lethal and his playmaking has been showcased with BallLikeSeem the lucky recipient.
In week three, BP can make a strong case for Rookie of the Year and give the Kings some playoffs hope as they square off against Celtics Crossover Gaming and 76ers GC. Matchups against oFab and Radiant in one night is as difficult as it gets for a point guard in the NBA 2K League. If the Kings want to win either of these matchups, they’ll have to trust in their most important player to outplay two of the best players in the 2K world.