Raptors Uprising captures THE TIPOFF tournament, wins first banner in franchise history

TORONTO, Canada—40 matches played. 23 teams. One champion.

Raptors Uprising GC continued their historic season Friday evening, defeating Kings Guard Gaming GG (2-0 series) to capture THE TIPOFF tournament title and take home $70,000 USD.

Unbeaten in 2020, Raptors Uprising entered the tournament with high expectations and did not disappoint. Winners of 16-straight dating back to the regular season, the team only dropped one series game throughout the entire tournament.

“It was a lot of pressure,” Kenny Got Work told the NBA 2K League broadcast after the win. “It started on draft night when we drafted Timelycook—a lot of people laughed at us. They were wondering if he still had it, if I still had it. They weren’t talking about my boy (Sick One), the best centre in the league. Legit 973, they said he was just a sympathy pick because he’s Sick’s brother. ReeceMode, they held him out the league two seasons and now he’s here: Logo Reece! That’s what we call him.”

It was another one-through-five effort for Toronto, who found different ways to build on their momentum throughout the evening. First, the team had to really dig in against their semifinal opponents Gen. G Tigers of Shanghai, who they faced earlier in the evening.

After handing Gen. G their first loss of the tournament to win Game 1 (70-66)—a game which saw all five Toronto starters finish in double-digit scoring—Raptors Uprising began Game 2 of the best-of-three slowly. That allowed Gen. G to open up some breathing room, courtesy a 12-point first-half lead.

But with time still on the clock, Raptors Uprising would continue to chip away at the deficit and bring the game to within one-possession with seconds remaining. Unfortunately, a rushed Timelycook three-point attempt at the buzzer wouldn’t fall for Toronto as Gen. G took Game 2 (67-70).

Playing for an additional $30,000 USD and a spot in the tournament final, Raptors Uprising and Gen. G would go back-and-forth in the third and decisive game.

Shiftykaii, who scored 76 points earlier in the tournament, would continue to bring it for his side, helping Gen. G jump out to a two-point advantage at half. But as they’ve done all season, Raptors Uprising would come alive in the third quarter, outscoring their opposition 21-9 in the frame.

Kenny, in particular, came alive in clutch, finishing the contest with 34 points and six assists on 13-of-18 shooting, including connecting on six-of-eight from downtown, as Toronto would take Game 3 (72-67).

The victory set the stage for a Raptors Uprising and Kings Guard Gaming final—two teams with intertwined history. Timelycook played for Sacramento in Season 1 before he was selected by Toronto in the first-round of this year’s draft, while Toronto-native Yusuf_Scarbz played for Raptors Uprising during Season 1 before he was taken 53rd-overall in the Season 2 draft.

But this time around, it’d be Timely’s Raptors Uprising getting the last laugh.

From beginning to end, Toronto would come out knocking down greens, connecting on 68.9 per cent (31-for-45) of their shots in the opening game of the best-of-three series. They’d go on to win all four quarters and make a statement in Game 1 (76-57).

Kenny would lead all scorers, finishing with 23 points and nine assists, while ReeceMode would provide solid secondary output in the shape of 17 points of his own—including knocking down a triple from the half-court logo that sent the Twitch chat into a frenzy.

With ice in his veins, rookie power forward Legit 973 would also come up with one of his biggest performances of the year, finishing the opening game of the finals with a career-high 15 points. His brother Sick One, meanwhile, recorded his 10th straight double-double of the tournament.

Raptors Uprising would carry their momentum into Game 2, really taking advantage of a demoralized-looking Kings Guard Gaming team.

While Sacramento kept things respectable through the first half, the second half was all Toronto who outscored their opponents 47-22 in the final two quarters. 12-of-15 shooting from downtown was a major help for Toronto, who would go on to blow out Kings Guard (79-49) and capture the first tournament of the year.

Sacramento point guard Bash, who averaged 27.7 points in the semis, was held to just 13 in both games thanks to stellar defence led by Timelycook, who also chipped in with 15 points offensively in the series clincher.

Once again, however, it was Kenny Got Work leading the way for Raptors Uprising. He’d finish with his third 30+-point performance of the evening as the Raptors Uprising’s all-time leading scorer would go on to be named THE TIPOFF Tournament MVP.

“It feels wonderful, man,” said Kenny Got Work. “To bring that (award) down to the 6ix, all of this hard work is paying off. I appreciate it!”

MVP Kenny would finish the finals averaging 28.0 points, 9.5 assists, on 69.6 per cent shooting from the floor. The Raptors Uprising leader was also deadly from beyond the arc, connecting on an eye-opening 81.8 per cent of his shots from three.

The award marks Kenny’s fourth individual accolade of the season. In addition to be named Player of the Week twice, Kenny was named the NBA 2K League Player of the Month for May.

“I want to be known as one of the greats,” said Kenny Got Work, when asked about the work he has put in. “I don’t want to be known as someone who’s just a good player, I want to be known as a great player. I didn’t want to cheat myself, I wanted to put the time in. And I was blessed with this great group of guys behind me, they make my job easy!”

With the win, Raptors Uprising earn their first tournament title in franchise history. Prior to capturing THE TIPOFF, the furthest Toronto had made it in a tournament was the quarter-finals.

After one of the most dominant performances that the league has ever seen at a competition, Raptors Uprising won’t have much time to celebrate as they are back in action on Tuesday.

UP Next: Raptors Uprising (9-0) will continue to try and rewrite history when they take on Magic Gaming (2-5) on June 23 (9 p.m. ET). Toronto is going for its record-tying 10th regular-season win in a row, while Orlando will attempt to play spoiler. As always, fans can stream the entirety of Raptors Uprising matches in the command centre via Twitch.