NBA 2K League playoffs open with pair of upsets

Ahmed "Mel East" Kasana celebrating an NBA 2K League playoff win

The NBA 2K League playoffs kicked off with a pair of upset sweeps Wednesday night. Warriors Gaming Squad, the lowest-seeded team in the playoffs, shocked the regular-season champion Blazer5 Gaming. The rivalry between Mavs Gaming and Celtics Crossover Gaming ended with the Celtics celebrating on stage to close out the night.

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The two sides advance to the semifinals where they await the results of the other two quarterfinals matchups Thursday night.

No. 1 Blazer5 Gaming vs. No. 8 Warriors Gaming Squad

Where the NBA 2K League playoffs differ from the regular season most is that the best “teams” will move on, no matter the individual star power. Blazer5 Gaming found this out the hard way Wednesday night.

Game 1

Warriors Gaming Squad showed no nerves as they faced the top team in the playoffs. In the first quarter, the Warriors jumped out to a commanding 28-7 lead. The first half defense from Warriors Gaming Squad shut down Blazer5 Gaming and left the Portland crew searching for answers on offense. Warriors held a 42-18 lead going into halftime.

The second half was more even between the two sides, but Warriors Gaming Squad’s lead was too much for Blazer5. Blazer5 Gaming outscored the Warriors in the second half, 27-25. Even so, the first game of the 2019 NBA 2K League playoffs ended with an upset victory for Warriors Gaming Squad, 67-45.

Xavier “Type” Vescovi dominated from the tip for Warriors Gaming Squad and finished with 20 rebounds and 12 points. Jin “Jin” Choe recorded a game-high 20 points. Blazer5’s duo of Nidal “Mama Im Dat Man” Nasser and Dayne “OneWildWalnut” Downey finished with 16 points each, but the rest of the team only contributed 13 points.

Game 2

Game 2 provided more offense for Blazer5 Gaming from Nasser and Downey, but the same output from the rest of the team. The other three starters totaled seven points for the game.

It was a tight matchup in the first half. Warriors Gaming Squad carried a two-point lead into halftime, but it was anyone’s game. The third quarter saw the Warriors begin to build the lead, and Blazer5 was running out of time. Blazer5 Gaming produced its best offensive quarter of the night in the fourth. Unfortunately for the Portland group, the Warriors matched them basket for basket. Warriors Gaming Squad secured the win and a trip to the semifinals with a 61-55 win.

Vescovi registered another double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds to help the Warriors continue on in the playoffs. Alexander “Bsmoove” Reese matched Vescovi with 16 points for Warriors Gaming Squad.

No. 2 Mavs Gaming vs. No. 7 Celtics Crossover Gaming

The second matchup of the night was always going to be a heated one. Despite the sweep, both games contained plenty of drama for NBA 2K League fans.

Game 1

The rivalry between Mavs Gaming and Celtics Crossover Gaming started with both teams animated on stage. The Celtics jumped out to an early league in the first quarter and carried that momentum in the second quarter to go up into halftime, 33-26. It was a surprising score, with Alexander “ProFusion” Snowden being held scoreless in the first half.

Mavs Gaming came out strong in the second half and eventually brought the game to one possession. Despite squandering the lead, the Celtics turned the momentum around late in the quarter to produce another seven-point lead at the end of the third. Celtics Crossover pulled to a double-digit lead in the fourth and cruised to a 63-55 victory.

The loss stemmed from a poor game from Artreyo “Dimez” Boyd. The point guard finished with just seven points on 3-for-9 shooting and five turnovers. Albano “oFAB” Thomallari picked up the offense for the Celtics with a game-high 22 points and 11 assists.

Game 2

The second game between the two sides went back-and-forth for the first three quarters. Neither team could produce a run large enough to put away the game. The two teams entered the fourth quarter separated by one point.

In the fourth quarter, Celtics Crossover Gaming changed the narrative. The Boston squad built its lead as the fourth quarter went on, leaving Mavs Gaming without answers. A 26-10 final frame gave Celtics Crossover Gaming the win, 68-53, and a spot in the semifinals.

Thomallari closed his night with game-highs in points (24) and assists (14). Terry “NO xAUTOGRAPHSx” Jackson helped the Celtics with a double-double of his own of 18 points and 14 rebounds.

The NBA 2K League playoffs continue Thursday with Pacers Gaming versus 76ers GC and Kings Guard Gaming playing T-Wolves Gaming. Stay tuned to Daily Esports for daily recaps of the NBA 2K League playoffs.


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