After three straight wins to start off the group stage, Raptors Uprising GC fell to their first defeat of the season at the hands of NetsGC.
With a 3-1 record heading into their final matchup of group play, Toronto has already clinched a spot in next week’s round of 16.
Ahead of Tuesday’s game, many eyes were on the matchup at centre between Dimez and the Nets’ Shotz. While Dimez has only played in the position for a handful of games, it was Shotz and Brooklyn who provided quite the tough encounter for Toronto.
A low-scoring first quarter (11-15) left the game wide open to start. Both teams played dogged defence, limiting three-point shots and any form of creativity from the respective guards.
The second quarter then saw the Nets take control and establish a 13-point lead at halftime. Turnovers were an issue for Toronto, as well as Brooklyn continuing to slow down Fanta and co. on offence.
As Raptors Uprising pushed to turn things around in the second half, Brooklyn’s switch defence remained a problem for Toronto’s offence. Despite Fanta getting into the game a little more, Raptors Uprising’s potential comeback was hindered by more turnovers.
It was much of the same for Toronto in the fourth as they scored just five points in the final six minutes of play.
For the second time in four games, Dimez finished with a double-double, while also leading the team in scoring with 14 points on the night. Fanta was also in double digits with 11 points to his name, including nine points from beyond the arc.
Despite a tough loss against a tough opponent, head coach Kevin Franklin said this result was just the wake-up call the squad needed ahead of in-person play.
“Getting a little bit of a wake-up call early, especially during THE TIPOFF and before in-person studio play, I think is honestly beneficial for the team,” said Franklin.
“Obviously no one wants to lose, but facing adversity in the comfort of our new facility is something I’d rather do than on stage in Indiana where it’s a best of one and loser goes home.”
Kevin also heaped praise on Dimez for yet another impressive performance at centre:
“Him going from point guard to centre is insane for this season.”
“How comfortable he’s been after four games and averaging a double-double just speaks volumes to how good of a 2K player he is in general.”
On the rookie front, Franklin was also optimistic that Fanta would learn from a defeat like this given that he’s four seasoned veterans by his side.
“The good thing about him getting this out early is that we’ve got four veterans on the team and two players who’ve played point guard at a very high level. We’ve got the clientele to help him get out of this bump and I’m not too worried for him to hit that stride again.”
To conclude group play, Raptors Uprising face off against Knicks Gaming, where a victory will help secure a top seed heading to bracket play in Indiana.
Tipoff is set for 7pm EST, with the game available to stream live on both the NBA 2K League’s Twitch and YouTube accounts.