By Kristian Cuaresma
It was a tale of two games, with NetsGC splitting its matchup for the third consecutive time. With 76ers GC being the first of two Eastern Conference opponents slated for this week, Brooklyn had hoped it could create separation between itself and the .500 mark. Despite the team getting off to a hot start and securing the first game, Philadelphia made the necessary adjustments and confidently took game two.
NetsGC unveiled yet another starting lineup, this time making a dramatic shift in roster construction by going with double locks featuring two perimeter defense-oriented player builds – willingly sacrificing offensive firepower. With its shaky defense being a point of discussion last week, it made sense NetsGC would adopt this kind of strategy.
The most glaring difference in the NetsGC attack was the additional workload that point guard Choc had to take on. With his backcourt partner Faiz not able to reach into his normal bag of moves, Choc’s usage rate spiked to a season high. Averaging 16.5 shots headed into last night’s game, the sophomore star finished game one with 23 attempts. Early on, Choc caught fire and was extremely close to a team takeover before ultimately settling for his own takeover badges. Choc also received plenty of support, with SlayIsland sinking consecutive threes out of the corner in the second frame, and Shotz controlling the glass on both sides of the court.
It was more of the same in the second half, with SlayIsland playing sound defense on former MVP OneWildWalnut, which often led to plays such as a fast break layup by Shotz. NetsGC’s transition game was a point of emphasis and was perfectly highlighted when Legit and SlayIsland worked together to defend a pick and roll sequence which then led to a fast break dunk.
NetsGC went through a scoring drought in the fourth, but the team was able to keep 76ers GC at bay, capped off by a big corner three from SlayIsland with under a minute to go. 76ers GC had been clawing its way back into the game, but the aforementioned three would put NetsGC up 69-61, and the team would not look back from that point on.
Outcome: NetsGC wins 74-65
In the rematch, 76ers GC got off to a better start, beginning the game on a 9-2 run and forcing NetsGC into an early timeout. Philadelphia’s defense was swarming from the opening tip, forcing Choc into uncharacteristic turnovers, and limiting open looks on the perimeter. Brooklyn began the game shooting 1 of 6 from the field, including 0 of 3 from outside.
Similar to game one, NetsGC focused on running in transition, seeking out as many easy scoring opportunities as possible. However, this approach was compromised by the numerous turnovers on offense and inability to get stops on the defensive end.
One major adjustment from 76ers GC was its goal to get its role players going, with the trio of UnderRatedGoat, Caliraq, and Steez combining for 39 points on 74% shooting. Philadelphia power forward Steez was especially impressive, knocking down several outside shots and playing as a safety on the weak side on his way to a stat line of 18 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals.
Outcome: 76ers GC wins 90-59
NetsGC will play in the NBA 2K League’s official Game of the Week tonight at 9:00 p.m. (EST).