We are only three games into THE TICKET, but Bucks Gaming’s 61-52 win over 76ers GC might go down as one of the biggest upsets of the entire tournament.
It’s a victory that could easily be chalked up to any number of factors – terrific team defense, excellent strategy, and maybe even a bit of a poor performance from 76ers GC. Regardless, Thursday’s win will go down as a season high-point for a Bucks Gaming squad that has hung with the best teams in the NBA 2K League throughout the inaugural campaign, but has struggled to come up clutch when it mattered most.
It’s the strategy element behind the win that is most compelling, as the decision to move oLARRY from his nominal center position to point guard wound up being a brilliant maneuver, despite the warranted chastising it got from the announcers to start the game. While oLARRY hardly ever covered his running mate and likely MVP candidate throughout the contest in 76ers GC point guard Radiant, the big man turned point guard still managed to dictate the flow of the contest by methodically moving down the court. In contrast to most of the NBA 2K League, a molasses-like half court offense wound up helping Bucks Gaming on a number of levels, as the lineup was able to identify matchups each time down the court, whether that be Game6Drake and his blow-by ability at small forward, or a nifty handful of set three-point plays for Procis1on, who went 4-of-5 from downtown. The slow pace also affected 76ers GC on offense, as the normally explosive unit failed to generate many turnovers, and even worse, failed to capitalize on open three pointers when they did manage to create breathing room in the half court. Ironically enough, Radiant was the most ergerious three-pointer misser, as the normally lockdown offensive threat made just 1-of-4 from downtown, including two wide open misses in the first half that could have given 76ers GC some much needed breathing room.
The net result meant that Bucks Gaming managed to hang around far longer than many people could have predicted, even holding a slight one point lead into the beginning of the fourth quarter. That was where the aforementioned small forward Game6Drake shined the brightest, at one point scoring six straight low post baskets for Bucks Gaming by deftly blowing by his opposition for an easy dunk and finishing the game with a lobby-high 20 points. But the unsung hero award will rightfully fall onto center XxSTL2LAxX, who took over oLARRY’s nominal center position and played it brilliantly, finishing the game with nine points, 13 rebounds, and perhaps most crucially, three blocks. His efforts both in the paint and on the glass were critical in helping the Bucks hang around, and without XxSTL2LAxX’s outstanding performance, Bucks Gaming would be quite simply out of THE TICKET.
Bucks Gaming will face another test in the form of their next opponent, as the winner of Jazz Gaming vs. Pistons GT will move on to face Bucks Gaming.