By: Kristian Cuaresma
After suffering its first winless night of the season, NetsGC responded with an important sweep, this time taking care of business against Hawks Talon GC. With Atlanta entering the evening at 5-5 and on Brooklyn’s heels for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, this was a crucial matchup for both teams. NetsGC have now played 16 regular season games, currently the most out of any team in the NBA 2K League. The team’s 9-7 record is still good enough for fifth in the conference and will momentarily keep several opposing teams at arm’s reach.
GAME ONE RECAP
Despite the success the team has seen with its latest double lock lineup, NetsGC decided to go back to the roster construction it began the season with. With Faiz moving back to sharp and Dante assuming full time responsibilities as the team’s sole lock, NetsGC made it clear from the opening tip that it wanted to test its opponent’s scoring output.
Meanwhile for Hawks Talon GC, the team made a tweak of its own, moving back to the starting lineup that won five consecutive games prior to last week. With that lineup averaging 77 points a game during that winning streak, NetsGC would need to score close to 80 points barring an unexpected offensive uptick from its opponent. NetsGC got off to a great start, throwing 23 points up on the scoreboard by the end of the opening quarter.
The team also continued to get contributions from Dante, who finished with a cool 15 points while shooting perfect from beyond the arc. In his first seven regular season games, the rookie averaged 5.7 points and had never finished in double digit scoring. He has now scored at least 10 points in five of his last six games.
In the fourth quarter, Hawks Talon GC’s BP would throw down a dunk to bring his team within two points. With momentum there for either team to take, NetsGC big man Shotz corralled an offensive rebound and followed it up with a nasty dunk for the hoop and the harm. This would be the beginning of a stretch for Shotz during which he would score nine straight points to keep NetsGC in the lead. A late corner three from SlayIsland would ice it.
Outcome: NetsGC wins 79-70
GAME TWO RECAP
The second game saw SlayIsland’s hot hand continue as he sunk an early corner three. After experiencing the disappointment of not being drafted back into the league last season, SlayIsland has experienced a rebirth at power forward this year. Furthermore, he has continued to improve with further reps at the four spot, particularly on the offensive end. SlayIsland averaged 19.5 points on 12 attempts through last night’s two game-set. Entering the matchup, SlayIsland was averaging just 7.2 points on a mere 4.6 attempts.
After dishing out 22 assists in game one, Choc continued to quarterback his teammates on offense. While the dynamic guard is used to taking on more volume, Choc had no qualms with taking a back seat and didn’t score his first two points until the 2:50 mark of the second quarter. Despite this, his team led by eight at halftime.
Hawks Talon GC did not go away quietly, led by a persistent attack spearheaded by its point guard Ceez. The rookie averaged nearly 38 points last night, with his offense seemingly materializing from anywhere on the court.
In the fourth quarter, NetsGC would turn it up on both ends. First, the team would force Atlanta into a 24-second shot clock violation to begin the quarter. And then Choc would activate his playmaking takeover and turn that boost into two consecutive threes of his own followed by another corner three from SlayIsland. NetsGC would ride that confidence until the final buzzer and conclude the night with one of its most complete performances of the year.
Outcome: NetsGC wins 81-68