Raptors Uprising clinch first place in 2020 NBA 2K League regular season, go 2-0 in historic Week 11

TORONTO, Canada—The unparalleled 2020 Raptors Uprising GC season continues.

Raptors Uprising (15-0) went 2-0 in Week 11, sweeping a pair of west-coast foes to clinch first place overall and become the first team in NBA 2K League history to record 15 wins in a regular season.

“It’s been a season of records, but that’s a huge one,” said MLSE Esports Manager Shane Talbot to his team after Thursday’s game. “No doubt, you guys have come in and absolutely dominated this remote Season 3…”

Unbeaten in their last 24 matchups in all competitions entering Week 11, Toronto’s professional NBA 2K League squad were able to first extend their winning streak in the regular season to 14 games on Wednesday, downing Kings Guard Gaming (2-0 series) in an electrifying back-and-forth battle—one that many fans dubbed “the matchup of the season.”

Looking for revenge after Raptors Uprising ousted them at both THE TIPOFF and THE TURN tournaments, most recently in a nailbiter on Saturday in THE TURN semifinals, Kings GG (10-5) came out hooping on their home court, getting out to an early 5-0 start to begin Game 1. But on the back of 13 Kenny Got Work first-quarter points, Raptors Uprising would answer with an 11-2 run of their own to maintain a one-point lead after the first six minutes. The rest of the game would sway back and forth as Kings Guard Gaming led 32-31 at the half and then 51-48 after the third.

With little-to-no room for error in the fourth quarter, it’d be Toronto showing off their composure down the stretch. Trailing by two points with 3:08 left in the game, Kenny Got Work would keep his cool to knock down a long three, giving Raptors Uprising a one-point lead. A turn-around jumper from rookie ReeceMode would extend the lead to three points, as Kings Guard Gaming would have an opportunity to tie the contest with 2.7 seconds left. But as they’ve done all season, the team from the North’s defence would lock in and force Kings GG power forward Dat Boy Shotz to settle for an uncontested two as time would expire, giving Raptors Uprising the (64-63) Game 1 win.

Kenny Got Work would finish with 32 points on an efficient 14-for-19 shooting, while the Jersey Boys, brothers Sick One and Legit 973, would combine to record eight steals and 16 rebounds—more than the entire Sacramento team.

Facing defeat against Raptors Uprising for the third time in 40 days, Kings GG would come out confident in Game 2, jumping out to a 24-17 lead at the end of the first quarter. Toronto would claw their way back into the mix, flipping the script to carry an eight-point lead midway through the fourth quarter. But credit to Sacramento, they refused to go down without a fight.

After a 14-6 run would tie the game at 70 apiece, a three from Bash in the corner with 24.6 seconds remaining put an amped Kings GG squad up by three. However, with the game still within one possession, a missed free throw would give Toronto the ball back down by two with 7.2 seconds left on the clock. Point guard Kenny Got Work would take the inbound pass, set up at the top of the arch, and find a cutting Sick One below the basket. The ever-consistent centre would lay the ball up just before time expired, sending Game 2 to overtime.

In the three-minute overtime, it’d be Sacramento ramping up the pressure on the undefeated Raptors Uprising, gaining a three-point lead with under a minute left. The team from the North knew they needed something special, and that’s when their leader and star point guard Kenny Got Work—who’s already having an unprecedented season—would come up with a candidate for Play of the Season.

The three-time Player of the Week, one-time Player of the Month, and two-time Tournament MVP would make a high-IQ read defensively, leaving his man open to knock the ball away with 24.6 seconds left on the clock, before receiving an outlet pass on the fast break and shocking everyone by pulling up to connect on a three to tie the game at 80-80. A great rotation on the defensive end then allowed Legit 973 to come up with a huge block at the buzzer, forcing the game to double-overtime where Kenny would continue to take over. Including his three to tie the game, the frontrunner for MVP would score 13-straight points as a 10-2 run in the second extra frame put Wednesday’s contest out of reach. For the sixth time this season, Kenny Got Work would finish with 50 or more points in a game, ending with 51 points, eight assists, and four steals on 81.5 per cent (22-for-27) shooting, as Raptors Uprising would take Game 2 (92-89).

