TORONTO, Canada—One team stands between Raptors Uprising and their first-ever shot at a tournament title.
After making quick work of Bucks Gaming in the quarter-finals on Thursday night, Raptors Uprising GC will face off against Gen. G Tigers of Shanghai in a best-of-three series for a spot in the finals of THE TIPOFF tournament, presented by AT&T.
The NBA 2K League’s two international teams will go head-to-head for the first time since Season 3 expansion team Gen. G was established in 2020.
“Gen. G are a very tough opponent,” said small forward ReeceMode. “They are one of those teams that if you blink, you could be down 20. Right now, though, our mindset and what we’ve been telling ourselves is that we’re the only team that could beat us, and that’s how we genuinely feel.”
Taking it one match at a time, Raptors Uprising (9-0)—undefeated in regular-season action—have yet to drop a game in the tournament, winning all six of their contests by an average of 28.7 points. Star Kenny Got Work has led the way, averaging 36.3 points and 9.8 assists, controlling the tempo at point guard, while centre Sick One has been as dominant as they come inside, recording six double-doubles in as many games.
Shooting guard Timelycook, meanwhile, continues to lead Toronto’s relentless full-court press, shutting down three of the NBA 2K League’s premier point guards in 2020 in his last three games: Reigning MVP Mama Im Dat Man, NBA 2K League leading-scorer SAV, and most recently, Regg. He’ll have another tough task matched up against Season 3 sixth-overall pick ShiftyKaii and the Gen. G Tigers.
Gen. G (4-4) is the only other unbeaten team in THE TIPOFF, advancing out of Group 6 as the lone wildcard seed in the tournament. Like Toronto, they took care of group-stage opponents Blazer5 Gaming and Lakers Gaming before sweeping Cavs Legion GC to advance to Friday’s semifinals.
With four teams in Group 6 as opposed to three, Gen. G and Toronto avoided playing one another in pool play, however, their paths will cross with a bit more on the line Friday night.
Teams are competing towards a total prize pool of $160,000 USD, as well as the first of three tournament banners on the year. The total prize pool will be shared among the final four teams of the tournament (first place – $70,000; second place – $50,000; third and fourth place – $20,000 each).
Winners of six in a row dating back to the regular season, Gen. G likely won’t be a walk in the park for Raptors Uprising. The Tigers possess a deep lineup, led by 2020 sixth-overall pick ShiftyKaii.
The rookie point guard averaged 31.5 points, six assists, and three steals in their series win over Cavs Legion, and Killey has provided solid output from the power forward spot, which is typically one of the lowest-scoring positions in the league.
With five rookies on their roster, Gen. G is the only NBA 2K League franchise based outside of North America. They do compete out of Gen. G’s Los Angeles HQ, however, boasting a 4-4 record in regular-season play.
As the higher seed, Raptors Uprising—winners of fourteen straight dating back to the regular season—will have home-court advantage.
“Tonight, I just want our fans and our supporters to sit back and enjoy the show,” said ReeceMode. “It’s going to be a good one.”
The winner of Gen. G and Toronto will advance to the Finals, set to take place later Friday evening. In the other side of the bracket, Jazz Gaming and Kings Guard Gaming will battle it out for their spot in the finale.
Stat to Watch: 0 – The amount of times that Raptors Uprising have been to a final. The team flipped the script in the offseason, bringing in four new faces, and with that, success has followed. There were question marks about whether or not Toronto would be able to perform under pressure heading into the tournament, but those are likely out the window after seeing them breeze by Bucks Gaming in the quarter-finals. After breaking through to their first-ever semifinal last time out, look for the team from the North to continue the ascension Friday night.
Key Matchup: Both Raptors Uprising and Gen. G Tigers possess deep lineups, one through five. They’re two teams who aren’t afraid to make the extra pass and trust their teammates. With lockdown defender Timelycook already slowing down some of the best point guards in the league this season, it’ll be interesting to see how he approaches this matchup vs. Shiftykaii—a point guard who isn’t afraid to dish it off if he’s being put under too much pressure. If Timely can force Shifty to settle for moving the rock, it should create a few turnovers that Toronto can turn into easy transition buckets.
How to Watch: Fans can watch Raptors Uprising play Gen. G Tigers (7 p.m. EST) in its entirety via the Twitch Command Center, which is available on the NBA 2K League’s Twitch channel. The TIPOFF matches will also be streamed on Sportsnet and ESPN’s digital platforms and the league’s YouTube channel. The finals of the tournament will take place following the conclusion of both semifinal matchups.