Doza returned to the lineup to score 18 points against his former team as Raptors Uprising got past Pistons GT 56-47 in a well-rounded effort to advance to the bracket round of The Turn tournament in Las Vegas.
After sitting out the last three games, Doza entered Thursday’s contest averaging just four points after a slow start to the regular season, however, the 2019 Raptors Uprising first-round pick showed up in this one. Using a shot-creating sharpshooter at point guard, the former Pistons GT player made it rain all night, finishing with 18 points and three assists — including 10 points in the second quarter.
And coming into the single-elimination tournament this year, the league introduced an “Archetype Ban” where prior to every game, each team selects one archetype base that both sides would not be permitted to use. After the pure lockdown shooting guard was banned, TsJosh shifted to small forward as a pure lock where he picked up right where he left off: shooting lights out. The second-year player, who entered Thursday’s contest tied for the fourth-best field-goal percentage in the NBA 2K League, finished with 10 points on a perfect four-for-four from the field — including two dagger three’s with under a minute to go to seal the victory for his Raptors Uprising squad.
With the win, Toronto’s Raptors Uprising have earned the opportunity to redeem themselves from an ugly 27-point loss when they take on Bucks Gaming in the next round on Friday.
The team from Milwaukee enters Friday’s first-round contest fresh off the impressive 77-50 Week 4 win over Raptors Uprising last Friday. Plondo led the way for Milwaukee’s professional NBA 2K team in that matchup, posting a colourful stat line of 17 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists, seven steals, and two blocks on 8-of-13 shooting from the floor, while power forward Big Meek finished with a game-high 27 points on 10-of-11 shooting.
But as Raptors Uprising Coach Ognjen Micic notes, his squad has learned a lot from that tough defeat.
“We have worked on a lot of things since that loss to Bucks Gaming,” said Coach Ogi. “Everything the Bucks did last game, we predicted and had a game plan for, but obviously didn’t execute it. The guys now have a better understanding of what ‘controlling your emotions’ means. If you let frustration get to you, you will make even more unnecessary mistakes. It’s a domino effect and next thing you know, you’re down 27 points in the fourth quarter. Sticking to and executing our game plan has to be a priority.”
Kenny Got Work will lead the charge for Raptors Uprising, as the second-year player finished with 20 points last time out against Bucks Gaming and leads all Raptors Uprising scorers averaging 16.2 points and 4.6 assists through five regular-season contests.
And despite being held to just two first-half points last time out, Arooks is still the player to watch for Bucks Gaming entering this contest. The sharpshooter is currently second in league scoring, averaging 24.2 points and 5.0 assists on 54.6 per cent shooting, lining up at small forward in his second season with the squad from Milwaukee.
Raptors Uprising will try to break new ground this season after making it to this stage of The Turn last season, losing to the eventual champions Blazer5 Gaming (62-72). The winner of Friday’s game between Raptors Uprising and Bucks Gaming will advance to the quarterfinals Saturday where they’ll take on the winner of Kings Guard Gaming and Magic Gaming.
Key Matchup: This one was the matchup to keep an eye on the last time these two teams played — and it lived up to expectations. Plondo was the difference maker for Bucks Gaming in that contest and is averaging a full stat line of 12.2 points, 13.0 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 2.7 steals, and 2.2 blocks through six games this season. KingQuai614 isn’t one to back down from any matchup and his fifth-most 13.4 rebounds per game, 7.4 points, and 2.4 steals back that up. Once again, keep a close eye on the big men in this one as “Archetype Bans” once again make the key matchup difficult to gauge.
Where to Watch: Tune in live to twitch.tv/RaptorsGC at 8 p.m. EST to catch your Raptors Uprising in action as they hope to move past Bucks Gaming and advance to Saturday’s quarterfinals.