It’s the penultimate week of the NBA 2K League season, and a lot is still on the line. Playoff implications big and small are abound in almost every matchup this week, though one game stumps all the rest in terms of postseason hopes. 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.
[Video: Will and Josiah discuss week 11 and awards races]
Knicks Gaming (2-10) vs. T-Wolves Gaming (7-6)
Wednesday, July 10, 6 p.m.
The remainder of the regular season for Knicks Gaming is irrelevant for anything but evaluating personnel for next season, as they are one of three teams already eliminated from playoff contention entering week 11. They can still play the role of spoiler for T-Wolves Gaming, however.
T-Wolves Gaming currently sits just outside of the playoff bracket, about eight percentage points behind the team currently in position to be the seventh seed, Celtics Crossover Gaming. Warriors Gaming Squad would currently be the eighth seed by virtue of its win in the Ticket, meaning T-Wolves Gaming has to finish in the top seven to make the playoffs.
A win in this game would boost T-Wolves Gaming’s winning percentage nearly four points, making up half their deficit automatically. A loss would put them in dire need of not only wins in their last two regular-season games but lopsided ones at that, as average point differential is the second tiebreaker in determining playoff spots.
Pistons GT (1-12) vs. Raptors Uprising GC (6-7)
Wednesday, July 10, 7 p.m.
Pistons GT is in the same situation as Knicks Gaming, using its final three regular-season games to aid in making decisions about next season. Raptors Uprising GC could soon join them in that situation even if they win this game.
Not only is Raptors Uprising GC’s winning percentage about 15 points worse than Celtics Crossover’s, but Raptors Uprising has head-to-head losses to 76ers GC, Celtics Crossover and Magic Gaming. As head-to-head results are the first tiebreaker, that means Raptors Uprising GC would have to finish ahead of those teams in the standings to make the playoffs.
Raptors Uprising not only needs to win all three of its remaining regular-season games but needs to get some help as well.
T-Wolves Gaming (7-6) vs. Heat Check Gaming (4-8)
Wednesday, July 10, 8 p.m.
Although there is one extremely unlikely situation possible that would put Heat Check in the playoffs, for all realistic purposes, the first season’s runner-up won’t be in the playoffs in the second season. If they’re able to hand T-Wolves Gaming a loss in this one, they could put the T-Wolves in the same situation.
If T-Wolves Gaming wants to enter the final week of regular-season games still alive for a playoff spot, it will need two more stellar performances from Week 10 Player of the Week BearDaBeast. He was a major factor in his team sweeping their games last week, boosting his season scoring average to 16.3 points per game.
Lakers Gaming (2-11) vs. Pistons GT (1-12)
Wednesday, July 10, 9 p.m.
This will be the first game of the NBA 2K League’s 2019 season between teams that have already been eliminated from playoff contention coming in, so it will be interesting to see how players respond to not only playing a game that is irrelevant as far as playoff implications go but for teams they may not be on when the third season begins.
Even if their current franchises elect not to retain the players on the current rosters, another team may see value in them, so don’t expect the 10 players involved in this game to mail it in. They are playing for their careers in the NBA 2K League.
Raptors Uprising GC (6-7) vs. Heat Check Gaming (4-8)
Wednesday, July 10, 10 p.m.
If Raptors Uprising GC gets upset by Pistons GT earlier on the night it will be interesting to see how they bounce back. It’s possible the disappointment of losing a must-win game to an inferior opponent will create a dejected atmosphere. It’s also possible that could inspire a desire to prove that the loss was a fluke.
A win would keep Raptors Uprising within arms’ reach of a playoff spot if other games go their way. Winning this game by a large margin wouldn’t hurt either, as Raptors Uprising currently has a point differential of -6.8. By the time Wednesday’s games are finished, we could see two more teams currently on the playoff bubble either cementing that position or joining the crowd of eliminated squads.
Grizz Gaming (6-7) vs. NetsGC (7-5)
Thursday, July 11, 6 p.m.
It’s essentially time to play spoiler for the Grizz, who’ve taken important strides this season but are likely to come up short of a playoff berth for the second consecutive season. They’re by no means eliminated, but this week 11 game against the Nets is more a chance to develop further consistency between cornerstones Vandi and AuthenticAfrican.
Meanwhile, it’s essentially do-or-die time for the Nets, who’d be the first team out if the playoffs started today. They can catch up to the other contenders by beating the Grizz. NateKahl stepped up his defense down the stretch last year; it’s time to do that again, while first-round pick Wavy.zay, back at point guard, can step up with his team’s season in his hands.
Knicks Gaming (2-10) vs. Hawks Talon GC (4-8)
Thursday, July 11, 7 p.m.
The Knicks have played with more pride since the Ticket tournament started, but it’s all about figuring out next year at this point. With a game against similarly stumbling Hawks Talon, the team will get a chance to see who shows up in a low-pressure, eminently winnable game.
Losers of five consecutive games (not including tournaments), Hawks Talon could really benefit from a win, especially before taking on Pacers Gaming on Friday night. A playoff berth is extremely unlikely at this point, but the team shouldn’t squander this game, a real chance to pick up a win.
Wizards District Gaming (5-7) vs. 76ers GC (8-5)
Thursday, July 11, 8 p.m.
As strange as the Wizards’ season has been, the team has made a strong push late in their campaign, checking in at over .500 since the Turn. The 76ers are the biggest stumbling block in the Wizards’ pursuit of a last-gasp playoff spot, but there are numerous positives to take away from the second half of the season no matter what.
