Raptors Uprising look to bounce back with matchups vs. Hawks Talon and Hornets Venom

TORONTO, Canada—Raptors Uprising GC, NBA 2K League affiliate of the Toronto Raptors, are back in action this weekend with a pair of matchups against Hawks Talon GC and Hornets Venom GT.

Toronto, who became the first team in NBA 2K League history go undefeated in the regular season in 2020, is coming off back-to-back losses to the defending NBA 2K League champions Wizards District Gaming to open the season. Raptors Uprising hadn’t dropped a regular season game in over a year, so fans can expect that the team will be looking to bounce back with a vengeance.

This season, instead of a best-of-three format like in 2020, teams will play two games against one another, with each result counting towards the regular season standings.

Up first, Raptors Uprising (0-2) will take on Hawks Talon (1-3) on Friday night in a rematch from THE TIPOFF Tournament powered by AT&T. Their last meeting resulted in Atlanta surprising the defending TIPOFF champions, taking home both group stage games (73-63 and 76-65).

“We’ve already played them before, so we’re kind of familiar with each other,” said TsJosh. “We know they’re going point guard heavy—a lot of teams are, but theirs is more back court with Ceez and KelMav. We just need to do our job, we’re obviously going to watch film from when we played them, we have to watch film on what happened [last week], we just have to play us and we’ll be straight. We’ll get it together.”

2021 11th-overall pick Ceez, who many were surprised to see start in place of perennial MVP candidate BP at point guard, looked good against Toronto in his NBA 2K League debut, combining for 57 points and 18 assists in their two wins.

He’ll once again be a huge factor for Atlanta, who are now 2-1 lifetime against Raptors Uprising in all competitions, but have stumbled to begin the regular season, losing twice to Hornets Venom GT and splitting a pair of games against Grizz Gaming in Week 1.

Tipoff between these two sides is slated for 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. EST.

Then on Saturday, the team from the North will get their first look at a revamped Hornets Venom (2-0) side, who are looking to build on what has been a strong start to their year.

After being eliminated by Raptors Uprising in the quarter-finals of the NBA 2K League playoffs in their first year in the league, Hornets Venom made quite a few moves in the offseason in hopes of improving on what was a strong inaugural year.

After swinging a deal that sent Type to Raptors Uprising, they brought in veteran point guard Sherm and centre PeteBeBallin after two seasons in Dallas. Small forward Trap was the lone player redrafted along with 2K League newcomers in Rigby, Crown, and Toronto native Dhuggz—a player who represented Canada Basketball at the FIBA Esports Open this offseason.

After winning both games against Atlanta in Week 1, this new-look Charlotte team will be wanting to carry that momentum into Saturday night’s matchup in hopes of picking up their first win over Raptors Uprising, in what will be their third-ever head-to-head meeting.

Tipoff is set for 9 pm and 10 pm EST.

KEY MATCHUP TO WATCH: Ceez vs. Timelycook—Hawks Talon rookie Ceez has turned heads early on this season from the point guard position and was a thorn in the side of Raptors Uprising at THE TIPOFF Tournament, combining for 57 points and 18 assists in their two wins on 56.1 per cent shooting from the floor. But he’ll be matched up against the reigning NBA 2K League Defensive Player of the Year once again, and it’s not very often that Timelycook doesn’t make your life as a point guard extremely difficult. If Timelycook and the rest of the Raptors Uprising defence are on their game, it could be a long night for the Hawks Talon rookie.

STAT TO WATCH: Defence. Defence. Defence. In their first two games of the season against Washington, Raptors Uprising allowed an average of 83.5 points. Last season, in 36 regular season contents, Toronto allowed just 65.5 points per game. The team has put a lot of emphasis on improving defensively, so keep an eye on how that plays out this week.

HOW TO WATCH: Raptors Uprising and Hawks Talon GC will tipoff at 7 pm EST before once again squaring off at 8 pm EST Friday night. Toronto will then take on Hornets Venom GT on Saturday night with tipoff set for 9 pm and 10 pm EST. As always, fans can tune in on the NBA 2K League’s Twitch or YouTube channels.