When the 2019 NBA 2K League season tipped off back in April, 21 teams shared a mutual goal: qualify for the playoffs. Fast-forward three months, and unfortunately for the majority of those teams, they’ll walk away from this competitive campaign disappointed.
Two of the teams walking away disappointed are Raptors Uprising GC (7-8) and Knicks Gaming (5-10), who will both wrap up their underwhelming seasons Thursday night when the two squads go head-to-head for the first time this year. Neither side has had the 2019 they envisioned when the league tipped off back in April, as both teams had their sights set on consecutive playoff berths, especially defending NBA 2K League Champions Knicks Gaming.
New York has struggled all season long after earning their spot in the post-season a year ago by virtue of winning The Ticket. Unfortunately, Knicks Gaming couldn’t quite replicate their tournament magic this time around, falling in the semifinals to Pacers Gaming (44-50). Their regular season has just been a write off. New York has been outscored by an average margin of roughly 6.0 points per game and their only wins of the year — before playing spoiler Wednesday night against Bucks Gaming (62-56) —came against lowly Lakers Gaming (3-12), Pistons GT (1-14), and Hawks Talon GC (5-9) sides.
Toronto, meanwhile, has had an up-and-down season themselves. Despite overcoming a 10-point first-quarter deficit in their previous outing against Pistons GT, Raptors Uprising put their playoff hopes essentially to bed last week after failing to get by Heat Check Gaming (55-63). The team from the North — who has persevered through some tough moments as a group these past two seasons — would’ve been in contention had they pulled out another comeback against Miami, but unfortunately Toronto dug themselves into a hole that they couldn’t get out of.
“I have a competitive group of guys,” said Raptors Uprising Coach Ognjen Micic on his team. “They hate losing more than anything. Everything they do turns into a competition. Resiliency is just a part of our team’s culture.”
Kenny Got Work leads the way for this resilient Raptors Uprising side, as the versatile Memphis-native enters the final game of the season averaging 16.3 points, 5.3 assists, and 1.6 steals in his second year with Toronto. G O O F Y 7 5 7, meanwhile, is the player to keep an eye out for from Knicks Gaming. The talented second-year centre enters Week 12 leading the NBA 2K League in rebounds (14.8 per game) while also chipping in 14.7 points and 5.3 assists.
And despite little to play for, expect these two teams to still come out firing as Raptors Uprising hope to wrap their 2019 season up on a positive note.
““We’re going to come out and give it all we got,” said Coach Ogi. “We’ll try and end the season at .500. It wasn’t the expected finish for this talented group of guys but that’s the situation we’re in. It’s a league full of competitive teams. Those that make the playoffs should be proud.
“I told my guys, ‘Let’s go out there and have fun. Play like it’s in the basement and enjoy the moment.’ We probably won’t make the playoffs but let’s finish strong by evening out our record.”
Key Matchup: Teammates describe him as a “walking bucket” according to Raptors Uprising Coach Ogi, and that’s what we’ll expect out of Doza if he lines up on an offensive archetype at small forward this week. The 2019 first-round pick has appeared mostly at point guard this season but has certainly shown he is capable of making an impact on the game at the three. He enters Thursday averaging 11.0 points and 6.1 assists through 11 regular-season contests with Raptors Uprising. New York will counter with their own 2019 first-round pick OriginalMalik at small forward, as the ever-dangerous rookie has been red-hot recently posting back-to-back 23-point performances. Zero in on this matchup, as these are two of the more exciting players to watch when on their game — especially when the pressure is off.
Where To Watch: Tune in live to Twitch.tv/RaptorsGC Thursday night to catch Raptors Uprising in action as they look to conclude their 2019 season on a high when they take on G O O F Y 7 5 7 and his Knicks Gaming side. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. ET.