It’s week six, and the playoff picture is slowly starting to take shapes as a few teams get into the second half of their season. 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.
Blazer5 Gaming (6-1) vs. Raptors Uprising GC (2-3)
Wednesday, May 22, 6pm EST
Blazer5 has disappointed in three consecutive tournaments, dating back to last season’s playoffs, but that doesn’t take away from them being the most dominant regular season in the league’s history. Portland has continued to get better this season week by week. Don’t be shocked if they get right back to how they looked prior to the Turn.
Raptors Uprising comes into this week with a fresh perspective, literally. The Uprising traded 2018 protected star All Hail Trey in return for one of the best centers in the league, Sick. We’ve yet to see Sick’s contributions show up to the extent of getting results but there’s no question that he changes the game, especially on the defensive end. The Raptors showed last season that they can rattle off a win streak when needed. The best time to start one is always now.
Mavs Gaming (7-0) vs. Bucks Gaming (4-4)
Wednesday, May 22, 7pm
Some are skeptical of the Mavs’ season so far due to their strength of schedule, but 7-0 is still impressive in this league no matter what. The Mavs came up short of their goal of winning the Turn Tournament but they have plenty to still be optimistic about coming back into regular season play. The question was always whether the talent could play together, not the talent itself, and the Mavs have answered that accordingly thus far.
The Bucks have been impressive this season. However, they lost by 20 points to a team many considered the worst in the league, Wizards DG. The loss shouldn’t signal a need for change or spark any reason to be worried, as the Bucks just went to the semifinals at the Turn. But it will be interesting to see what version of the Bucks we get in this matchup.
Kings Guard Gaming (6-2) vs. Pistons GT (1-6)
Wednesday, May 22, 8pm
The Kings are legit! Can we wholeheartedly believe this now? The unfortunate part is the off-the-court issues don’t seem to be suppressed completely throughout the season. But if one thing is for certain, this team has proven that they can put all the issues to the side and get to business when it’s game time.
The new-look Pistons didn’t look impressive at all. This team still has a lot of identity issues that need to be hashed out, issues you expect a trade to help solve, not make more difficult. Yet, the Pistons seemed to find a way to do the latter. Jaacko needs to be a scorer for this team: that’s when the Pistons were at their best, period.
Celtics Crossover Gaming (1-4) vs. Blazer5 Gaming (6-1)
Wednesday, May 22, 9pm
Bad news for the tournament Celtics: the tournament is over. Now it’s time to get out of the 1-4 regular season hole and play to the level they’ve shown in those tournaments. The Celtics seem to have an issue of overthinking their identity. ProFusion IS the sharp, Mel East IS the lock, NOxAUTOGRAPHS IS the center. Stop changing things that don’t need to be changed.
By this matchup, we’ll have a better idea if Blazer5 is back to its old self. Mama is still the MVP favorite and Walnut is still one of the best bigs in the world. As we noted in the Blazer5 preview earlier, this team gets better each week. This is just another step for them to continue that trend.
Pistons GT (1-6) vs. Mavs Gaming (7-0)
Wednesday, May 22, 10pm
Hopefully by this matchup, we won’t be facepalming as much when we see that Jaacko is now deployed as a scorer. But this Pistons team doesn’t leave much room for hope, so we will reserve all optimism until we deem fit. In the interim, May can still change a game, and it’s not completely out of the realm for one of their backcourt guys to have a good game—most likely DevGoss.
As noted earlier, the Mavs have been fortunate to have one of the more easier, if not the easiest, schedules in the league this year. This matchup adds to that narrative, but you can’t blame the Mavs for capitalizing on the opportunity set in front of it. With the Pistons’ identity issues, look for the Mavs backcourt to really thrive in this one.
Heat Check Gaming (4-3) vs. Celtics Crossover Gaming (1-4)
Thursday, May 23, 6pm
The new-look Heat Check Gaming saw both sides of the spectrum in week 5. With the addition of new point guard Hood, the Heat demolished Cavs Legion, winning by 31 points, then followed that victory up with a loss to Pacers Gaming. With the Cavs ailing at the moment and the Pacers being considered one of the better teams in the league, you could easily speculate why these results went the way they did. However, Hood didn’t get much time to practice with his new team prior to week 5, so count on them to figure out some of the issues out as the season progresses.
Celtics Crossover Gaming wasn’t blessed with the easiest of schedules but with the shortcomings early on this year, this team needs to take some of these games right now. Although a team like the Celtics—known for being a great tournament team—could count on winning the Ticket to lock in a playoff berth, it’s always better to cover all bases, in this case getting back into the playoff hunt with their regular season record.
Raptors Uprising GC (2-3) vs. Lakers Gaming (1-6)
Thursday, May 23, 7pm
The Uprising are tested from the jump this week. With a tough matchup against Blazer5 to open the week, this matchup against Lakers Gaming needs to be considered a must-win. This could also be a great game for Doza to find rhythm again on the point guard position while the Raptors get into rhythm with new addition Sick.
The Lakers, on the other hand, seem to be holding on for dear life as each week passes. Mootyy and Kev have been bright spots for this team, but it’s evident how important a point guard is this year. And the Lakers are severely lacking in that department. Kev has won Los Angeles a game this year once before, so it’s not completely out of the realm of possibility. It’s just not something people in Vegas would put their money on.
