TORONTO, Canada—It wasn’t how they drew it up, as the defending champions Raptors Uprising GC, NBA 2K League affiliate of the Toronto Raptors, were eliminated by Blazer5 Gaming in the opening round of THE TURN Powered by AT&T Wednesday night.
Raptors Uprising, who were coming off a three-game winning streak in the regular season, were feeling confident heading into this matchup. But unfortunately for Toronto, a poor start out of the gate put them behind the eight ball in Game 1 of the best-of-three series.
Thanks to the play of former 76ers GC veteran BreadwinnerLA, who dropped 11 points on 4-of-4 shooting, three rebounds, three assists and four steals, in the opening half, Blazer5 Gaming (8-8) jumped out to an early 25-13 lead after the opening quarter and would carry an 11-point lead into half.
Portland would expand that lead to 15 heading into the fourth quarter, where Raptors Uprising, as they have shown all season, would battle it out until the very end. Reigning MVP Kenny Got Work, was doing everything he can to help his team out, finishing the contest with a game-high 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting, including knocking down six three-pointers, but in the end, it wasn’t enough as Toronto would drop the opening game by a score of 81-73.
Need to be better out the gate in game 2. pic.twitter.com/K00elmAy8v
— Raptors Uprising GC (@RaptorsGC) July 14, 2021
All five Portland starters would finish in double-digit scoring, with Bash, G O O F Y 757, and BreadwinnerLA combining for 61 points.
“Bread gave them the spark in the first game, he came out with four steals, he was hitting his shots, grabbing his boards, making good reads,” said TsJosh after the game. “And Scretty, when Bash was struggling, he was keeping them in the game. They played as a team and everybody contributed, and that’s probably what they did right.”
Facing elimination, Raptors Uprising would come out firing in Game 2, quickly jumping out to an eight-point lead. Kenny Got Work would continue his strong play, pouring in 15 points and six assists in the opening two quarters as Toronto would maintain their eight-point lead and carry a 40-32 edge into the break.
That’s when things began to go sideways for the defending TURN champions, as Blazer5 Gaming looked like a completely different side in the second half. An 11-3 run to start the third quarter flipped the script, and just like that, it was Toronto trailing by one point heading into the final frame.
With the game still in the balance, Bash, who was kept in check for most of this contest, would come alive for Blazer5 Gaming. The third-leading scorer in the NBA 2K League would pour in 14 points in the fourth quarter to lift his side to victory, sending Raptors Uprising home early.
— NBA 2K League (@NBA2KLeague) July 15, 2021
“Sorry for not performing like we should have in both tournaments,” said TsJosh. “I know last year y’all didn’t lose a series in a tournament, so it’s kind of different this year out. But it’s a long season still, we still have 10 games to play left. And just know that we’re going to fight until the end.
“Like I said, we’re on a three-game winning streak, so there’s still something to build on. We’re not going to let this loss dwell, we’re still on a three-game winning streak, and just look out for us. We’re not done, we’re still going to fight, and we’re still going to compete!”
Raptors Uprising will shift their focus back to the regular season, where they’ll take on Celtics Crossover Gaming on Wednesday July 21. With plenty of basketball still to be played, the team is hoping to carry over their momentum from Week 6 into Week 7 and build off what has been a strong start to the second half of the season.