By Kristian Cuaresma
NetsGC can clock out for the week resting easy after dismantling Celtics Crossover Gaming by scores of 92-73 and 85-70. This was the team’s second consecutive sweep and its third in five attempts. With the latest pair of wins, NetsGC improved to 11-7 and could move up to as high as fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings.
With Brooklyn consistently reinventing itself on a weekly basis, let’s switch gears with this recap and instead go over my three takeaways:
The Offense Has a Hidden Turbo Engine?
It’s common knowledge that NetsGC has a high-powered offense to go with an inconsistent defense and up to this point General Manager and Head Coach OG King Curt has tinkered with several lineups and archetype builds to remedy the issues.
Against Boston, we saw the latest wrinkle and it was to ramp up the offense to supernova levels. Moving Choc up top on defense allowed the team to play at a pace we had yet to see this season. After every turnover, missed shot and bricked free throw by Celtics Crossover Gaming, NetsGC emphasized running in transition. Shotz, SlayIsland and Faiz took turns playing quarterback as they sent deep ball after deep ball to their teammates.
This breakneck pace provided NetsGC with the benefit of reducing the amount of half court possessions it needed to deal with, while simultaneously putting pressure on Celtics Crossover Gaming to score on every possession.
Shotz Is So Good
While he’s been a steady force of nature for NetsGC all season, Shotz flipped a switch of his own last night on his way to an average of 29 points and 17 rebounds. The veteran is one of only two non-guards in the top 30 for scoring – tied with Hotshot of Heat Check Gaming at 20.3 – and is also top ten in the league for rebounds and field goal percentage.
On offense, there is an undeniable chemistry between him and Choc that stems from playing together in the offseason. And on the defensive side, he’s displayed a masterful understanding of concepts required from both the corner and in the pick and roll. NetsGC activated two team takeovers against Celtics Crossover Gaming, and it’s not a coincidence that it came on a night that Shotz reminded the league why he’s one of the best players in the world.
While Dante, the rookie lock, will likely tell you he still has a long way to go, credit to the team for blocking the outside noise and sticking to its beliefs. Despite a rough start to his career, which led to trips in and out of the lineup, Dante has shown growth over the last few weeks – a progression that has coincided with the team’s most successful stretch of the season.
Against Boston, Dante was a constant pest on the perimeter and registered seven total steals during the two-game set. For comparison, Dante had 11 steals in his 13 prior games. Celtics Crossover Gaming was on a three-game win streak entering its matchup against NetsGC, and a major reason for the team’s success was improved play from fellow rookie WalkingBucket. The Boston point guard had his most impressive performance of the season in their previous matchup against Hawks Talon GC, averaging 28.5 points. Against Brooklyn, WalkingBucket was held to an average of just 18.5 points while shooting a lowly 46 percent from the field. If Dante can continue to show improvement every week, NetsGC will find enough stops to support its firework offense.
With 18 games played, NetsGC will go on an extended break before participating in THE TURN, the NBA 2K League’s annual midway tournament. The team’s next regular season game will be on July 23 against Knicks Gaming.