By Kristian Cuaresma
Here are five things to highlight from NetsGC’s 65-61 victory over the Gen.G Tigers.
1 – A Sleeping Giant
It is not often that an established superstar is sidelined for nearly a month in the NBA 2K League, but with the inclusion of 3v3 in this year’s format, that is what happened to Shotz. There is no doubt that Shotz could carve out a key role for the team in 3v3, but the mutual decision between the All-star and his teammates is more about capitalizing on the chemistry between Steez and Streetz in defending the pick-and-roll.
Last night, it did not take long for Shotz to make up for lost time. The NetsGC center finished with 19 points, 17 rebounds, and 3 blocks. On numerous occasions, Shotz stepped up when his team needed him the most. Whether it was earning his team second-chance opportunities or denying Gen G from scoring easy baskets, the big man flashed his knack for making big plays in pivotal moments. Shotz also finished the night shooting 9-for-10 from the field.
2 – An Elite Defense Goes a Long Way
Coming into the matchup, the Gen.G Tigers were averaging 5.4 turnovers per game. Despite the high usage of their explosive guards, OTTR and ReturnOfDJ are great at taking care of the ball. Between the Tigers’ ball security and NetsGC’s suffocating defense, something had to give. Fortunately for Brooklyn, Gen.G coughed the ball up nine times, the most giveaways they have had since their 14 turnovers against Heat Check Gaming back on April 6. NetsGC finished with six steals and six blocks, and ultimately needed every stop considering how close this game was down the stretch.
3 – A Fourth Quarter to Forget
After three quarters, NetsGC led 53-38 and looked primed for a landslide victory. Unfortunately, the momentum they built did not carry over into the final frame, with Gen.G rallying until the final minute. The Tigers’ 23-12 fourth quarter push was inspired by a defensive adjustment that moved power forward BxmpyDon out of the corner and on the perimeter. The sophomore had been drafted last year as a lockdown and those skills were on display.. His three steals in the final five minutes quickly put NetsGC on their heels for the remainder of the game.
4 – A Flair for Dramatics
In many ways for King Haad, this game was reminiscent of Brooklyn’s last 5v5 contest against New York. The rookie was struggling with his jump shot and had only seven points on 25 percent shooting headed into the fourth. With the game on the line in the closing minutes, King Haad would knock down a wing-three after getting his defender to leave his feet before calmly sinking a fadeaway midrange jumper late in the clock on the ensuing possession. From there, his confidence grew and led him to one final moment in the spotlight. Similarly to his performance against Knicks Gaming, King Haad hit a dagger three from the top of the arc to put NetsGC up six points with 30 seconds left. Fans have to give young point guard credit for his short memory and never shying away from the big moment.
5 – A Promising Debut
Jyden has been electric since arriving in Brooklyn, evident by his incredible performance in the last 3v3 tournament. Regardless, the trade to bring Jyden in was always going to be judged based on what he could do in 5v5. The NetsGC defense has desperately required offensive firepower to take advantage of the stops it was getting. Last night, Jyden lived up to the billing, scoring 19 points and dishing out six assists. His 19 points tied Shotz’s total for the team-high, but Jyden impressively accomplished this on just nine shots. His shot attempt total was only the third highest on the team. If Jyden can keep this up, he may finally unlock another gear that NetsGC has been searching for.