By Kristian Cuaresma
Here are three things to highlight from NetsGC’s 3-1 victory over Hawks Talon GC.
Game 1: NetsGC wins 23-17
Game 2: Hawks Talon GC wins 21-14
Game 3: NetsGC wins 23-19
Game 4: NetsGC wins 22-19
1 – He Runs These Streets
An argument can be made that Streetz was the series MVP. Drafted 41st overall in the 2022 NBA 2K League draft, the rookie lockdown has had his fair share of highs and lows. In THE TIPOFF, he was spectacular and quickly proved several teams wrong for passing on him. Unfortunately, his offensive skill set did not transfer to the next 5v5 tournament in THE TURN as he saw his scoring and percentages drop across the board. During 3v3 competitions, Streetz had his moments, but his impact was either negated by the open playstyle or due to his own inability to produce.
Last night, that dramatically changed as he had his best night as a professional. Streetz finished the series averaging 6.0 points, 1.3 steals, and 0.5 blocks while shooting 83 percent from the field and 80 percent from deep. In a tight four-game series, Streetz saved his best for last. He bailed out his teammates on numerous occasions, either by scoring key buckets to swing momentum back or getting timely defensive stops to keep NetsGC within striking distance. It was only fitting that he also got the final stop and the game winner.
2 – A Memorable Debut
When NetsGC traded Doc and a 2023 second-round pick to Cavs Legion GC for Jyden and a 2023 first-round pick, some analysts believed that it was the team’s attempt at focusing on the future. However, for at least one night, the move represents the latest push at reviving Brooklyn’s Season Five hopes. The rookie point guard was tremendous in his NetsGC debut and averaged 11.8 points and 3.0 assists while shooting 58 percent from the perimeter. During his tenure in Cleveland, he had averaged 9.9 points, 3.2 assists on 54 percent shooting from outside. This is who he is and NetsGC reaped the benefits last night.
Equally impressive, Jyden also kept his turnovers down despite his usage rate. Unlike other teams, NetsGC does not abide by the double ball-handler strategy, and that usually means the lead guard is prone to low percentages or high turnovers. However, Jyden demonstrated an unusual sense of calm more likely found in a league veteran. He took what the defense gave him and played it safe, but when the moment called for him to create something out of thin air, the rookie answered the call. He made split-second decisions under pressure, found his teammates, and hit dagger threes. So far, the early returns on the trade are promising.
3 – The Defense Was Everything
Hawks Talon GC is considered a top 3v3 team based on their performance in THE SLAM, in which they dominated group play and went on a respectable run in bracket play. While they dropped their matchup to Grizz Gaming in six games, it was comforting for Hawks Talon GC fans to know that the team that knocked them out would go on to give the eventual champions a competitive six-game series as well.
It all begins and ends with Ceez, who is one of the most talented scorers in the league. He was very familiar with the NetsGC defense after dropping 31 points on 11 made shots back in late May during THE TURN. However, last night was a different story. While the sophomore sniper lived up to his billing as an elite bucket-getter, Ceez struggled to keep the ball safe. Entering last night’s matchup, he was averaging just 0.6 turnovers a game. In the four games against Brooklyn, he doubled that with 1.3 turnovers per game. In the series clincher, NetsGC also forced Ceez to cough up the ball three times, which tied his 3v3 career-low.