Buzzer beaters and big-time performances marked the first night of week nine, with NetsGC earning a huge boost and Mavs Gaming inching closer to a berth of its own.
76ers GC def. Lakers Gaming 2-1
Scretty was reintroduced into the starting lineup and Breadwinner showcased his dominance at the center position for 76ers GC. After dropping game one on their own host, Radiant and his teammates woke up, completing the reverse sweep of Lakers Gaming. It seems that no matter what build you throw Breadwinner on, he’ll produce with the best of them, as he averaged 14 points, 15 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 blocks per contest last night. Pair that with a near-perfect game three Radiant and Scretty’s 26 point performance, and the 76ers finished this series strongly to earn their third win of the season.
Lakers Gaming held a double-digit lead for the majority of game one, pushing the lead to 20+ points on a couple of occasions. With a chance to sweep Philly in game two, on their host, Lakers Gaming underwhelmed in the second half, affording 76ers GC an opportunity to close it out on their homecourt. LA’s defense couldn’t stop a nosebleed in the series-deciding game, while Sav dropped his 11th game in 13 tries to begin his career. The young point guard might be the lone bright spot of a lost 2020 season, but last night he struggled with turnovers, recording 15 in the team’s two losses.
X-Factor: Three-point shooting
Over the final two games, especially in the third, Philly started hitting from deep at a high clip. The team went 20/38 in those two games, compared to LA’s 9/30.
Mavs Gaming def. Grizz Gaming 2-0
What Went Right
While Mavs Gaming was never properly able to shake off Grizz Gaming the entire night, they did have enough composure to hold the Grizz at bay during the most crucial moments. Sherm had a dominant evening, averaging 31.5 points per game while shooting 53% from deep. The steady point guard provided fans with the highlight of the series, throwing down a go-ahead dunk in the closing seconds of game two.
What Went Wrong
A slow game one start ended up coming back to haunt the Grizzlies on a night they were competitive with one of the top teams in the league. Memphis trailed 40-24 at the end of the first half but would go on to outscore Dallas 96-93 the rest of the series while only dropping two of the next six quarters. The early deficit was partly due to the nine turnovers the Grizzlies had by halftime. In a series as tight as this one, Memphis’ early struggles proved to be too deep of a hole from which to climb.
Our key matchup headed into this game was between Dallas’ PeteBeBallin and the Grizzlies’ Goofy. Pete had previously been outplayed by OneWildWalnut in the Mavs’ recent loss to Portland, but came out with renewed determination against another elite center. While Goofy was still able to get his, due how he’s utilized in the Memphis offense, Pete went onto average 12.5 points on 82% shooting, a vast improvement over his 6.6 points on a lowly 45% shooting he put up just a few nights before.
NetsGC def. Bucks Gaming 2-1
What Went Right
Choc has quickly evolved from a high-volume point guard to a surefire double-double machine. NetsGC is never truly out of a game when its rookie point guard can consistently make the correct decision on the offensive end. The biggest moments are never too bright for Choc, who confidently hit a game-winning three despite having shot 0/4 from deep up to that point.
What Went Wrong
We really can’t fault Bucks Gaming too much for tonight’s results. They played a great game and pounced on the Nets early but weren’t able to consistently execute down the stretch. During critical moments in game one—which the Bucks will likely dissect during film sessions—and throughout the series, Milwaukee had issues with Nets center Shuttles. The big man consistently deterred drive attempts during pivotal moments of the game, which caused Milwaukee to rely on production from outside. When their outside shooting finally abandoned them in game three, there was no way for the Bucks to keep up.
X-Factor: Faster start
Brooklyn lost the first quarter in the opening two games of the series by a score of 23-16 and 23-11. And while the Nets were able to fight through that early adversity, it almost cost them the series. Had it not been for an epic game-winning buzzer beater from Choc, Brooklyn may have been swept. In game three, the Nets were able to finally win the opening frame, and when their eventual late push came, it was enough to put them firmly over the top.
Hawks Talon GC def. Magic Gaming 2-0
Magic Gaming played a really good first quarter of this series. In fact, they probably wished those six minutes would be accepted as the final result, but that’s just not how things work in the NBA 2K League. After winning the opening frame 24-13, Orlando’s offense proved stagnant, highlighted by their point guard’s struggles. Reizey never quite got it going last night, and without their reigning rookie of the year flourishing, Orlando lacks offensive firepower. ToXsiK turned in a pair of double-digit scoring performances, and May was solid as always, but last night wasn’t it for Magic Gaming.
“BP hasn’t beaten a team with his three-point shooting one time this season” could be heard from Magic Gaming’s side of communication (among other things) during last night’s broadcast. It’s almost as if somebody let BP know, as he went three-hunting in game two. In turn, he recorded 46 points on 12-for-21 shooting from three-point land. His backcourt mate Kel was solid all night, scoring 25+ in both contests, and Hawks Talon reminded us that they’re a team we need to remember when thinking about playoffs.
We referenced it above, but Kel averaged 27 points per game last night on an efficient 72% shooting. In fact, it took nearly three quarters for the former Magic Gaming sharp to miss his first shot. Kel belongs in the same conversation as Lotty, Malik, and other top shooting guards around this league due to his consistent performance this season.