TORONTO, Canada—It’s a marquee quarter-final matchup in the $260,000 THE TURN Tournament as the undefeated Raptors Uprising GC will take on defending NBA 2K League champions T-Wolves Gaming for the first time this season.
Winners of 21-straight series in all competition, the No. 1 seed Raptors Uprising (13-0) enter Friday’s win-or-go home matchup fresh off a (2-0 series) sweep over Gen.G Tigers of Shanghai in the Round of 16. The team looked in form, winning their games by an average margin of 25.5 points, highlighted by a 51-point performance from point guard Kenny Got Work.
The No. 8 seed T-Wolves Gaming (6-5), meanwhile, were able to hold off NetsGC in their Round of 16 tilt (2-0 series). Season 2 NBA 2K League Finals MVP BearDaBeast turned facilitator at point guard, averaging 14.5 points and 16.5 assists, while rookie shooting guard Big Saint stepped up, scoring a combined 50-points on 21-for-27 shooting from the floor.
The defending NBA 2K League Champions T-Wolves Gaming had high expectations coming into Season 3 after bringing back four of their core pieces—BearDaBeast, JMoney, Feast, and JoJo—from their 2019 playoff run. The team also went out and added former Raptors Uprising player Detoxys and first-round pick Big Saint at the draft, and after starting off the year strong at 5-1, the T-Wolves had those around the league pegging them as a potential favourite.
Unfortunately, Minnesota hasn’t been able to live up to those expectations, dropping four out of their last five games heading into THE TURN, but they’re a team, as we know, that can get hot at the right moment and Thursday’s win over NetsGC—their first since June 24—was a step in the right direction. They’ll try and carry their momentum over into Friday and make a statement by upsetting the No. 1 seed.
As fans witnessed on the opening two days, an added twist returning to THE TURN this year is the “Archetype Ban” concept.
In the first game of each match during the tournament, each team will determine two archetypes that cannot be used in the match by either team. In the second game, each team will then select an additional archetype that cannot be used. No further archetype restrictions will be implemented if the series goes to three games.
With a well-rounded starting lineup, Raptors Uprising are confident they’ll be able to adapt, regardless of which archetypes their opponents decide to ban.
T-Wolves Gaming and Raptors Uprising will meet for just the second time since Minnesota joined the NBA 2K League last season. Toronto earned their first win of the season in Week 3 a year ago against the eventual champions (64-59). On that day, Kenny Got Work, making his first start of the season at point guard, went four-for-five from beyond the arc and finished with 14 points, while BearDaBeast struggled with just 10 points on four-for-11 shooting.
Both sides look drastically different, however, and Friday’s matchup, with the archetype bans, should make for a captivating affair.
As mentioned, Teams are competing $260,000 USD—the largest prize pool in league history. The winner of THE TURN will earn nearly half of the prize pool, with the remainder being awarded to the second- to eighth-place teams (first place – $117,000; second place – $52,000; third and fourth place – $22,100 each; fifth to eighth place – $11,700 each).
With eight teams left in the competition, both Raptors Uprising and T-Wolves Gaming have already guaranteed themselves at least $11,700 with an additional $10,400 on the line tonight.
Like the regular season, the quarter-final matches will be played in a best-of-three series, with the winner of each matchup advancing to Saturday’s semifinals.
THE TURN is also the second tournament of the year. After capturing THE TIPOFF Tournament in June, Raptors Uprising—unbeaten in their last 21 matchups in all competition—will try and become the first team in NBA 2K League history to win the first two tournaments of the year.
Key Matchup to Watch: Sick One vs. Feast – Two of the better centres around the NBA 2K League community, Sick One and Feast will go head-to-head on Friday evening in what should make for a very entertaining matchup down low. Two players with great attention to detail, entering THE TURN, Sick One and Feast were top-15 in the NBA 2K League in rebounds per game and blocks per game. Neither player had their “Two-Way Athletic Finisher” archetype banned in the Round of 16, as Sick One averaged 15 points, 16.5 rebounds, and 6.5 assists in Toronto’s win over Gen.G, while Feast averaged 14 points, 19 rebounds, and three blocks in Minnesota’s win over NetsGC. They both have the ability to make an impact on the offensive end, but it may be their presence on the defensive side of the ball that makes the difference Friday evening.
Stat to Watch: -5.5 – Raptors Uprising did a great job taking care of the basketball on Thursday vs. Gen. G Tigers of Shanghai, turning over the ball a combined 18 times in two games versus the Tigers’ 35 turnovers. Coming into THE TURN, Raptors Uprising averaged 5.5 less turnovers per game than their opposition in regular season play and if they can translate that efficiency into this tournament, look out!
How to Watch: Fans can watch Raptors Uprising play Gen.G Tigers of Shanghai in its entirety via the Twitch Command Center, which is available on the NBA 2K League’s Twitch channel. The competition will also be available on Sportsnet and ESPN’s digital platforms, plus streamed on the league’s YouTube channel.