A grueling 12-week regular season in the NBA 2K League saw eight teams rise from the crowd for a spot to compete this week in the league’s 2019 postseason. Wednesday marks the first day of quarterfinals action, with top seed Blazer5 Gaming facing Warriors Gaming Squad and Mavs Gaming taking on Celtics Crossover Gaming.
FROM 21 DOWN TO 8!
Ladies and gentlemen, your 2019 NBA 2K League Playoffs🏆 pic.twitter.com/UPji61VooB
— NBA 2K League (@NBA2KLeague) July 20, 2019
The eight playoff teams compete between Wednesday and Thursday, July 24-25, in the quarterfinals for a chance to play on Friday, July 26, in the semifinals. Each quarterfinal matchup is a best-of-three series, alternating time on stage by the hour. The semifinals will follow the same format on Friday. The NBA 2K League championship will take place on Saturday, August 3 in a best-of-5 series.
No. 1 Blazer5 Gaming vs. No. 8 Warriors Gaming Squad
Wednesday – Game 1 at 5:00 p.m. ET, Game 2 at 7:00 p.m., Game 3 (if necessary) at 9:00 p.m.
When these two teams met in the regular season, it was in week two — a very different time. Warriors Gaming Squad was one of the most hyped teams coming into the league. Blazer5 Gaming started its redemption tour to earn the top spot in the league after last season’s early exit.
In the game, Blazer5 jumped out to a seven-point lead at halftime and never surrendered it. Alexander “Bsmoove” Reese kept Warriors Gaming Squad around with his 19 points, but the team play of Blazer5 was too much. The Portland squad walked away with a 64-53 win.
Warriors Gaming Squad lived up to the hype and eventually won The Ticket Tournament to earn the first playoff berth of the season. Blazer5 Gaming claimed the regular-season title and was the polar opposite to the Warriors down the stretch. Warriors Gaming Squad let off the gas after winning the auto-bid into the playoffs, while Blazer5 Gaming did not falter until the final week.
On Wednesday, the two teams open playoff competition. It’s hard to imagine Portland giving up one game, let alone two. Blazer5 Gaming has had its issues in tournament formats this year, but the playoffs are a different beast.
Prediction: A redemption-fueled Blazer5 Gaming advances 2-0
No. 2 Mavs Gaming vs. No. 7 Celtics Crossover Gaming
Wednesday – Game 1 at 6:00 p.m., Game 2 at 8:00 p.m., Game 3 (if necessary) at TBD
Mavs Gaming and Celtics Crossover Gaming had two completely different paths to get to this point. The Dallas squad was arguably the best team in the league for over half the season. A loss to Blazer5 eventually ended that argument and slipped Mavs Gaming into the second spot. Celtics Crossover Gaming spent most of its season outside of the postseason picture. A strong second-half run led Boston from the bottom part of the league to qualification.
The two teams met in week nine, and a poor first half doomed Mavs Gaming before the game even hit halftime. Alexander “ProFusion” Snowden was unstoppable for the Celtics, posting 30 points in the 81-58 victory. Mavs Gaming’s Artreyo “Dimez” Boyd led the team with 18 points but also recorded seven turnovers.
On Wednesday, the two teams meet again, and things are shaping up for a different result. Boyd has led this Mavs Gaming team through some tough situations, while Snowden will not be expected to put up the same numbers.
Prediction: Despite the seedings, this series will be a close one, with Celtics Crossover Gaming taking it in game three with the deeper squad.
No. 3 76ers GC vs. No. 6 Pacers Gaming
Thursday – Game 1 at 5:00 p.m. EST, Game 2 at 7:00 p.m., Game 3 (if necessary) at 9:00 p.m.
This will be the third time these two teams have met in a little over a month. The two sides split during that timeframe, with 76ers GC winning the latest meeting, 71-55, in week 11.
Two drastically different playstyles between these two clubs offer an exciting matchup for Thursday night. 76ers GC likes to put the game into point guard Ethan “Radiant” White’s hands. White is fourth in the league with 20.0 points per game and is the catalyst to the team’s success. Pacers Gaming’s point guard Nick “Swizurk” Grech leads the team in points, but Pacers Gaming succeeds best when Ramo “Ramo” Radoncic is dominating the inside.
This could be the most exciting series of the quarterfinals if both teams play up to their potential. White has the potential to completely take over a game, while Pacers Gaming has a solid duo to run inside and out.
Prediction: 76ers GC pulls out the win behind White’s performances after going to a game three.
No. 4 T-Wolves Gaming vs. No. 5 Kings Guard Gaming
Thursday – Game 1 at 6:00 p.m., Game 2 at 8:00 p.m., Game 3 (if necessary) at TBD
The final playoff matchup of the quarterfinals features one of the hottest teams in the league with T-Wolves Gaming facing the biggest surprise of the season, Kings Guard Gaming. T-Wolves Gaming comes into Thursday with a league-best seven-game win streak, which it used to propel itself into the four seed. Kings Guard Gaming shocked the league since early in the season after what looked to be a roster with little promise. Consistent play on the front half of the schedule led Kings Guard to the five seed.
It was a sloppy game between these two when they met in week 10. Both sides had their struggles on offense. T-Wolves Gaming was suffocating on defense in the first half, allowing just 15 points. Kings Guard Gaming pushed in the fourth quarter, but they ultimately fell 51-45.
Coming into Thursday, T-Wolves Gaming has the swagger of a top-tier team in the NBA 2K League. The team is playing well together, and Michael “BearDaBeast” Key is the playmaker behind the recent success. Michael “Bp” Diaz led Kings Guard throughout the season, but he may have too much to handle against a surging T-Wolves Gaming.
Prediction: The underdog story ends here with T-Wolves Gaming sweeping Kings Guard Gaming
Stay tuned to Daily Esports for daily recaps of the NBA 2K League playoffs.