Blazer5 Gaming faced off against NBL Oz Gaming in round two of THE TURN bracket play in Washington, D.C. Blazer5 came off a successful series against Raptors Uprising GC sweeping them 2-0 and advancing to round two. Blazer5 looked to replicate their success heading into round two. Round one was monumental for some players as Harby and Claude experienced their first stage play, and both earned Top Performer of The Night for their round one success.
In game one against NBL Oz, both teams started with a low-scoring Q1 14-12 in favor of Blazer5. Q2, Blazer5 managed the game well, and Claude knocked down some tough shots to keep Blazer5 ahead, winning Q2 21-18 going into the half with a 35-30 lead. Q3 featured another close quarter, with both teams trying to find the difference in a competitive contest. In the final quarter, Blazer5 found their rhythm as they strategized a defensive effort that severely crippled the NBL Oz offense. Claude found his stride in Q3, which helped lead his team to victory in Q4, and ultimately closed out game one with a win.
Claude had a great game one, finishing with 32 points and 10 assists. KayAus also had a solid performance, notching in a double-double performance with 13 points and 10 assists.
In game two, Blazer5 started on a high note; Harby came out swinging in Q1, dropping 15 points in the quarter, propelling Blazer5 to a 25-12 lead to begin the game. NBL Oz was in desperate need of making adjustments after Q1 in order to match Blazer5’s fierce gameplay. At halftime, the score was 34-31 as NBL Oz kept the pressure on and ended Q3 22-16. NBL Oz went into Q4 with a 3-point lead. However, Blazer5 closed out Q4 strong and secured the sweep advancing to round three to play Pacers Gaming. Harby was the hero of the match, dropping 33 points in game two, shooting 5/6 from three.
Round three, Blazer5 faced off against Pacers Gaming. This series was personal for Lavish, facing his former squad in round three with a chance to advance to the final round in THE TURN tournament.
Game one was a close match-up as Pacers Gaming led Q1 16-13. In the high-intensity match, both teams played very competitive defense. In Q2, Pacers Gaming found the perfect offensive game plan to give themselves the advantage going into the half 36-25 with Blazer5 trailing behind. After a strong effort in crunch time, Blazer5 still wasn’t able to overcome the deficit early in the game and lost to Pacers Gaming 57-56 in game one of the series.
Despite the loss, Blazer5 saw strong performances from Claude with 28 points and 10 assists, Jomar with 9 points and 8 boards, and KayAus, who had 10 points and 4 rebounds.
In game two, Blazer5 faced a win-or-go-home situation, with Pacers Gaming taking the 1-0 series lead. Blazer5 understood their position and built a large lead with better defense taking Q2 18-12. The intensity on defense and intelligent decision-making on offense was behavior that indicated they didn’t plan on going home early. However, Pacers Gaming came alive in Q3 leading 15-13. Q4 was a shootout, as both teams played their best offense. Ultimately Pacers Gaming failed to match Blazer5’s scoring total in Q4 and fell to Blazer5.
Claude led the way with 24 points and 7 assists, Harby with 16 points shooting 4/5 from behind the arc, and Jomar with 14 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, and 1 block filling up the stat sheet to support a Blazer5 win.
As Blazer5’s momentum shifted, they used it to their advantage to close out with a win in game three. In Q1, Blazer5 had a rough start failing to make open shots, while Pacers Gaming capitalized on the slow start. Both teams matched each other’s performances in Q3 with a score of 14-12 for the quarter in favor of Blazer5. The solid Q3 would put them down only 3 (49-46) going into the last stretch and putting them in a position to close out the game with a win. Blazer5 caught fire in Q4 and dismantled Pacers Gaming’s defense, putting up 25 points in the quarter to advance to THE TURN tournament finals.
Harby dropped 24 points and 4 assists, Claude had 19 points and 7 assists, Jomar recorded a double-double with 11 points and 11 boards, and Lavish with 12 points, 2 rebounds, and 4 assists to help send his former squad home. Lavish played a vital role in his team’s success against Pacers Gaming in game three to win the series. Honors went to Claude and Jomar this series, earning Top Performers of the Night.
Blazer5 advanced to the final round of THE TURN tournament, where they played Hornets Venom GT for a chance to be crowned THE TURN tournament champions and to win $150,000. The crowning of champions wasn’t the only history that would be made, as Blazer5’s Claude and Hornets Venom’s Crown were the first-ever brothers to compete in a final against each other in NBA 2K League history.
Blazer5 made their third appearance in THE TURN finals and their second against Hornets Venom GT in the Finals, who eliminated Blazer5 in 2021.
Game one against Hornets Venom was a tough one. Blazer5 trailed 22-9 to start the game. The following 2 quarters were not very encouraging as Blazer5 saw the deficit grow to 56-29 heading into Q4. Hornets Venom blew out Blazer5 to start the series. Despite the disappointing start to the game, Blazer5 showed fight in Q4 searching for holes in Hornets Venom defense to see what could help them win Game 2. They would win Q4 24-21 in Game 1. Despite the strong Q4 effort, they would lose Game 1 77-47.
In game two, Blazer 5 learned from their game one mistakes, finding themselves down only 6 after Q1 (18-12). Blazer5 would take Q2 16-13 with a competitive back-and-forth quarter that found Blazer5 on top at the end. Blazer5 played smarter in this matchup, taking easy shots the defense gave them and prioritizing getting stops on the other end. Both teams mirrored each other’s production with a tie in Q3 with a score of 16-16 for the quarter. In Q4 Blazer5 used a technical pause in play to their advantage and devised a plan to expose Hornet Venoms GT defense, winning Q4 22-10 and giving them much-needed confidence after a rough Game 1.
Blazer5 showed fight and resilience, finishing strong to seal the win. Claude had 27 points and 3 assists, Harby with 19 points and 5 assists, and Jomar with a solid 11 rebounds and 2 blocks anchoring the defensive end. Their performances helped keep Blazer5 finals hopes alive, tying the series 1-1.
Game three saw an intense match up with the title of champion on the line. Q1 went to Hornets Venom, who capitalized on a poor shooting start from Blazer5. In Q2, Blazer5 rebounded from their Q1 performance and scored 24 points in the quarter to go up by 2 points (35-33) into halftime. Hornets Venom responded after the strong Q2 from Blazer5 winning Q3 19-9 with solid performances from Crown and Atoine Love. Blazer5 returned to their shooting struggles failing to capitalize on wide-open looks from three. While Q4 was close, Hornets Venom came out on top in Q4 and won game three 68-57. Blazer5 lost the series 1-2 to Hornets Venom GT, who were crowned champions of THE TURN tournament.
Despite the loss, Blazer5 had solid performances from Jomar with 17 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists, and Claude, who had 19 points and 7 assists. Blazer5 showed their grit, toughness, and resilience throughout the tournament proving all doubters wrong and rightfully earning their respect amongst the 2K League teams. Blazer5 finished second in the tournament winning $50,000. Blazer5 also clinched a spot in the NBA 2K League Playoffs, where Claude and Harby will make their 2K League Playoff debuts.