NetsGC hit the hardwood for the first time in 2020 for the NBA 2K League Spring 16 tournament, dropping the opening round to 76ers GC on Friday in a best-of-three series.
Brooklyn trotted out a lineup of Choc, Randomz, Wavy, Potts and Shuttles against the season two finalists, which ran its standard lineup with just USERPICK replacing the since-departed Newdini for the exhibition competition that involved 16 of the league’s teams.
NetsGC did well to stay ahead of 76ers GC for most of the first quarter, thanks to unselfish team play that got most of the members involved, but closed the opening period down 18-17 after Radiant scored 16 of Philadelphia’s points. 76ers GC continued to ride stellar guard play through the end of the half, getting Scretty involved on a few buckets and hitting USERPICK for a timely 3-pointer.
Brooklyn stayed in it with just a 38-32 halftime deficit on the back of 13 points from Choc along with 8 points from Potts, including back-to-back 3-pointers from the power forward, while Shuttles cleaned the boards with 8 rebounds to go along with 2 blocks.
The team looked invigorated still on offense to start the second half, mostly through the pick and roll duo of Choc and Shuttles. Choc worked his teammate’s screen to set himself up with a greened 3-pointer, then found Shuttles on the next possession for an alley-oop bucket. The big man kept his presence known on the glass, grabbing another offensive rebound soon after, leading to a basket for himself.
But Radiant was nearly unstoppable. The season two MVP candidate and his longtime teammate Steez used their pick and roll chemistry to run through the Brooklyn defense, wreaking havoc down low and scoring buckets in bunches. NetsGC spread the ball around well and got every teammate involved, but the 76ers GC point guard proved to be too much–going for 50 points on 21-for-34 shooting–in a narrow 74-71 game one loss for Brooklyn.
Four NetsGC players hit double-digit scoring, led by Choc with 33 points to go along with 7 assists. Shuttles ended an outstanding performance with 13 points, 17 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 assists and a steal. Potts and Randomz scored 11 and 10 points, respectively, with Randomz also chipping in 3 steals as a lockdown defender.
Brooklyn got off to another good start in game two of the series, this time on home court, by staying active on defense and forcing 76ers GC into bad shots and turnovers. The defensive effort, along with some more team-oriented offensive play which allowed Choc to slice through the opposition, gave NetsGC a 15-12 lead after the opening frame.
The second quarter was as close as any in the series. 76ers GC responded to Brooklyn’s first-quarter pressure by immediately getting a Radiant basket and a USERPICK steal-and-score to retake the lead at the start.
It was back-and-forth through the quarter from there. Both teams relied on their pick and roll game, paired with a number of turnovers from both sides, to trade baskets and end the half with a close 30-29 advantage for NetsGC. Shuttles’ dominance on the boards throughout the series was especially highlighted with a sequence where he grabbed two offensive rebounds over Steez and laid up for a score.
The third quarter played out much the same way as the second. Neither team could find a way to separate itself from the other. Choc and Shuttles were the centerpieces of the NetsGC offense, each carrying the load for the team’s production. Choc had 5 points to go alone with 4 assists, while Shuttles secured his second double-double of the series midway through the frame. The frantic quarter ended with a slight 51-49 lead in favor of 76ers GC.
Brooklyn erased the small deficit immediately at the start of the fourth quarter with a deep Wavy 3-pointer, but it would be the last lead NetsGC would hold for the rest of the game. Scretty answered with a 3-pointer of his own, and two straight transition baskets by 76ers GC were the start of a 26-10 fourth-quarter advantage for Philly, as NetsGC couldn’t keep up with the opposing team’s fast-break offense. The breakout quarter gave 76ers GC the 77-59 victory and 2-0 series win to advance to the next round.
Choc and Shuttles led the way with 19 points each, the former also dropping 10 assists and the latter grabbing 14 rebounds to go along with 3 blocks and 2 steals on the game. Wavy was next up for Brooklyn with a 10-point effort.
NetsGC 71-74 76ers GC
NetsGC 59-77 76ers GC