Week nine tips off with some subtle-yet-crucial matchups, with two series in particular figuring to affect the playoff push for several teams.
Grizz Gaming (5-5) Vs. Mavs Gaming (8-4)
Grizz Gaming’s turnaround season was put in motion when Vandi rediscovered his aggressiveness on offense. When the Grizzlies last played in week seven, Vandi averaged nearly 25 shots, with 23 being the fewest he attempted in a single game. During Memphis’ four-game losing streak, Vandi registered fewer than 20 shots once in each series, with a lowly 10 attempts in game three against Atlanta. Grizz Gaming is tougher to beat when Vandi is looking to get his.
For Mavs Gaming, 2020 has been much like the previous year, and, while not as dominant, it’s been a mostly successful regular season with momentary lapses. Their lineup with Mo at lock and Spartxn getting involved with a stretch four has been a productive compliment to the two-headed monster of Sherm and Dimez.
Key Matchup: Goofy vs. PeteBeBallin
While Vandi has led the team in scoring, Grizz center Goofy also has his fingerprints on the team’s recent success. With money on the line for the first time in season three, Goofy averaged 14 points, 13 rebounds, and 3 blocks during Tipoff week. The season one champion also recorded 6 or more assists in three games, including a matchup against Indiana in which he recorded 10 assists en route to a triple double. Mavs Gaming’s PeteBeBallin struggled mightily last week with Portland’s OneWildWalnut—another elite center—and he’ll need to bounce back if the Mavs want to come away with victory.
Lakers Gaming (2-10) vs. 76ers GC (2-8)
Lakers Gaming is coming off a series loss at the hands of Knicks Gaming. Sav and his Lakers teammates fought hard, even stealing a game during the series, but ultimately fell short, dropping their record to 2-10 on the season. For the most part, it’s been a lost season in LA, and things haven’t gone the way we all expected. Mootyy has made an underwhelming appearance or two, but pairing Sav with the 2018 fourth overall pick hasn’t gone the way this front office envisioned.
76ers GC, we thought, would be fighting for playoff seeding during this stretch of the season. Rather, Philly, who was just one game away from winning it all last year, is still searching for just its third win. Without Scretty last week, 76ers GC threw out a pair of different lineups that featured longtime starting center Steez as the team’s lockdown. With Scretty possibly back in the fold, maybe we see more innovation out of Coach Terrell and the guys in Philly.
Key Matchup: Radiant vs. Sav
The new era faces off with the old era, as 2020’s seventh selection gears up to take on the NBA 2K League’s 14th ever draft pick. Both point guards have left more to be desired in the win column this season, and tonight each has the opportunity to grab their team’s third victory of the season.
Bucks Gaming (5-4) vs. NetsGC (5-4)
Bucks Gaming put on a show against winless Celtics Crossover, dropping a league-record 110 points in a single game. Regg has been a force on the offensive end, but even when he does go cold, his teammates—particularly Ty and Arooks—have been incredibly efficient with the ball. With the Bucks about to embark on a three-game schedule that includes NetsGC, Kings Guard, and Warriors Gaming, it’ll be interesting to see what approach teams take to slow them down.
From starting their season later in the schedule than most teams, to dealing with bans and suspensions, NetsGC has had a tumultuous year. Yet despite the controversy, Brooklyn finds itself in the middle of a playoff race and currently above .500. Give credit to the entire organization for being able to leave the distractions at the door before stepping onto the virtual hardwood. With their backs against the wall, Brooklyn was able to reel off two straight wins against the defending champions. Each player scored in double digits at least once during the series, with Randomz dropping at least thirty points twice.
Key Matchup: Regg vs. Choc
The season three draft class has lived up to its billing during remote play and has provided fans with electric point guard play on a weekly basis. While their draft spots didn’t earmark them as topflight rookies, Regg and Choc head into tonight’s matchup now headlining their class. After Milwaukee took Regg at No. 12 and Brooklyn selected Choc at No. 9, both guards have proven naysayers wrong regarding their impact on the court.
Hawks Talon GC (3-5) vs. Magic Gaming (4-7)
Hawks Talon GC dropped a pair of series last week, dropping their record below .500. Both losses came at the hands of elite competition, as Jazz Gaming and Warriors Gaming Squad aren’t the teams you want to play on a back-to-back. This week provides an opportunity to turn things around and put Atlanta’s recent struggles in the past, all while gearing up to make a playoff run. In addition, BP’s hand has had an extra week to heal, so maybe we see better play out of the superstar guard against his former Rookie of the Year combatant.
Magic Gaming split its matchups last week, falling to the Hornets but reverse sweeping 76ers GC. Orlando has shuffled their lineup in recent weeks, experimenting with different archetypes for Reizey, their reigning rookie of the year. Reizey experienced plenty of success against Philly, averaging 36 points and 10 assists per contest while shooting 60% from the field. Tonight, the point guard aims to do more of the same, in an attempt to stifle Hawks Talon’s playoff hopes.
Key Matchup: BP vs. his broken hand
Star Atlanta point guard BP revealed last week that he’d be playing through a broken hand for the remainder of the season. Unfortunately for himself and his team, it showed, as the offseason acquisition struggled mightily with shooting efficiently and taking care of the ball during week eight.