“Just absolute dog fights against the Kings, way to prevail” said Talbot to his team after Wednesday’s win. “You stayed levelheaded, you stayed focused on the goal, and look, we’ve got the mentality down in those late-game situations and you guys keep proving that big-time players make big-time plays.”

With the win, Toronto tied two of the NBA 2K League’s all-time records, previously held by Blazer5 Gaming: most wins in an single season (14) and consecutive regular-season victories (14), both established by Portland in Season 2. It also set the stage for what would be a historic night the following evening.

With a chance to cement their spot in NBA 2K League history once again, Raptors Uprising would take on a Lakers Gaming (3-12) team, who were playing some of their best basketball of the season. Winners of two out of their last three, L.A. and Canadian rookie point guard Sav would turn a few heads, jumping out to an early nine-point lead.

However, Lakers Gaming are 0-4 lifetime against Toronto for a reason, and that reason is Kenny Got Work. Averaging 44.5 points against the Season 2 expansion side this season, Kenny would help Raptors Uprising finish the quarter on a 7-0 run to head into the interval stuck two. Coming out of the break and with Kenny in his groove, the rest of the team would begin to step up, spelling some serious trouble for the second-last-place team in the league. Legit 973 and ReeceMode would each connect on open looks from beyond the arch, while Timelycook came away with two of his game-high seven steals in the quarter, resulting in easy transition buckets the other way as Toronto carried an 11-point lead into halftime.

Wanting to become the first team this season to beat Raptors Uprising, Calgary native Sav’s 36 points and 16 assists would help Lakers Gaming put up a fight until the very end, however, Toronto never really looked threatened, eventually taking Game 1 (90-86). Kenny would notch a game-high 42 points, 11 assists, and five steals—including his second-straight six-for-six performance from three—while four out of the five Raptors Uprising starters finished in double-digit scoring.

In Game 2, Lakers Gaming would continue to keep things interesting, opening up a two-point lead after the first. But as they’ve done countless times this season, Sick One and Kenny would team up once again, helping Raptors Uprising outscore Lakers Gaming 28-15 in the second quarter. Sick was eight-for-eight from the field with 16 points at the half, while Kenny had 14 points, nine assists, and four steals.

Like in Game 2, Raptors Uprising would carry an 11 point lead heading into the third, but this time, the team from the North would keep their foot on the gas pedal, winning each of the final two quarters to take Game 2 (99-68) and become the only team in NBA 2K League history to win 15 games—let alone 15 straight games—in a season.

Kenny Got Work would finish the series clincher with 36 points, 14 assists, and eight steals—once again going six-for-six from beyond the arch to make it a ridiculous 18-for-18 in his last three games. Brothers Sick One and Legit 973 also combined to score 42 points while Timelycook added 16 and eight steals in the record-breaking win.

“First of all, good work tonight and yesterday,” Kenny Got Work told his teammates after the game. “15-0, constantly making history, let’s close out strong next week!”

The only franchise to win the first two tournaments of the year, the 15-0 Raptors Uprising have already set the NBA 2K League record for best start to a season, the record for points scored in an individual game (twice), and they were the fastest team to ever clinch a playoff spot. After tonight’s historic feats, what’s next for this extraordinary franchise?

UP NEXT: The undefeated Raptors Uprising will look to cap off their momentous 2020 campaign with a win in their regular-season finale Aug. 7 vs. Cavs Legion GC (4-7). Two teams with intertwined pasts, Cavs Legion boasts two former Raptors Uprising players, Doza and All Hail Trey, while Sick One will face his former squad for the first time since joining Toronto via trade midway through last season. Can Raptors Uprising complete the unthinkable and go a perfect 16-0 in the regular season? Only one team stands in their way.