Weekly Recap: Path to Playoffs Goes Through 2KL Steal Open, THE TICKET

By Sam Perley

Season 5 of the NBA 2K League is quickly winding down and Hornets Venom GT has one final chance to qualify for the 3v3 and/or 5v5 playoffs. Starting on Wednesday night, Charlotte will need to win three matchups in either the Coinbase 2KL Steal Open or THE TICKET Powered by AT&T (begins Friday) in order to claim the Eastern Conference crown and keep its season alive at least for another week.

A Look Back at Seed Week:

Wednesday, July 20 at Magic Gaming – Orlando looked nothing like the team that has been toiling at the bottom of the standings all year, as they swept Hornets Venom GT, 3-0, to open up 3v3 seed week. Charlotte scored just 30 total points in the series and Orlando shot 25-of-33 from the field (75.8%), without committing a single turnover in the three-game series.

Thursday, July 21 vs. Grizz Gaming – Hornets Venom GT outlasted Grizz Gaming, 25-23, in Game 1, then held Memphis to just 23 points over the ensuing two contests for a bounce-back 3-0 sweep. Charlotte center DJ had 30 points on 100% shooting (15-of-15) and Grizz Gaming guard BP followed up a 21-point outburst in Game 1 with only 10 points across Game 2 and 3.

Tuesday, July 26 at Celtics Crossover Gaming – With Charlotte leading 19-18 in Game 1, Glennratty got turned around on a Boston pass, allowing TayZo to sprint uncovered to the left corner, where he buried the game-winning triple. Hornets Venom GT took Game 2 by a dominant 22-11 margin, but dropped the final two contests for a 3-1 series loss.

Thursday, July 28 at Pacers Gaming – The reigning 2KL Switch Open champions closed out Game 1 with back-to-back 3-pointers from Vandi to take a 1-0 lead over Hornets Venom GT. Pacers Gaming then squeaked out another close 21-18 triumph in Game 2, before winning Game 3 by a 22-17 margin to complete the sweep.

Friday, July 29 vs. Kings Guard Gaming – Hornets Venom GT got off to a solid start after getting a Tate 3-pointer to seal a 23-18 Game 1 victory. After taking Game 2, Charlotte dropped Game 3, but brought home a 22-13 win in Game 4 for the 3-1 series victory. On the night, DJ totaled 38 points on 86.3% shooting and 25 rebounds, a season-high 10 of which came in Game 1.

Coming Up Next (ET):

Wednesday, Aug. 10 (7:30 PM) vs. #12 Magic Gaming (3v3 Coinbase NBA 2KL Steal Open) – The aforementioned sweep back on July 20 is the only time Hornets Venom GT has faced Magic Gaming in 3v3 play this season. While Orlando did finish 12th in the East, the squad racked up four wins in five seed week outings, doubling what it had accumulated through the season’s first two 3v3 tournaments combined.

Undoubtedly, the player to watch on Magic Gaming is lead guard unguardable, who was just recently named the NBA 2K League’s Player of the Week. Acquired by Orlando from Blazer5 Gaming in a four-team trade back in June, the fifth overall pick in February’s draft is averaging 10.5 points and 3.4 assists across his past three series.

(Note: winner will face the winner of #8 Raptors Uprising GC vs. #11 Gen.G Tigers of Shanghai in the Eastern Conference Semifinals; loser will be eliminated from 3v3 competition)

Friday, Aug. 12 (8 PM) vs. #7 NetsGC (THE TICKET Powered by AT&T) – Make it three straight years now that Hornets Venom GT and NetsGC will be squaring off in an elimination matchup, although this will be their first meeting in THE TICKET. Each side has a 2-0 sweep against the other in 5v5 play in the NBA 2K League Playoffs; Charlotte in Season 3, Brooklyn in Season 4.

These two met earlier this season in THE TIPOFF group play, with NetsGC notching a 76-67 victory. The rosters will look a tad different in the rematch, though. Point guards King Haad and Tate were traded for each other in mid-May and a couple weeks later, Brooklyn dealt sharpshooter Doc – who had 33 points in that April 7 meeting with Charlotte – to Cavs Legion GC in exchange for Jyden.

(Note: winner will face the winner of #8 Hawks Talon GC vs. #11 Grizz Gaming in the Eastern Conference Semifinals; loser will be eliminated from 5v5 competition)

Cover photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images