It wasn’t exactly pretty, but Blazer5 Gaming became just the second team to clinch a playoff berth after concluding Week 9’s NBA 2K League regular season action with a 67-55 win over Pistons GT.
A game that was initially scheduled to occur Thursday, Blazer5 Gaming (12-1) were forced to wait another day to claim their second consecutive playoff berth. Whether due to the odd scheduling time or simply playing down to their opponent, Portland didn’t exactly break through past their opponent, entering the fourth quarter up just four points.
But the energy displayed by Pistons GT (1-12), in particular by point guard DevGross, seemed to waned in the final six minutes, allowing Blazer5 Gaming to notch a more comfortable scoreline than the actual contest might have suggested.
While Mama Im Dat Man continued to assert himself among the top of the MVP leaderboards with another double-double (20 points, 13 assists), it was two standout performances from members of the Blazer5 Gaming frontcourt that really made a difference in this game.
2018 MVP OneWildWalnut has taken a back seat in his teammate’s quest for an MVP title of his own, but it was thanks to a plethora of timely rebounds from the center (12 total) that Blazer5 Gaming even had the opportunity to maintain their advantage throughout the contest. He also posted 14 points while going nearly perfect from the field in what was an unheralded, yet important, double-double. Jomar12 PR also put together an unexpectedly stout performance, registering 18 points, four assists, three rebounds and three steals while making 50 percent of his shots from downtown. It remains to be seen whether Jomar12 PR, who also got the start in Blazer5 Gaming’s win earlier Friday against Jazz Gaming, will continue to stay in the lineup or if King Peroxide will slot back in, but Portland will have plenty of time to tinker with their best starting five after locking up a playoff spot.
Earlier in the day, Blazer5 Gaming opened up Friday play in Week 9 of the 2K League with a 63-59 victory over Jazz Gaming.
Early on in Friday’s contest, it looked like Blazer5 Gaming (11-1) was going to make light work of their opponents, opening a 20-9 lead after the first quarter after shooting a scorching 9-of-12 from the field. Jazz Gaming (5-6) had no answer for Mama Im Dat Man early, as the MVP frontrunner dropped 11 points in the first six minutes.
Jazz Gaming wouldn’t go away quietly, however, as they chipped away at the deficit over the next two quarters thanks to a couple of quick runs and ultimately went into the fourth quarter down by just four points. After trading buckets for the first few minutes of the quarter, Jazz Gaming finally broke through when point guard Yeah I Compete hit a three to tie the game at 51.
Unfortunately for Jazz Gaming, that was as close to taking the lead as they would get, as Blazer5 Gaming, as they had done all game, responded to Jazz Gaming’s last punch and got the stops necessary to pull away.
While Mama Im Dat Man struggled a bit at times over the course of the game following his electric first quarter, the star point guard ultimately did what he had to do in order for his team to earn their 11th straight victory. He finished with a game-high 26 points on 10-of-15 shooting to go along with eight assists, while his partner-in-crime, center OneWildWalnut, was there to do all the dirty work. He posted 16 points on 8-of-9 shooting, eight rebounds, four assists and a pair of steals.