Hornets Venom GT Goes 2-2 in Final Week, Clinches #2 Seed in 2KL Playoffs

Charlotte Sets Franchise Scoring Record vs. Milwaukee, Earns First-Round Bye in Postseason

By Sam Perley

Back-to-back splits in the final week of the 2021 NBA 2K League regular season ended up being just enough for Hornets Venom GT to clinch the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference standings and secure a coveted first-round bye in the upcoming playoffs.

 Perhaps it was shaking off some bye week rust, but Hornets Venom GT got off to a slow start in Game 1 on Wednesday night against Celtics Crossover Gaming. Down 13 at half, Charlotte exploded into the third on a 15-0 run to make it a more tightly contested affair. Leading by three halfway through the fourth, Boston uncorked an 8-0 run to go up double digits, proving to be the decisive stretch in the 77-68 win.

Guard Justin “Sherm” Sherman had 25 points and 11 assists in the four-game-winning-streak-snapping defeat, while guard CJ “rigby” Burnett and power forward Kingsley “Crown” Braggs both had 18 points. Sharpshooter Dorian “WalkingBucket” Earl Miller had a team-high 23 points for Boston, which also got double-doubles from point guard Sheriff “FT” Cruz (22 points and 10 assists) and center Jhade “Worthingcolt” Black (17 points, 11 rebounds and five assists).

Charlotte would find its rhythm in Game 2 though, opening up a 17-point first-half lead before Celtics Crossover Gaming battled back to make it a 37-28 contest at the break. Hornets Venom GT then outscored Boston, 17-11, in the third to go back up by 15, then dropped 30 points in the fourth quarter to cruise to an 84-52 blowout victory.

Sherm and Rigby both scored 31 points in the win, with each player also adding seven and six assists, respectively. Center Peter “PeteBeBallin” Malin had eight points, a season-high 20 rebounds and three assists, while lock Gio “Trap” Elizondo chipped in seven points and a season-high-tying five steals. Boston’s FT finished with 25 points and seven turnovers, accounting for exactly half of the team’s overall 14 giveaways.

One night later in its final regular season matchup of the season, Hornets Venom GT found itself trailing Bucks Gaming by three late in third quarter of Game 1. The visitors then turned a complete 180, ripped off a 32-8 run over the next five minutes and coasted to a 95-73 win, seeing a new franchise single-game scoring record in the process.

Sherm (32 points and 12 assists) and Crown (16 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, three steals and two blocks filling in for PeteBeBallin at center) both double-doubled in the win, and Rigby also totaling 23 points. Point guard Reggie “Regg” Nash Jr. led Milwaukee with 31 points and nine assists in the defeat.

Charlotte’s late scoring outburst didn’t carry over into Game 2 as it led by just two heading into the fourth quarter. Bucks Gaming kicked off the frame with a 7-0 run and then continued to stay ahead of Hornets Venom GT by multiple possessions over the next several minutes. With 52 seconds left, a Crown dunk pulled the team to within one, but a three-pointer by former Charlotte guard Alex “Expose” Whelan, a Milwaukee steal and then a Regg dunk iced what ended up becoming an 82-76 Bucks Gaming triumph.

Rigby poured in 27 points and six assists in the season finale, Crown had 24 points and 15 rebounds and Sherm chipped in another 14 points and 10 assists. Expose racked up 32 points on 7-of-11 shooting from three and seven assists for Bucks Gaming, which notched just its fifth regular season win in the process.

Hornets Venom GT will now be off until the 2021 NBA 2K League Playoffs, which begin on Thursday, Aug. 26 in Dallas, TX. The squad will be the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference and play the highest remaining seed to advance out of #3 Grizz Gaming, #4 Nets GC or #5 76ers GC in the Quarterfinals. Catch the action on the NBA 2K League’s Twitch or YouTube channels.