By Kristian Cuaresma
Here are five things to highlight from NetsGC’s 56-52 defeat to Heat Check Gaming.
1 – This One Hurts
Similar to the loss to Knicks Gaming, this game stung because NetsGC had a real chance to win. Despite trailing for a majority of the contest, NetsGC remained within striking distance from opening tip to the final whistle. Brooklyn led by five points – its largest and only lead of the night – at the end of three quarters. Unfortunately, the final quarter started with a made 3-pointer on a contested early release – a rarity in 2K – giving Miami all the momentum it needed. Down two in the winding seconds of the game, NetsGC tragically coughed the ball up in transition with the player advantage. The win was there to be had, but it slipped away in excruciating fashion.
2 – Our Strength Became a Liability
Entering the game, both NetsGC and Heat Check Gaming were amongst the best teams at taking care of the ball. Ironically, both teams were also great at taking the ball away. In the preview for this matchup, it was highlighted that whichever team would continue to build on its reputation would be in prime position to advance to the next round. Unfortunately, Tate was forced into a season worst six turnovers, a dramatic increase over his season average of 1.5 turnovers per game. Overall, Heat Check Gaming took the ball away 14 times. In five prior games during group play, the highest number of turnovers Brooklyn committed was five.
3 – The Silver Lining
As disappointing as the finish was, there are a few positive takeaways to come from NetsGC’s day one exit. The first being that this is the second example of NetsGC being able to withstand their struggles just enough to have a chance to win the game late in the fourth quarter. While it was Brooklyn’s offense compensating for its defensive issues last week against New York, this time it was the team’s defense accounting for the offense stalling. Another benefit is that this heartbreaker provided the team’s younger players with an experience to learn from. If this results in the team handling future LAN events differently, then this suddenly becomes a benchmark moment in NetsGC’s season.
4 – Leadership and Experience Is As Valuable As Ever
While the loss to Heat Check Gaming may end up being something the younger players can learn from, it was also just another day at the office for the team’s veterans. Five-year players Shotz and Steez were spectacular and accounted for 40 of the team’s 52 points. The duo would also combine for 15 rebounds, five steals and three blocks. Miami clearly schemed to take the ball out of Tate and Doc’s hands, but Shotz and Steez still had to navigate through a defense that was constantly rotating. Factoring in skill, experience and leadership qualities, it’s easy to argue that Shotz and Steez are one of the best frontcourt duos in the entire league.
5 – The Challenges of 3v3
The team will next set its eye on 3v3 play with the SLAM Open beginning on April 26. This will be the first time in the league’s history that a 3v3 format will be used, and the first time that amateurs go head-to-head against the professionals. As exciting as this inaugural journey through an unfamiliar landscape will be, it means the team will not compete in 5v5 until late May. NetsGC will be playing in 5v5 scrimmages, but not being able to compete in meaningful matches to get rid of the bitter taste in their mouths will be tough to deal with.