This game is just the ticket for the vaunted 76ers, who are likely to make the playoffs but aren’t quite there yet. With two tough games remaining after this, the 76ers need to take home a win against the sub-.500 squad. When on their game, few can tough one of the league’s most successful franchises.
Celtics Crossover Gaming (8-5) vs. Lakers Gaming (2-11)
Thursday, July 11, 9 p.m.
No ifs, ands or buts for Celtics Crossover in this one. This is a must-win game if the Celtics want to stay afloat in the playoff hunt. It should be close to an automatic victory, as Lakers Gaming has little to play for nearing the end of its horrific season, but at this stage in the playoff race, no game can be overlooked.
Lakers Gaming doesn’t have much to play for. The Lakers should look ahead to next season and figure out what parts of the team they can see extending into season three. But playing spoiler to Boston would certainly sweeten a season that has had few, if any, bright spots.
NetsGC (7-5) vs. Wizards District Gaming (5-7)
Friday, July 12, 6 p.m.
NetsGC is one of the hottest teams in the league right now. But they aren’t out of the water quite yet. The Nets need this win just as much as any other result this year. If the Nets are to drop this result, it’s hard to imagine a playoffs appearance in their inaugural season.
Wizards DG has slim chances, with a current 3% chance to qualify for this year’s playoffs according to our own playoff odds. That’s not to say the Wizards shouldn’t be proud of how they’ve adapted to adversity this year. They have won three of their last four contests and can look to build off that heading into the end of the season.
Pacers Gaming (8-4) vs. Hawks Talon GC (4-8)
Friday, July 12, 7 p.m.
Pacers Gaming has been considered one of the elite teams this year. However, they aren’t safe quite yet. The Pacers head into arguably their toughest slate of matchups these last two weeks, and a loss against arguably the easiest game of that slate wouldn’t set the tone well, so to speak. Coming off an unimpressive pair of victories in week nine, the Pacers are going to need to ramp up their efforts starting this week.
After the Hawks shocked the entire league and upset Warriors Gaming Squad back in week seven, they completely lost control of this season. Since that victory, the Hawks have lost five straight games, meaning it’s all but over for Hawks Talon, but consider this an opportunity to figure out more of an identity heading into the offseason.
76ers GC (8-5) vs. Pacers Gaming (8-4)
Friday, July 12, 9 p.m.
At the beginning of the year, who would’ve thought these two teams would be considered “bubble teams” with two weeks to go. Both of these teams are going to need a good result here. For 76ers GC, this seems to be the toughest matchup left on its schedule. However, for Pacers Gaming, this is the first tough matchup of three.
Expect a war from tip-off and emotions to flare as this matchup gets underway.
Grizz Gaming (6-7) vs. Magic Gaming (8-5)
Friday, July 12, 10 p.m.
At this point, Grizz Gaming playoff hopes seem out of the window, but they do have a chance to throw a wrench in the Magic’s playoff plans here. The Grizz were a team that ended up figuring it out, but unfortunately, it happened too late. If the Grizz can use these last couple weeks to figure out what could work best, the offseason won’t be nearly as tedious.
Magic Gaming, on the other hand, is locked and loaded. Every game matters for Magic Gaming at this point and there isn’t a better time for them to capitalize on the opportunity. Magic Gaming is arguably the hottest team in the league right now and every position seems to be hitting its stride. They will be coming off one of the most important matchups of the entire season when they enter this game, so it will be interesting to see how they can transition from that result.
Game of the Week: Celtics Crossover Gaming (8-5) vs. Magic Gaming (8-5)
Friday, July 12, 8 p.m.
There hasn’t really been a game like this all year, one permitting such a sigh of relief for the winner and such a case of nerves for the loser.
The Celtics will have played—and most likely beaten—Lakers Gaming late Thursday night, and so will probably be 9-5 and well within reach of a playoff spot come this all-important game. For the Magic, it’s the first game of a tough Friday doubleheader; they’ll also play in the nightcap against Grizz Gaming. Neither team has stellar tiebreakers, but with a win in this one—no matter what the Nets do—they’ll earn a pivotal tiebreaker and an all-but-guaranteed playoff spot.
It’s Fab’s world right now, and stopping him is of the utmost importance for the Magic, since Manny—the team’s former lock—matches up well against Celtics sharpshooter Profusion. ToXsiK, whom the Magic acquired midseason, has never had such a crucial task. On the other side, Magic Gaming’s DT has to be the sparkplug against MelEast while KingCam does the dirty work down low against NoAutographs. The Celtics need sufficient secondary scoring as usual, but clamping down on Reid might be the most important play of all.
Both teams lost out on the playoffs in week 12 last season, with the just-eliminated Magic eliminating the oh-so-close Celtics at the eleventh hour. Now, they go head-to-head in the most important game of this year, with playoffs now more on the line than ever before.
Player to Watch: Radiant, 76ers GC
With the Magic and Celtics in the spotlight this week, it’s worthwhile to key in on one of the most important players on the subtler side of the league.
The 76ers, who are very much in the thick of the playoff race, have two games in week 11 against Wizards District Gaming and, most importantly, Pacers Gaming. Two wins, and they’ll essentially be guaranteed a good playoff spot. Two losses would be disastrous. A split—especially one with a loss to the Pacers—sees the tensions heightened and the drama extended to week 12.
That’s why Radiant, the best player on the 76ers, is so important. He was touted as the MVP favorite after winning that honor as the 76ers won their second consecutive Tipoff tournament. Since then, other point guards have eclipsed him for the MVP race, but when the going gets tough Radiant gets going, as evidenced by his 24-point, 13-assist performance in a much-needed week 10 win.
The going is getting tough once again. Radiant should be getting going.