By Kristian Cuaresma
It has been 70 days since Nets Gaming Crew last played on stage in Indianapolis. While 5v5 is not involved, the team will finally play in front of a live audience in the bracket round of THE SWITCH.
NetsGC’s 4-2 record in group play secured them the second seed in a competitive race. Their group consisted of Grizz Gaming and Hawks Talon, two teams that went on a deep run in the previous 3v3 tournament. Brooklyn faltered at the finish line but a clean sweep of their group in week one served as the perfect safety net.
Standing in the way of their first bracket round win is the Warriors Gaming Squad. Like NetsGC, this is the first time they have advanced past group play in a 3v3 tournament. Golden State clinched first place in their group with a 5-1 record while earning victories against Cavs Legion GC, Lakers Gaming, and Dot Squad.
Warriors Gaming Squad’s Lineup
CB13 – 9.2 points, 3.8 assists, 0.9 turnovers, 53% field-goal, 45% three-point
When Warriors Gaming Squad traded guard ANTOINE for Mama Im Dat Man, they also gambled with a 3v3 formula that produced results. After a short stint against Lakers Gaming during which Warriors Gaming Squad was swept, the team pivoted from Mama Im Dat Man and their double ball-handler strategy. Golden State moved CB13 to lead guard and flanked him with forwards Gradient and Hezi. The change resulted in Warriors Gaming Squad going 2-0 to close out group play.
Hezi – 6.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.6 steals, 75% three-point
No one benefited more from the ANTOINE trade and the short-lived Mama Im Dat Man 3v3 experiment than Hezi. In week one of group play, he watched from the bench as his team went undefeated. After the loss to Lakers Gaming to begin week two, Hezi was inserted in the lineup and quickly made his presence felt. Despite a low volume of attempts, he has been elite from deep and has stuffed the rest of the 3v3 stat sheet.
Tonight’s winner between NetsGC and Warriors Gaming Squad is guaranteed $7,500. With a victory, this would be the first time in Season Five that Brooklyn has finished in the money rounds. Both teams are also trying to recover from a poor tournament run in THE SLAM, and a win would allow them to make up additional points in the standings. NetsGC and Warriors Gaming Squads are currently seventh in their respective conferences.
It will be interesting to see how Warriors Gaming Squad reacts to potentially falling behind in the series. While it is more likely that they stick with the lineup of CB13, Gradient, and Hezi, they also have the option of going back to their two-guard system. If Golden State has been working on integrating Mama Im Dat Man behind-the-scenes, it will put CB13 back in a role he statistically thrived in.