Defending champs Raptors Uprising to open $260,000 TURN Tournament vs. Blazer5 Gaming

TORONTO, Canada—The second in-season competition of the year is upon us, as the $260,000 THE TURN Tournament Powered by AT&T kicks off on Wednesday with the defending champions Raptors Uprising GC taking on Blazer5 Gaming in the play-in round.

THE TURN will be a four-day tournament (Wednesday, July 14 – Saturday, July 17) with all 23 teams participating remotely from their local markets. As the No. 20 seed, Raptors Uprising (5-13) will face Portland (8-8) in a best-of-three matchup for the right to advance into the 16-team bracket with teams seeded 1-9 on Thursday, July 15.

Raptors Uprising head into this competition with something to prove. After a 2-13, start to the year, the team has rallied together three-straight wins heading into the competition and are hoping to carry that momentum forward and make another deep run this season.

“Our expectations are to go very far,” said veteran power forward All Hail Trey. “We don’t feel like we’re a bottom of the barrel team, we feel like we should be up there with the top teams, but our record doesn’t show that this year, so I feel like we’re going to shock a lot of people for this tournament.”

Blazer5 Gaming, meanwhile, one of the most successful teams in NBA 2K League history, have flipped the script this offseason and rebuilt their side, trading away Season 1 MVP OneWildWalnut and Season 2 MVP MamaImDatMan. They still possess one of the more well-rounded squads, led by Bash at point guard at G O O F Y 757 at centre.

Bash in particular has had a stellar season after he was acquired from Kings Guard Gaming, as he currently ranks third in the NBA 2K League in points per game (30.4) and third in assists per game (11.2). Toronto will need to keep him in check if they want any chance of advancing in this tournament.

Like the team from the North, Blazer5 Gaming enter this one on a high, most recently sweeping Lakers Gaming in Week 6 NBA 2K League action.

One factor that may benefit Raptors Uprising in this one will be the team’s versatility. Once again, to create even more on-court excitement and introduce an added layer of strategy, the NBA 2K League will implement an “Archetype Ban” concept for THE TURN for the third straight year. An archetype is a preset combination of attributes and skills. Players can choose from five different archetypes per position. For more information on the NBA 2K League archetypes and the archetype ban, see here.

Another important facet for Raptors Uprising heading into this one will be the play of reigning MVP Kenny Got Work. Kenny was named tournament MVP at THE TURN last year as well, with averages of 28.8 points and 8.6 assists. While the team will need to step up one through five, the Raptors Uprising star point guard is hoping to prove doubters wrong and silence them with a heroic performance at this year’s tournament.

As mentioned, teams will be competing for a prize pool of $260,000. The winner of THE TURN will earn nearly half of the prize pool, with the remainder being awarded to the second- to eighth-place teams (first place – $117,000; second place – $52,000; third and fourth place – $22,100 each; fifth to eighth place – $11,700 each).

The winner of Wednesday’s matchup will move on to the Round of 16 where they’ll face a formidable T-Wolves Gaming side (12-6) on Thursday.

Key Matchup to Watch: Timelycook vs. Bash—The reigning NBA 2K League Defensive Player of the Year Timelycook will have his hands full in this matchup as he’ll likely be tasked with containing one of the hottest players in the league right now in Bash. Timelycook, who has appeared at a variety of different positions this season, recently reverted back to his natural lock position where he’s averaged just over two steals per game, helping Raptors Uprising to three-straight victories. Timely was one of the few players in the league that had success guarding Bash last season while the then-rookie was with Kings Guard Gaming, so if Timely has indeed found his groove, it may spell trouble for the Blazer5 Gaming point guard.

How to Watch: Games will air live on the NBA 2K League’s Twitch and YouTube channels. Games will also be available on ESRevolution, eGG Network in Southeast Asia, Loco in India, Sport1 in Europe and Dash Radio. Tipoff on Wednesday is set for 6 pm ET.