Knicks Gaming (1-4) vs. Cavs Legion GC (3-5)
Thursday, May 23, 8pm
The Knicks are back after a bye week knowing that this is the time to turn their season around. The pick-and-roll duo of Adam and Goofy is obviously the No. 1 priority, but will we see something new out of the bye week designed to spark Malik and Idris offensively?
Cavs Legion had its slow start to the All Hail Trey era last week, and it needs to speed up now in the team’s start to the second half of the season. Strainer’s continued acclimation to point guard is of the essence, but don’t forget that this is LYKaPRO’s last game lost to suspension, either.
Bucks Gaming (4-4) vs. Warriors Gaming Squad (5-2)
Thursday, May 23, 9pm
The Bucks play to the level of their opponent. That will entail a massive leap forward to defeat red-hot Warriors Gaming, but it’s something Arooks and Plondo are eminently capable of. Will Chaddynick be able to contain either a now-scoring Kina or league-leader BSmoove?
Warriors Gaming is on a torrid stretch right now; no team has been better over the last three weeks. CB13 scored 25 points last week against the Magic, and when he’s putting the ball in the basket the Warriors have five legitimate bucket-getters on the floor. They were scary enough already.
Lakers Gaming (1-6) vs. Cavs Legion GC (3-5)
Friday, May 24, 7pm
The time is now for the Lakers, who’ll enter this game either with fresh hope after a win over Raptors Uprising or staring a bleak, on-the-brink 1-7 record. In the Cavs, they’ll face another team looking to figure things out. Might a sizeable Kev-Mootyy pick-and-roll against second-week starter (presumably) Savage be the answer?
The Cavs, too, could be in similar straits after the conclusion of their first game of the week. LYKaPRO might be back from suspension in this one, but will the Cavs change things up yet again, especially if they beat the Knicks on Thursday?
NetsGC (3-4) vs. Knicks Gaming (1-4)
Friday, May 24, 8pm
The Nets got a massive win in overtime last week to snap their long losing streak, but they might want this game even more. They beat the Knicks at the TIPOFF, but with both teams needing to climb back into the playoff race, this game has even more meaningful implications. Will they stick with the Lav at PG, Wavy at SF lineup that got the win last week?
The Knicks will either be eyeing a 3-4 record or facing a 1-5 record entering the game, both of which need to add to their hunger in this game. There’s little more unifying than a common enemy, but the Knicks need more than a Schmittian philosophy to topple their New York rivals.
76ers GC (3-2) vs. Heat Check Gaming (4-3)
Friday, May 24, 9pm
This will be the 76ers’ second game of the night, and there’s a possibility they enter it with a .500 record for the first time in forever. The Heat are no easy opponent, and Newdini—do they go with Bread at lock?—will have his hands full defending newly acquired Hood at point guard.
Heat Check gets another top point guard in week 6 after facing Fab on Thursday, but the battle to watch for them has to be Hotshot—week 5’s player of the week—against Steez and Breadwinner in the 76ers’ frontcourt. No big man creates like Hotshot does, and his inside-out passing could be the key to exploiting the 76ers’ few holes on defense.
NetsGC (3-4) vs. Jazz Gaming (4-3)
Friday, May 24, 10pm
The Nets once again get the Friday nightcap. They’ve got a tougher test this week, with Jazz Gaming, albeit a bit cooled off, coming to town. With Compete stepping up his scoring and aggressiveness offensively, this is the game for NateKahl to remind everyone why he went No. 2 in the expansion draft.
The Jazz are on a mission. They’ll need to take advantage of Gliz’s offensive talent against NetsGC’s new wing defenders, especially if Wavy stays at the 3. The team buried its embarrassment at the hands of the Pacers in week one, and it’s looking to drive another nail into the coffin of its early woes.
Player to watch: Mama Im Dat Man
After an underwhelming performance at the Turn followed by a bye-week, Look for Mama to come out this week showing everyone he still is the MVP favorite. Mama could’ve done a few things to swing the game in the Blazers’ favor at the Turn. So expect him to come out and prove those mishaps to be flukes. As he says, “Who are we fooling?” He knows what he brings to the table.
Game of the Week: 76ers GC vs. Warriors Gaming Squad (5-2)
Friday, May 24, 6pm
A rematch of the Turn finals. A matchup between this year’s two tournament victors. A matchup of two of the league’s best teams. What a game.
The Warriors added to their offensive arsenal with CB13 turning into a scorer. Gradient is one of the best locks in the league. BSmoove is one of the league’s leading scorers and is somehow still perpetually underrated. Jin and Chiquita have proved themselves eminently capable options in the frontcourt. Turn MVP Type, whom the team still claims as the real DPOY, is a menace in the middle. Can anyone stop them?
Well, the 76ers will certainly do their best. Radiant is still one of the league’s best point guards. ZDS is still one of the best shooters in the league, and he’s getting savvier as a passer every week. Steez remains a canny, solid presence in the middle. Breadwinner has improved his pick-and-roll defense and continues to beg the question of how he fell to No. 19. Newdini is perhaps the biggest question mark at lock, but even there he’s had several very strong games, and he can knock down shots.
Warriors Gaming won’t hesitate to attack in the pick-and-roll. They’ll force help from the corner, and while there are few better help defenders in the league than Steez, enough mistakes from the opposite side—enough hop-step fouls—and they’ll force their way inside to Type in the paint. The 76ers need to split wing and corner shooter consistently and bait the drive enough to force turnovers. Offensively, ZDS has to be at his finest. They’ll run wraps to try and switch Gradient off Radiant, but ZDS has to be prepared to go to work against the power forward from the outside.