TORONTO, Canada—It was a special debut for the newest member of Raptors Uprising GC, as Dimez put on a show on Wednesday night, scoring a combined 57 points to go along with 26 assists, while reigning MVP Kenny Got Work added 54 points as Toronto completed a 2-0 sweep over a talented NetsGC team to begin Week 8 NBA 2K League action.
The performance of Dimez was even more impressive when you consider the lengths he had to go to in order to compete in Wednesday’s matchup. The league’s first-ever draft pick, who was acquired on July 20 from Mavs Gaming, travelled from Dallas to his hometown Cleveland, and then from Cleveland to Buffalo, and then finally from Buffalo to Toronto and arrived just an hour before tipoff.
Nevertheless, Raptors Uprising wanted to get their new star in the mix.
“We had no time to scrim,” said Dimez after the game. “So, I come in today, and the guys just had the utmost faith in me, and that instilled confidence in myself. Shane (Talbot) and everybody else just said, ‘let’s just have fun, we haven’t played any scrims, let’s build chemistry and have fun,’ and that’s what we did and everything clicked and fell together.”
There certainly was no sign of rust on the part of Dimez, who was handed the keys right away at point guard as Kenny Got Work shifted over to shooting guard to create a lethal one-two punch in the backcourt.
And immediately, Dimez showed why Toronto wanted him in the lineup, scoring 16 first-half points in Game 1 on 5-for-6 shooting from the floor, including a perfect three-for-three from beyond the arc, as Raptors Uprising looked like a revamped side out of the gate, carrying a four-point lead into the third quarter against a fifth-place NetsGC team.
And while his first half was impressive, Dimez was just getting warmed up.
From scorer to facilitator, he very quickly exhibited that he could do it all, completely taking over this contest in the second half. In addition to his 16 points in the opening half, Dimez would add 15 more down the stretch, but perhaps more impressively, he would get his teammates involved in action as well, dropping 13 assists in the final two quarters to finish with a game-high 17 dimes.
With the new kid on the block carrying a majority of the load on offence, Toronto would maintain a nine-point lead heading into the final quarter, surviving a late push by Brooklyn to take the first game of the ‘Dimez era’ by a score of 99-95.
All five players for Toronto would finish in double-digit scoring, as the 99 points scored by Raptors Uprising would establish a new season-high, besting their previous mark of 87 set during an overtime loss to Gen.G Tigers in Week 3.
“In Game 1, our offence — myself and Kenny and everybody hitting their shots — kept us in it and got us over the top,” said Dimez.
— Raptors Uprising GC (@RaptorsGC) July 29, 2021
Raptors Uprising would keep that momentum going into Game 2, quickly jumping out to a 20-13 lead after one and expanding that margin to 13 heading into halftime. Once again, it was Dimez leading the way, dropping 21 points after two quarters, as Brooklyn simply had no answer for the former Mavs Gaming star.
Not to be forgotten, the second half belonged to the 2020 NBA 2K League MVP Kenny Got Work as NetsGC tried to zero in on the red-hot Dimez. Like he has done for years, the Memphis-native would find a different gear down the stretch; whether it be pull-up three’s, getting to the rim, or settling for an easy mid-range jumper, Kenny Got Work would not be stopped coming out of the break, scoring 15 points in the third quarter as Raptors Uprising would eventually take Game 2 in blowout fashion: 90-70.
Kenny Got Work would finish with 31 points, Dimez would add 26, while reigning Defensive Player of the Year Timelycook also got in on the fun, posting 17 points and four steals on 6-of-7 shooting from the floor.
“It just brings back memories, to be honest. We’ve done this before,” said Dimez. “Kenny, myself, and Timely have played together years ago. We played in 2K17 in one of the biggest tournaments around for $250,000.
“You’re putting me together with guys who I’ve won on the biggest stage there is before. I won $250,000 with these guys, so (Raptors Uprising) knew what we were building when (they) made the trade. I hope Canada is ready and I hope everybody else is too.”
The 2-0 series sweep marked just the second sweep of the season for a team that went 16-0 just a year ago. It was also the team’s most convincing performance of the year, and with just four games left to play in the regular season, the hope is Toronto (7-17) may have gotten the boost they’ve needed in order to sneak into the postseason by virtue of THE TICKET Tournament in August.
— NBA 2K League (@NBA2KLeague) July 29, 2021
“I think right now our team is focused on THE TICKET,” said Dimez. “Obviously, we’re going to come out and try and win every single game we can and perform and have fun while doing it, but the goal is to get in the playoffs…”
As in previous years, the winner of the THE TICKET will automatically qualify for a spot in the postseason. From that point on, anything is possible, but with their new floor general in the mix, the vibes are very different right now around Raptors Uprising, who looked refreshed, recharged, and rejuvenated heading into the home stretch.
Up next, the team from the North will face another big test on Friday when they take on a third-place Warriors Gaming Squad (13-7), winners of two straight. The team will try and build off Wednesday’s performance and carry some much needed momentum into their second and final bye week of the season.