The NBA 2K League playoff race is back in full swing after an exciting Turn Tournament, as two teams can clinch a playoff berth on Tuesday night and three other contestants in the five-game slate are in the thick of the race for the final playoff spots.
Hawks Talon GC (4-8) vs. Hornets Venom GT (7-4)
This week will prove to be the most important week of the season for Hornets Venom GT. Charlotte plays three times this week, and, with three wins, the team can virtually lock in a playoff spot in its inaugural season. It all starts with a Hawks Talon GC team that has experienced struggles during the second half of the season. Looking beyond the Hawks, Hornets Venom GT is also slated to play T-Wolves Gaming and the Gen.G Tigers of Shanghai.
With eight losses, Atlanta will likely have to win the Ticket in order to sneak into the playoffs. Their 2020 campaign was once promising. The BP trade seemed to be working out for both teams, as Kings Guard Gaming dominated the west coast and Hawks Talon GC started its season 3-1. All of sudden, however, things changed, and in recent weeks, we’ve seen a broken hand for the star point guard, a mysterious Kel benching, and a losing skid disrupt their season. Beating a successful Hornets Venom GT team could be the spark they’re looking for ahead of an easy end-of-season schedule.
Key Matchup: Lee vs. Zae
Zae vs. Lee down low will be a goodie. Zae has played center for less than half the season, since Type’s departure from the lineup, but you’d have to throw him up there with Hawks Talon’s Lee when you’re talking about top rookie centers. These two are the best, and tonight’s battle in the paint should reflect that.
Heat Check Gaming (4-8) vs. Celtics Crossover Gaming (1-11)
There isn’t much left for either of these teams to hold onto beyond the slim possibility of winning the Ticket Tournament. Tonight, Celtics Crossover Gaming and Heat Check Gaming will finally match up and continue to pile onto each other’s disappointing season-three campaigns.
Boston was last in action against Bucks Gaming in the opening round of the Turn, and just like the whole season, the Celtics were led by Fab and looked great in bursts. Boston actually held a four-point lead at halftime of game one, but that soon evaporated once the offense stalled and the Bucks’ own shots started falling. While we saw increased playmaking from No Autographs, the Celtics’ current roster just doesn’t have enough creativity and production, and it may get trickier tonight.
Heat Check Gaming was unable to contain the momentum of 76ers GC, falling 2-0 in their first round series. After dropping game one, the Heat’s decision to mimic the Sixers’ lineup produced a closer result, but Heat Check still ultimately lost the game. Miami looked like a different team in comparison to how they played against the Cavs just the week prior. After averaging 23.6 points, 4 steals, and more than 1 block per game in the Cleveland series, TBShiftay was relegated to being a role player.
Key Matchup: Celtics’ point guard vs. Heat perimeter defense
With the possibility of Fab not playing tonight and for the foreseeable future, we’re curious to see what the Celtics look like when they walk onto the court. Fab likely has the highest usage of any player in the league, so it’ll be interesting to see what Plan B is for Boston.
NetsGC (7-6) vs. Wizards District Gaming (10-2)
While the NetsGC and Wizards District Gaming are running in different races, both are chasing equally valuable playoff spots—and there isn’t much runway left. Brooklyn is in the thick of the race for one of the final playoff spots, while Washington is hot on Utah’s heels for the second seed.
The Nets didn’t look like the team we’ve been watching all season in the Turn. With nearly the entire roster playing in a different spot, it almost looked like Brooklyn was helping advertise NBA 2K20’s newest “Out of Position” MyTeam bundle. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to overcome the defending champions, whom the Nets beat in the regular season, and now the Nets are in “must-win” mode to close out the season.
Washington was once again possessions away from knocking Raptors Uprising GC off its season three throne. The Wizards know they can hang with any team in the league, and it’ll be fascinating to see how they handle their next string of games which include the Tigers, Blazers, and Sixers, a win over any one of which will clinch Washington’s second-ever playoff berth.
Key Matchup: Choc vs. JBM
While Choc put up numbers from the three spot, there’s a strong likelihood that he’s returned to point guard to lead the Nets offense. The Nets have a pair of playoff opponents to close out the season, and they’ll need to put the ball in Choc’s hands if they want to avoid the Ticket. For the Wizards, JBM has been on quite the journey in his rookie season. The No. 1 pick now confidently hunts for his outside shot, and when he’s hitting at a good clip, the Wizards are difficult to beat.
Knicks Gaming (6-7) vs. Kings Guard (9-4)
Knicks Gaming has an outside—yet realistic—shot at securing the final playoff spot, but the most difficult game of their push comes tonight when they take on Kings Guard Gaming. New York will likely have to overcome the mental challenges that comes with playing a team that swept you in a tournament just a few days ago, but there were some positives to take away from that series. After being obliterated in game one, the Knicks were able to push Sacramento to the limit in the following matchup.
While the Kings have likely already secured a playoff berth, barring some sort of collapse, they must also hurdle their own mental block of having let their series against the Raptors slip away. They’ll conveniently get another crack at Toronto tomorrow, but if they look too far ahead at their potential seeding, they could be surprised by the desperate Knicks.
Key Matchup: HazzaUK vs. Yusuf_Scarbz
New York went with a new center in HazzaUK and moved CantGuardRob to shooting guard, and while it took a game to get cooking, the international battle between Hazza and Yusuf was entertaining. The two had nearly identical stat lines in the more competitive second game of the series and it’ll be exciting to see their rematch tonight.
Warriors Gaming Squad (10-3) vs. T-Wolves Gaming (6-5)
This series is just the beginning of busy weeks for both sides of this matchup. Warriors Gaming Squad, coming off a heartbreaking loss in the Turn, has essentially already locked up its playoff spot. This series and this week as a whole will be used to solidify that spot and improve playoff seeding. While other matchups might be more of a softball series, T-Wolves Gaming won’t be an easy out.
As for playoff prospects, T-Wolves Gaming is right there in the middle of everything. Their week 11 will include at least two contests, and their toughest matchup is first up. BearDaBeast is rightfully back at point guard, and the lineup shuffling should be sidelined as this team was one fastbreak mistake away from pushing Raptors Uprising to three games during tournament play. Warriors Gaming Squad is one of the last teams I’d want to see on my schedule, as my team attempts to gear up for a playoff run, but it’s Minnesota’s reality.
Key Matchup: Gradient vs. BearDaBeast
There’s no question Gradient is a top lockdown defender in this league. His switch to the 2-way finisher archetype has only cemented that, as last year’s No. 2 overall pick has turned in quality performances series after series. Tonight, the WGS defender will have his hands full with last season’s Finals MVP, who eliminated the Warriors in the 2019 semifinals.