By Kristian Cuaresma
It was one of the greatest escape acts in NBA 2K League history.
With some sleight of hand, NetsGC took the ball away from Magic Gaming and crammed down a go-ahead dunk in the dying seconds of Game One, setting the stage for a closing act in Game Three that would see NetsGC defeat Orlando and advance to the second round of THE TURN.
Up next tonight is Hornets Venom GT, a pesky team spearheaded by a two-pronged attack at guard and backed by a balanced defense. Even when Charlotte struggles to string together productive offensive possessions, its defense can keep them in games, evident last night against New York.
In many ways, Hornets Venom GT provide similar problems that Magic Gaming did. Let’s take a closer look at NetsGC’s second round opponent.
Hornets Venom GT Expected Lineup
Players to Watch
Regular Season: 20.8 points, 4.1 assists, 1.4 steals, 51% FG, 48% 3P
THE TURN: 14.3 points, 4.3 assists, 2.3 steals, 42% FG, 39% 3P
Selected No. 8 overall in the 2021 NBA 2K League draft, rigby was one of the early favorites to be named Rookie of the Year. He has had an excellent start to his inaugural campaign and represents one half of Hornets Venom GT’s two-headed monster backcourt.
With point guard Sherm, the duo has averaged a combined 43.0 points this season and together are one of five backcourts – along with Pistons GT, Knicks Gaming, T-Wolves Gaming, Gen.G Tigers – in the top 30 in scoring. Unlike other secondary ball handlers, what makes rigby special is he also has tremendous playmaking ability.
Regular Season: 8.0 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.1 steals, 1.1 blocks, 66% 3P
THE TURN: 8.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.0 steals, 1.3 blocks, 44% 3P
After spending time on the bench, Crown made his return to the Hornets Venom GT starting lineup last night in the opening round of THE TURN, and it was as if he had never left. At the power forward position, Crown does a little bit of everything on both sides of the ball. Combined with his elite three-point shooting, he is an elite glue guy that most contenders have playing at the four position.
Crown is also capable of occasionally putting up serious points on the scorecard. He dropped 20 points against Atlanta in his team’s regular season opener and 22 points against Toronto on June 5. NetsGC will need to ensure that a violent swing in averages does not occur tonight.
Bridge to Victory?
Brooklyn will look to get off to a much quicker start tonight against Hornets Venom GT, if anything, to reduce the stress its fanbase experienced last night. During the best-of-three series against Magic Gaming, NetsGC finished -7 in first quarters and never once led at halftime.
While Hornets Venom GT also experienced struggles in its opening round matchup against Knicks Gaming, the team eventually found its groove by the end of the night. Brooklyn had its hands full with Reizey and Snubby, and it may have to deal with another headache in Charlotte’s backcourt tonight. If the lineup remains intact, Choc and Faiz will again be relied on to play excellent perimeter defense.
And as for lineups, Brooklyn unveiled yet another iteration of its roster last night. This time, the team had SlayIsland at shooting guard, Faiz at lock, and Legit at power forward. The ‘Mystery Box NetsGC’ is a real thing and opposing teams may not be ready for the surprises that come their way.