Welcome back to Friday Night Knicks, folks.
In the biggest upset of the inaugural season of the NBA 2K League, the top-seeded Blazer5 Gaming were sent home packing by Knicks Gaming in a close 82-78 battle to close out the first day of the playoffs.
Coming into this game, Blazer5 had all the confidence in the world after having finished the regular season as the No. 1 seed with just two losses on its record. Meanwhile, the Knicks managed to qualify for the playoffs despite their 5-9 record by winning THE TICKET earlier this season. Anything that happened in the regular season was quickly thrown out the window in this game as it was clear from the start that the Knicks weren’t going to go quietly into the night.
From the opening tip to the final buzzer, these teams went back and forth in the closest game of the day by a wide margin. Led by iamadamthe1st and G O O F Y 7 5 7, the Knicks managed to keep up with the brisk pace that Blazer5 attempted to set on Friday night. If Portland went on a run, you could expect New York to fire right back with a run of their own. Gone was the indecisiveness that has plagued Knicks Gaming at certain points in the regular, and in its place was the scrappy and hungry team that took THE TICKET by storm a few weeks back.
All night, with the raucous studio crowd behind them, there was this feeling that the Knicks were simply going to do something special here, and they delivered in spades. From the 16-9 run at the end of the half to the impressive display of poise and patience in the final two minutes, this was a team that looked far better than their 5-9 record showed. The leadership of iamadam (who also managed a solid double-double of 30 points and 13 assists), the defensive presence of G O O F Y 7 5 7 (who tallied a double-double of his own with 21 points, 13 rebounds, to go along with three blocks and a steal), and the timely offensive rebounding of IdrisDaGoat6 all played a part in the Knicks making history and moving on to the next round.
For Blazer5, this will surely be a tough pill to swallow as the team had such high aspirations heading into the playoffs. With MVP and Defensive Player of Year, OneWildWalnut, in tow, this was supposed to be a breeze. Yet, nothing came easy in this game, which was a stark change to the great fortune they have experienced all season long. Both OneWildWalnut and Mama Im Dat Man did their parts with 26 and 20 points, respectively, but it just wasn’t enough. Whether it was missed defensive assignments or poor shot selection down the stretch, the mistakes piled up and ended up being too great for this team to overcome in the end.
While Blazer5 reflects on a heartbreaking end to the season, Knicks Gaming will now look ahead to Saturday’s semifinal against Cavs Legion GC.