It was a landmark week for NetsGC in its ongoing quest for the franchise’s first postseason appearance, after taking down Bucks Gaming and Pacers Gaming to improve to 7-4 on the season and boost its playoff odds.
The week started on Monday with news that Choc had been named the NBA 2K League’s Player of the Month for June. He would justify the honor with two instant classic moments that will likely go down in league history.
It wasn’t an auspicious start for Brooklyn on Tuesday. Bucks Gaming, who came into the series tied for eighth place with NetsGC at 5-4, looked ready for the challenge, building an early lead in game one on the back of Regg. The point guard scored 13 of Milwaukee’s first 23 points, and a 23-16 first-quarter lead soon expanded to a 41-28 halftime lead.
It was all Brooklyn in the third quarter, however, thanks to stingy defense leading to transition buckets. The 13-point Bucks Gaming lead was reduced to just a 54-52 advantage by the end of the third quarter, though it looked as if they would pull away again at the start of the fourth before NetsGC climbed back in it.
The crucial sequence came with just 18 seconds left in the game with Brooklyn down by one. After stopping Bucks Gaming on the other end, NetsGC called timeout and ran a play for Choc to cut to the basket, where he greened a layup to give Brooklyn a 68-67 lead with just 9.3 seconds to go.
Milwaukee responded with their own play out of a timeout, as Plondo dished the ball to Arooks, who pump-faked once from the free throw line before finally putting up a shot that would go in with only 2.2 on the clock.
It would’ve been the game-winner for Bucks Gaming with a score of 68-69, until on the final possession when Choc took the inbound pass from just next to the hash mark and greened a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give Brooklyn a wild 71-69 game one win.
— Wizards DG Fan Club (@NetsGamingCrew) July 8, 2020
Game two was a comedown for NetsGC, after again falling behind to Bucks Gaming 23-11 after the first quarter. Brooklyn was hardly able to cut into the lead in the second quarter, heading into halftime down by 11.
NetsGC mounted a small comeback in the second half, closing the gap a couple of times thanks to solid work by Choc and Randomz, who ended the game with 26 and 22 points, respectively, but Bucks Gaming wouldn’t allow Brooklyn to get closer than seven points within the lead, eventually taking game two due to a balanced scoring effort, 74-67.
In game three, Brooklyn took a lead for the first time in the series during the second quarter with a 15-14 advantage after six minutes. The game was just as close by the end of the first half, with NetsGC still hanging onto a slim margin, 31-28. Both teams’ defenses were the culprit for the low-scoring affair.
The game broke open in the third quarter thanks to the excellent efforts of Shuttles, who finished with a monstrous 19 points, 21 rebounds, 6 blocks, 3 assists and 3 steals on just 7-for-9 shooting. An early run capped off by a Choc 3-pointer extended the Brooklyn lead to 49-33, and Milwaukee never offered a threat of coming back. NetsGC continued to pile on, eventually winning the series-decider 74-61 and improving to 6-4.
— NBA2KLeague (@NBA2KLeague) July 8, 2020
Choc and Shuttles worked in perfect harmony throughout the series, each recording a double-double in all three games. Shuttles’ presence on the defensive end was felt, recording 17 blocks overall including an 8-block effort in game one. As a team, the NetsGC defense contained Regg enough to help ensure the series win and held him to just 18 points in game two, his second-lowest single-game mark of the season.
On Wednesday, game one started slowly for Brooklyn against a new-look Pacers Gaming team. With third-year veteran Jomar manning the point guard position, his first start of the season at the 1, Indiana was able to take advantage of an early lead, eventually reaching a score of 30-15 midway through the second quarter when connection issues forced a restart.
The resumption of play wasn’t much kinder to Brooklyn. Jomar notched 23 points and 10 assists in his point guard debut, and Swizurk added another 20 points at power forward, as Pacers Gaming took an easy 80-55 win in the first game of the series.
In game two, NetsGC came out with a new look of its own. Wavy, at power forward for game one, was moved to shooting guard, with Randomz sliding down to center and Shuttles manning the 4 spot to guard Swizurk.
— Wizards DG Fan Club (@NetsGamingCrew) July 9, 2020
The adjustment made for a closer game in the first half. Though NetsGC appeared to take some time to get used to the new setup, Randomz and Wavy led the way at their new positions, the latter greening a few 3-pointers from the corner to help build a Brooklyn lead before a Choc 3-pointer—part of his 16 first-half points—helped create a 43-35 halftime advantage for NetsGC.
Pacers Gaming kept the game close, not allowing Brooklyn to separate itself any further and eventually taking the lead as the third quarter continued. The game stayed close into the waning minutes of the fourth quarter, until a game reset added yet more tension to the proceedings with Indiana up by only two points.
The tides turned with just a minute and a half remaining in the game. Choc worked his way around the Pacers Gaming defense into the corner where he found himself wide open, draining a 3-pointer to tie the game at 65-65. Another Choc bucket along the baseline with a little over 40 seconds left gave Brooklyn another lead at 69-67.
Indiana was able to answer, giving NetsGC the final possession tied at 69-69. After using its remaining timeouts to discuss the final play, Choc slipped by the Pacers Gaming defense and got a layup through multiple Indiana defenders for the buzzer-beating, game-winning basket—his second of the week—to extend the series to three games.
Brooklyn reverted to their game one lineup for the winner-take-all game three, getting out to a 23-15 lead at the end of the first quarter, capped by three straight green 3-pointers from Chess, Choc and Wavy.
Pacers Gaming did well to climb back in the game in the second quarter, slowly chipping away at the Brooklyn lead until it finally led the game at 34-32 with a little over a minute left in the half. The lead would stick heading into the break at 40-37 in favor of Indiana.
They would slowly but surely expand the lead in the third quarter, going up by as much as 10 points, but NetsGC clawed back into it as the frame winded down. Brooklyn closed down the Indiana advantage and even took the lead for a brief moment before a late Jomar bucket helped Pacers Gaming reclaim its advantage, heading into the final quarter up 58-57.
Neither team could do anything to separate itself in the first few minutes of the fourth quarter. Both sides traded leads as the clock wound down to the final minute, with Choc finally getting back-to-back buckets to give NetsGC a 73-70 lead. Pacers Gaming immediately answered with a Swizurk 3-pointer to tie, but on the next possession, Shuttles grabbed an offensive board and slammed it home with only a few seconds remaining, and Randomz secured the win with a fast-break dunk to give Brooklyn a wild 2-1 series win, 77-73.
Both Choc and Shuttles again showed up clutch in the series clincher. The former put up 31 points and 13 assists while the latter had 24 points, 13 rebounds, 4 blocks and 3 steals.
The results helped Brooklyn separate itself from the bubble in the league playoff race, now tied with Hornets Venom GT for seventh place and just above T-Wolves Gaming who sit in the ninth and final automatic playoff spot as of July 9.
“We had a chance this week to come out and control our own destiny by positioning ourselves for a better chance at the postseason,” said NetsGC Assistant General Manager Wael Ankouni. “We couldn’t be more proud of the team for going 2-0 against two very tough opponents.”
NetsGC will gear up for two more crucial series in Week Ten, first taking on 76ers GC at 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday, July 14, then facing off against Grizz Gaming at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 15. Both games can be watched on the NBA 2K League’s Twitch and YouTube channels.