Three Things: Another Close Finish Concludes Week One of THE SLAM

By Kristian Cuaresma

Here are three things to highlight from NetsGC’s 3-2 defeat to Wizards District Gaming.

Game 1: Wizards DG wins 23-20

Game 2: NetsGC wins 22-13

Game 3: Wizards DG wins 23-20

Game 4: NetsGC wins 21-18

Game 5: Wizards DG wins 22-7


1 – A Classic Possession Battle 

Against a back-to-back champion known for its gritty defense, there is very little room for error on the offensive end. By the end of the night’s best-of-five series, it became clear there was no room for error. In their three losses, NetsGC averaged five turnovers, and in their two wins, NetsGC gave the ball up zero times. Overall, Wizards District Gaming won the turnover battle 9-15. Wizards DG specialize in creating extra possessions through takeaways and offensive rebounds, and when paired with their grind-it-out defensive style, they wear down their opponents in a battle of attrition.

Washington also does a great job of weaponizing the psychological advantage that consecutive takeaways provide. Any time NetsGC tried to complete a comeback, pull ahead, or close the game out, Wizards DG took the ball away to kill any momentum. The most glaring example of this happened twice, during which Wizards DG swiped the ball away from Doc, leading to an uncontested layup or dunk the other way to end the game.


2 – The Elusive Close Out Bucket

Wizards DG deserved the series win, but NetsGC had several opportunities to secure the victory earlier in the night. In Games One and Three, NetsGC had 20 points but could not find the last basket to earn game point. After three matchups in Week One of THE SLAM, NetsGC has now reached 18 points in five of their seven losses. With games being a race to 21, Brooklyn needs to find a way to win a few more of these tight contests, or it risks the possibility of missing bracket play. It is one thing to get blown out and realize the other team was just better, but it is an entirely different thing to know an undefeated record was only a few possessions away.


3 – There’s Still Hope 

With Celtics Crossover Gaming defeating Dot Squad last night, NetsGC’s 1-2 record slots them into the third seed. With only two teams from each group qualifying for bracket play in Indianapolis, there is still hope for NetsGC to punch their ticket to the LAN, however, it will require Brooklyn to win its final three matchups. There is also a scenario in which NetsGC can get in with a 3-3 record, but they will need to get a win over Celtics Crossover Gaming or Wizards DG, while also relying on a bit of help from their division rivals.

Brooklyn can go one of two ways headed into Week Two – the team can either let these close defeats define their tournament run, or they can use it as a launchpad into THE SLAM playoffs.