Here’s everything you need to know, from results to reactions, from the quarterfinals of ESPN’s16-seed NBA2K Players Tournament.
Actual NBA basketball can’t be played right now, but ESPN, the NBA and the NBA Player’s Association have teamed up to bring you the next best thing — digital hoops. The 16-seed tournament kicked off last Friday with some of the NBA’s brightest stars facing off.
According to ESPN, “Each player will use a simulated NBA team, from a group selected in advance by the player, in the standard Play Now mode. Once a player has used one of his eight pre-selected teams, he cannot use it again in the tournament.” The first round was split between Friday and Sunday, with play continuing into this week. The winner will receive $100,000 to donate to a charity of their choice, in support of coronavirus relief efforts.
Here are the results, highlights and hottest reactions from each quarterfinals matchup from Thursday, with instant updates after each game ends.
(5) Devin Booker vs. (13) Rui Hachimura
FINAL SCORE: Devin Booker (Mavericks) 71 — Rui Hachimura (Clippers) 55
This was the closest Phoenix Suns fans are gonna get to seeing Devin Booker playing with Luka Doncic. Rui Hachimura, meanwhile, is taking this 2K tournament seriously:
After Rui knocked down back-to-back triples with Montrezl Harrell, Booker had to ask whether they were playing on All-Star mode:
Despite falling behind 26-18 early in the second, Booker harnessed the power of his gamer chair to close the first half out on a 14-2 run, taking a 32-28 lead at the break.
In the third quarter, after telling Luka he needed to be more aggressive, he let the Mavs star take the wheel. Gotta love Coach Book giving props to head coach Rick Carlisle for putting Luka off the ball:
“OOOH HE WENT UNDER! HE WENT UNDER!”
(16) Derrick Jones Jr. vs. (8) Montrezl Harrell
FINAL SCORE: Montrezl Harrell (Blazers) 71 — Derrick Jones Jr. (Mavericks) 66
Harrell had a commanding 20-13 lead in the waning seconds of the first quarter, but a clutch J.J. Barea buzzer-beater made it a little more manageable for DJJ. Trez knew it was coming the whole way too:
Apparently Zoom workouts have become the new thing for NBA teams:
Even in 2K, Carmelo Anthony turnaround jumpers are a go-to move:
Harrell actually has a pretty good feel for the Portland Trail Blazers in general, since this was vintage Damian Lillard. Also, Jones’ discouraged “Maaaaaaan” is our spirit animal for 2020:
(2) Trae Young vs. (10) Deandre Ayton
FINAL SCORE: Deandre Ayton (Clippers) 73 — Trae Young (Lakers) 66
With Young choosing the Lakers, Ayton had no choice but to go Clippers. He wasted no time unleashing a 3-point barrage en route to a 22-13 first-quarter lead:
“HEYYY!…GET OFF ME.” — Deandre Ayton, dropping the hammer with Kawhi Leonard
“TURN ME UP, BRON!” — Trae Young, returning the favor with LeBron James
“You better make up for it…you better make up for it…AYYYY, YOU BETTER MAKE UP FOR IT!” — Ayton, returning the favor yet again with Paul George:
Young tied the game midway through the fourth quarter, but a 17-10 run to close it out gave Ayton the victory in the end, making him the second Phoenix Sun to reach the semis.
(6) Andre Drummond vs. (14) Patrick Beverley
FINAL SCORE: Patrick Beverley (76ers) 69 — Andre Drummond (Bucks) 62
So what’s Patrick Beverley been up to during quarantine?
“WORKING OUT LIKE A MADMAN.”
After falling behind big early, Beverley did everything he could to get his team back in it. “WAKE UP! You went out last night??” he shouted at his virtual Sixers. Once he pulled within 10, the trash talk kicked back into high gear, singlehandedly willing Philly back into the contest:
Pat Bev trimmed the lead to six at the break, with the free-throw discrepancy (10 attempts for Drummond to Beverley’s two) being the difference. Bev actually turned that deficit into a one-point lead late in the third, but Drummond’s buzzer-beating 3 with Eric Bledsoe had Beverley ready to break his controller:
In all honesty, Pat Bev has been the life of the NBA 2K Players Tournament every step of the way. I mean, his energy is just as infectious playing video games as it is on the court:
Thankfully he advanced to the semis, setting up an all-Suns-Clippers semifinal on each side of the bracket.
Stay tuned for the semifinals and finals on Saturday, Apr. 11. All the game action is available live or after the fact as videos on demand through ESPN and their streaming platforms.