By Sam Perley
Hornets Venom GT entered the second and final week of group play in THE TIPOFF presented by AT&T likely needing just one win in its final two outings to advance to the bracket in Indianapolis, IN. Unfortunately, the squad struggled in the fourth quarter in each of the two games, leading to a 1-4 overall record and a third straight season of not making THE TIPOFF money round. Play restarts tonight though with THE SLAM presented by Coinbase, the NBA 2KL League’s first-ever in-season 3v3 tournament.
A Look Back:
April 12 vs. Magic Gaming: Hornets Venom GT jumped out to an early 10-7 advantage before gameplay lagged out, leading to a reset. Both sides went back and forth once the action resumed, all the way into the abbreviated fourth quarter. With Hornets Venom GT holding a two-point lead and about two-and-a-half minutes remaining, Magic Gaming uncorked a 15-7 run – all the scoring coming on 3-pointers – to seal a 64-58 victory.
April 14 at Grizz Gaming: Following a one-day delay because of inclement weather and then another full reset shortly after tipoff, Hornets Venom GT quickly fell behind by 13 points in the second quarter, but battled back to take a 54-53 lead with 4:30 to go. Grizz Gaming returned serve though, overwhelming Charlotte’s defense with a game-closing 25-13 stretch – which included points on every possession – to snatch a 78-69 win.
Differences between 5⃣v5⃣ 🆚 3⃣v3⃣? 🤔
— Hornets Venom GT (@HornetsVenomGT) April 25, 2022
Coming Up Next:
Tuesday, April 26 vs. Hawks Talon GC (8 PM ET): Like Hornets Venom GT, Hawks Talon GC also finished THE TIPOFF group play with a 1-4 record, with its four losses coming by an average of 17.8 points. Atlanta has a new Head Coach this season in Ismael Diaz-Tolentino, who led the Dominican Basketball Federation 2K Team to a gold medal in FIBA Esports III in May of 2021.
Wednesday, April 27 at Team Smoke (10 PM): This is one of the eight amateur 3v3 teams that has been added to group play for THE SLAM. Highlighting the roster in particular is TimelyCook, a three-year 2K League veteran who was named the Season 3 Defensive Player of the Year for a Raptors Uprising GC squad that won two banners and went 16-0 in the regular season.
Friday, April 29 at Heat Check Gaming (9 PM): Heat Check Gaming just narrowly made it out of THE TIPOFF group play, then sprung upsets over Nets GC and Knicks Gaming before bowing out in the Eastern Conference Finals to 76ers GC over the weekend. While Miami’s 3v3 lineup is still undisclosed, the overall roster features just one rookie in DTrick.