Defense Sets the Tone in Hornets Venom GT’s 2-1 Win Over NetsGC

Type Notches Season-High 26 PTS, Triple-Double; Charlotte Moves Record to 9-6

Hornets Venom GT took another huge step towards postseason qualification on Wednesday night, knocking off NetsGC, 2-1, in the second-to-last game of its inaugural NBA 2K League season.

Leading by six after the opening quarter of Game 1, Hornets Venom gradually increased its advantage to 11 by the break and then to 12 by the start of the fourth. NetGC got within single digits a few times down the stretch, but couldn’t break through Charlotte’s superb half-court defensive efforts, falling behind 0-1 in the series with a 70-56 loss.

Center Xavier “Type” Vescovi (season-high 26 points) and guard Justin “Snubby” Stemerman (24) each crossed the 20-point plateau with the former adding 12 rebounds, four assists, two steals and three blocks. Guard Josh “Choc” Humphries (23 points and 10 assists) and center Aziz “Shuttles” Salem (16 points and 16 rebounds) both had double-doubles for NetsGC as well.

Brooklyn woke up in Game 2 though, outscoring Hornets Venom, 22-8, in the second quarter to take a 15-point lead into the break. Down 16 heading into the fourth, Charlotte roared back with a 20-6 run to cut the deficit to two around the one-minute mark. After trading buckets and a Brooklyn turnover, Snubby got a solid look at a go-ahead, above-the-break three with eight seconds left, but couldn’t get it to drop, leading to the 67-64 defeat.

Type racked up 11 points, a season-high-tying 18 rebounds, 10 assists, two steals and two blocks for his third triple-double of the season. Snubby (18), guard Alex “Expose” Whelan (18) and forward Gio “Trap” Elizondo (11) also scored in double figures, while Brooklyn got double-doubles again from Choc (29 points and 10 assists) and Shuttles (10 points and 11 rebounds).

Tied 18-18 after the first six minutes of Game 3, Hornets Venom won the second, 20-14, to take a six-point lead into halftime. Still ahead by five when the fourth began, Charlotte opened the final frame with a quick 6-0 run to go up by double digits. Hornets Venom continued to pour it on, pushing the advantage to 15 at one point and rolling to a 79-70 series-clinching victory.

Snubby (28), Expose (23) and forward Zaeya “Zae” Ishak (17 points) were all in double figures, with Type adding eight points, 12 rebounds, eight assists, three steals and five blocks. And for the third-straight outing, both Choc (29 points and 11 assists) and Shuttles (15 points and 15 rebounds) doubled-doubled for a NetsGC team now headed to The Ticket next week.

Charlotte registered just 32 total three-point attempts over the three-game span, although connected on 19 of them for a sterling 59 percent clip. The visitors also held Choc – the NBA 2K League’s 10th-leading scorer – to just 47 percent shooting in their two wins (3-of-10 overall from three) and committed an average of just 8.7 turnovers per game in the series.

Hornets Venom GT will close out the back-to-back tonight with a road game against Heat Check Gaming beginning at 9 PM EST and with a win, will automatically qualify for the NBA 2K League playoffs. Catch the action on ESPN mobile, Twitch.TV/NBA2KLeague or YouTube Gaming.

by Sam Perley