Kenny Got Work scores 51 as No. 1 seed Raptors Uprising sweep Gen.G Tigers at THE TURN

TORONTO, Canada—Third time wasn’t the charm for Gen.G Tigers of Shanghai, as Kenny Got Work made a statement Thursday afternoon, scoring 51 points in Game 1 to help Raptors Uprising GC sweep Gen.G (2-0 series) and advance through to the final eight of THE TURN Tournament, powered by AT&T.

Squaring off for the third time in 33 days, the undefeated Raptors Uprising (No. 1 seed) and Gen.G (No. 16 seed) had to navigate through the implementation of “Archetype Bans” at THE TURN, an added twist allowing each team to prohibit two archetypes per side prior to tipoff.

And when Gen.G Tigers decided to leave Kenny’s natural “Scoring Machine” archetype untouched, instead opting to ban Timelycook’s “2-Way Sharpshooter” and Legit 973’s “Glass Cleaner”, the three-time Season 3 NBA 2K League Player of the Week made them pay.

Averaging 45 points per game in his last three outings entering the tournament, the Raptors Uprising point guard would begin Game 1 a perfect 12-for-12 shooting from the field. Kenny would end up scoring 28 of his team’s 48 points in the half as Toronto would carry a 19-point lead into the break after starting the second quarter on a 24-4 run.

The second half was more of the same: Kenny continuing to get his way. And when Gen.G finally decided to start sending an aggressive double team his way, the natural scorer would turn facilitator, dropping nine dimes throughout the contest as one through five, the team from the North would take turns knocking down open looks.

Production wise, centre Sick One was the second most impactful Raptors Uprising player, finishing with 14 points, 15 rebounds, and six assists on seven-for-eight shooting. Timelycook also managed eight points, six dimes, and six steals on an unfamiliar archetype.

Kenny, meanwhile, ended the contest with 51 points, eclipsing the 50-point plateau for the fourth time in 2020. It was also the fourth consecutive appearance in which the franchise’s all-time leading scorer notched 41 points or more, as Raptors Uprising would take Game 1 (91-69).

Ahead of Game 2, teams were allowed to ban one additional archetype. Gen.G, as expected, elected to take away “Scoring Machine” from point guard, while Raptors Uprising decided to prohibit “Perimeter Defender” from the small forward position.

The Tigers’ strategy to slow Kenny down appeared to pay off early when the expansion side found themselves up 10-0 to begin Game 2.

In a hole, on a west coast connection, and with Kenny on a new archetype, Raptors Uprising found themselves in an unfamiliar spot but refused to give up. Using a timeout as a way to get settled, it’d be centre Sick One stepping up out of the pause, scoring eight points on a perfect four-for-four shooting from the field as Toronto would go on an 18-10 run to close out the frame.

And like in Game 1, Raptors Uprising would catch fire in the second quarter.

Recording just four points on one-for-five shooting in the opening frame, Kenny Got Work would adapt to his new archetype, driving more in the paint, eventually notching 14 points in the quarter. Toronto as a team would outscore Gen.G 22-9 in the frame and would carry an 11-point lead into halftime.

While at this point it may have been easy to get complacent—leading by double digits, 12 minutes away from advancing to the quarter-finals—Raptors Uprising, as they’ve done all year, instead stayed hungry, especially on the defensive end.

Toronto would allow just 23 points in the second half, outscoring Gen.G 41-23 in the final two quarters to take Game 2 (81-52) and send the Tigers packing for the second time in 2020.

Using a “Sharpshooting Defender” archetype, Kenny Got Work finished the second game of the series with 35 points, nine assists, and six steals, while ReeceMode added 21 points on eight-for-10 shooting and Sick One flirted with another triple double.

“Way not to fold in Game 2,” Kenny Got Work told his teammates after the win. “They started out on a 10-0 run, Jerry (Sick One) came and got us a clutch bucket—we very much needed it—and Timely got us a clutch stop and we never looked back since then.”

“Bans, no bans, east coast, west coast it doesn’t matter, we’ll flood them anyways,” added MLSE Esports Manager Shane Talbot. “We’re not celebrating yet boys, lots of work still left to do.”

The win guarantees Raptors Uprising at least $11,700 USD, but as Talbot alluded to, there’s still a ton of money up for grabs.

Teams are competing for the largest prize pool in league history: $260,000 USD. 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 TURN is the second tournament of the year. After capturing THE TIPOFF Tournament in June, Raptors Uprising—unbeaten in their last 21 matchups in all competition—will try and become the first team in NBA 2K League history to win the first two tournaments of the year.

UP NEXT: Raptors Uprising will face the defending NBA 2K Leauge champions T-Wolves Gaming in the quarterfinals on Friday (5 pm EST). As always, fans can watch THE TURN Tournament in its entirety via the Twitch Command Center, which is available on the NBA 2K League’s Twitch channel. The competition will also be available on Sportsnet and ESPN’s digital platforms, plus streamed on the league’s YouTube channel.