The first in-season tournament of the 2020 calendar hasn’t disappointed so far, with plenty of close games and upsets to keep any NBA 2K League fan entertained the past two days. Group play concluded last night, leaving just eight teams remaining with $160,000 on the line.
There are teams familiar to the top of the standings and some surprise group winners comprising the best-of-three single elimination stage, meaning there should be plenty of excitement the rest of the week.
The quarterfinals will be played tonight, with the semifinals and finals to be played on Friday. We’ve got you covered with a preview of the quarterfinal matchups. Records indicate performance in Tipoff group play.
Pistons GT (2-2) vs. Jazz Gaming (3-1), 7 p.m. ET
Pistons GT is hoping to continue its surprising tournament run in the knockout stage where it takes on Jazz Gaming. Detroit was on a downward spiral headed into the Tipoff, but its 1-7 record mattered little when the Pistons finished .500 in group play against NetsGC and 76ers GC. After facing criticism for his point guard play this season, Demon JT put up his best performance of the year, and perhaps his career, against NetsGC to secure Detroit a berth in the next round.
While wins against Philadelphia and Brooklyn were impressive, Detroit’s next opponent is a different breed. The Jazz have been surging during the last few weeks and rode that momentum into games against Celtics Crossover Gaming and Mavs Gaming. Utah runs five deep, but the gravity that Splashy and Ria provide each other will provide Detroit with an interesting challenge to overcome.
Key Matchup: Ria vs. Ramo
Detroit reacquired Ramo to make an impact in big moments, and now the biggest moment of season three thus far awaits. How he negates Splashy’s open looks off screens or limits Ria’s influence in the paint will be a deciding factor in the outcome.
Grizz Gaming (3-1) vs. Kings Guard Gaming (3-1), 7 p.m. ET
After losing its first four games of the season, Grizz Gaming reeled off four straight wins and has not stopped surprising teams during tournament play. Even before sweeping the tough-minded Pacers, Memphis shocked the 2K community when they stole a game from the Warriors. Regardless of what happens during the rest of the Tipoff tournament, the Grizz—winning a tournament game and more for the first time in franchise history—have officially arrived.
Standing in the way is Kings Guard Gaming, with whom the Grizz matched up earlier in the season. Sacramento swept the Grizzlies after Memphis was unable to limit the trio of Bash, Seemo and Crush. The three averaged a combined 51.5 points per game in their previous matchup and will again be relied on to take care of the Grizzlies. If Sacramento’s suffocating defense continues to play at the high level it’s been at the last few weeks, it could be difficult for Grizz Gaming to advance.
Key Matchup: Yusuf_Scarbz vs. DDouble
We know it’s going to be a battle between Shotz and Goofy, but how their respective frontcourt partners perform could be the difference maker. Yusuf has been a demon as a weakside defender, and his effectiveness as a shooter means defense must always account for him. While DDouble hasn’t been as prolific, now would be the perfect time for him to step up and erase or negate his matchup’s contributions.
Raptors Uprising GC (4-0) vs. Bucks Gaming (3-1), 9 p.m. ET
Raptors Uprising GC carried over all of its regular season momentum into tournament play, sweeping its first slate of Tipoff games. Tonight, the team risks its perfect record—both overall and in tournament play—against Regg and Bucks Gaming. These two teams have yet to meet, but their offensive prowess has me expecting an absolute barn burner. Two elite scoring point guards in Kenny and Regg should make for a ton of offensive firepower in this best of three.
Coming off of a successful opening round, Bucks Gaming has been hot the past few weeks altogether. The team swept both Pistons GT and Pacers Gaming last and won three out of four matchups in the group stage. Unfortunately, the grand prize for defeating their Group 5 competition is a best-of-three series with Raptors Uprising. Best of luck, Regg and co.
Key Matchup: Regg vs. No. 1 Defense
Both teams boast high-scoring offenses, with Toronto’s defense being the X-factor. Can the Raptors’ full court press stifle yet another red-hot point guard?
Gen.G Tigers of Shanghai (4-0) vs. Cavs Legion GC (3-1), 9 p.m. ET
Gen.G Tigers of Shanghai’s offense was firing on all cylinders last night, averaging nearly 89 points per contest. ShiftyKaii flirted with breaking the regulation-scoring record, but fell just one point shy with 76 total points in the team’s final group game against Lakers Gaming. In the series prior, Kaii found the open man time and time again, posting 33 assists in just two games against Blazer5 Gaming. Switching to the offensive threat build at point guard, with the combination of shuffling their starting five, has produced immediate results for coach Len and the Tigers in recent weeks.
I’m not sure anybody gave the Cavs a chance to advance past Group 7’s round robin competition, which included the reigning champions and a streaking Wizards team, but here we are. Aside from one game, where even Strainer admits he played like a “brown shirt in the park,” Cleveland looked like a complete team last night. After struggling in the early parts of the season, oLarry and co. have quietly ramped up their quality of play recently. Tonight, a tough test with the Tigers out of Shanghai lies ahead.
Key Matchup: ShiftyKaii vs. Godddof2k
This year’s No. 5 overall pick has taken the league by storm and is capable of scoring and distributing at the highest level. Godddof2k, reigning Defensive Player of the Year, will have his hands full. Elite offense vs. elite defense with a chance at cash on the line. Who comes out on top?