By Kristian Cuaresma
For the fourth consecutive week, NetsGC will embark on another four-game grind, this time against Wizards District Gaming and Hawks Talon GC. Currently, NetsGC is tied with Heat Check Gaming for the most amount of regular season games played (12). In just two nights, Brooklyn will have already played more than half of its regular season games, intensifying the sense of urgency already consuming the NetsGC’s training facility at Barclays Center.
Wizards District Gaming Preview
SF: Just Awkward
Despite Wizards District Gaming currently holding down one of five playoff spots in the Eastern Conference, it decided to shuffle its lineup in game two of its matchup against Warriors Gaming Squad last week. There are lofty expectations that come with winning a championship, and the 14-point loss it suffered against Golden State (Washington’s most lopsided defeat this season) was enough to trigger a change.
The team moved Newdini from shooting guard to power forward, the position he excelled in during their championship run last season. Newdini would respond with a 23-point performance on a perfect 5-of-5 from deep. Wizards District Gaming Manager and Head Coach Patrick Crossan further relied on the team’s championship DNA and slid BRich – another member from last season’s team – at shooting guard.
While logic implies that Wizards District Gaming will go back to this lineup, it’s not entirely out of the question that rookie xoLebron is given another chance. Furthermore, unless the team is convinced that BRich can provide the scoring required out of the shooting guard position this year, Newdini will need further reps as the secondary scorer.
Player to Watch
Dayfri – 18.7 points, 8.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 1.7 steals, 2.0 blocks
While JBM determines Washington’s ceiling, its unwavering consistency is attributed to the play of emotional leader and superstar center Dayfri. The NBA 2K League veteran affects every facet of the game when he loads up and SlayIsland will likely have his hands full with trying to minimize Dayfri’s impact. Every center in the league is capable of putting up gaudy scoring and rebounding totals, but the elite tier of bigs have point guard-like vision and high-level defensive IQ. Dayfri has both of those qualities in spades.
Hawks Talon GC Preview
Like with Wizards District Gaming, there’s a level of uncertainty with Hawks Talon GC and its expected lineup. After starting the season 0-3, Hawks Talon GC reeled off five straight wins and appeared to be on the upswing. But after a lineup change that involved Lee moving out of the starting five, General Manager and Head Coach Wesley Acuff flexed Fakiee to center and brought Kel back in off the bench to play power forward (played at the two prior to being benched). The team then dropped a pair of games it did not expect to against Celtics Crossover Gaming.
Regardless of the lineup that steps onto the virtual court this week, Hawks Talon GC will be a challenging hurdle NetsGC must overcome if it plans to keep pace in an ever-evolving Eastern Conference playoff race. At 5-5, Atlanta is just one game behind Brooklyn for the final playoff spot and this matchup’s outcome could have tie-breaker ramifications.
Player to Watch
Fakiee – 11.0 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.4 blocks
Along with his point guard Ceez and perimeter lock Swann, Fakiee has played in all ten regular season games for Hawks Talon GC. However, keep an eye out for where the team slots him for this particular matchup. Despite the team going 0-2 against Celtics Crossover Gaming, Fakiee’s move to center resulted in an average stat line of 21 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists. If he lines up at center, it will be up to SlayIsland to try and contain Fakiee’s versatility.