4-0 Weekend Includes Double-OT Thriller, Rigby Career High, Clutch PeteBeBallin Baskets
By Sam Perley
Coming off getting swept for the first time this season, Hornets Venom GT pieced together four consecutive resilient performances this past Friday and Saturday night to notch back-to-back sweeps of Hawks Talon GC and Lakers Gaming. The 4-0 showing moved the team into second place in the NBA 2K League Eastern Conference standings at 17-7, trailing only Season 3 Champions Wizards District Gaming (18-4).
Trailing Atlanta by 13 early in the third quarter of Game 1 on Friday evening, Hornets Venom GT surged back in front in the second half to take a 70-66 lead with just five seconds left in the fourth. Needing a miracle at the other end, Hawks Talon GC got one after guard Caesar “Ceez” Martinez drew a three-point shooting foul on lock Gio “Trap” Elizondo, giving the latter his sixth violation of the contest. Ceez would drain all four free throws (one coming on the foul-out technical), sending the game to overtime.
Still tied after the first overtime, Charlotte opened double overtime on a 6-1 run to take an 83-78 advantage with 1:42 remaining. Hawks Talon GC would trim the deficit to three late in the frame, but a second-chance tip-in by center Peter “PeteBeBallin” Malin with 12 seconds left sealed Charlotte’s 87-82 victory.
— Hornets Venom GT (@HornetsVenomGT) July 31, 2021
Guard CJ “rigby” Burnett finished with a career-high 34 points for Hornets Venom GT, PeteBeBallin (18 points and 14 rebounds) and guard Justin “Sherm” Sherman (10 points and 10 assists) both double-doubled and power forward Kinglsey “Crown” Braggs (14 points) and Trap (11) were also in double figures. Ceez led Atlanta with 42 points and five assists in the loss.
Charlotte got off to a better start in Game 2 by outscoring Atlanta 25-11 in the opening frame before the game was reset following a player lag-out. Hawks Talon GC would get within striking at times over the course of the final three quarters before Hornets Venom GT ultimately closed the door for an 80-63 triumph.
Rigby (26 points and five steals), Trap (17), PeteBeBallin (17) all scored 15+ points, with Sherm notching 12 points and 16 assists for another double-double. Ceez racked up another 29 points and seven assists for Hawks Talon GC, shooting 7-of-17 from three-point range in the process.
Back on the court 24 hours later, Hornets Venom GT had another slow start in its first-ever meeting with Lakers Gaming and found itself trailing 57-55 with under two minutes remaining in the fourth. PeteBeBallin got the shooter’s roll on a game-tying layup at the 1:35 mark, a basket that kicked off a game-ending 8-0 run to clinch a 63-57 victory.
— Hornets Venom GT (@HornetsVenomGT) August 1, 2021
Sherm (23) and Rigby (22) both crossed the 20-point barrier in the win and PeteBeBallin double-doubled with 13 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and two blocks. Lakers Gaming – which played without reigning first overall pick Arshia “Krazy” Karimi – got 28 points from point guard Maurice “ReeseDaGod” Delaney and another 18 points and 11 rebounds from center Wady “Tactuk” Tactuk.
Much like it did in Game 2 against Hawks Talon GC, Charlotte opened up another early double-double digit lead in the ensuing contest, but Lakers Gaming continued to fight over the final three quarters of play. With Hornets Venom GT leading by seven and 49 seconds left on the clock, Los Angeles went on a quick 4-0 run, then rimmed out a buzzer-beater that would have sent the game to overtime.
Rigby (31), Sherm (16), PeteBeBallin (14) and Crown (11) all had double-digit scoring outputs in the 74-71 victory, with Sherm also adding 11 assists for his third double-double in four appearances. ReeseDaGod kept Lakers Gaming in it with 38 points and nine assists and Tactuk racked up 16 points and 14 rebounds for a squad that dropped its 12th consecutive regular season outing.
Idle this coming week, Hornets Venom GT’s next matchup will be a pair of road games against Celtics Crossover Gaming on Wednesday, August 11 beginning at 9 PM EDT. Catch all the action on the NBA 2K League’s Twitch and YouTube channels.