BOSTON – The NBA 2K League will take a break from the regular season this week when all 23 teams take part in the four-day, 60-game TIPOFF tournament, powered by AT&T. Such a change of pace could be a great opportunity for the Celtics Crossover Gaming team to reset itself following an 0-7 start to the campaign.
While seeking to gain momentum, CLTX will also be fighting for a share of the $160,000 prize pool, of which $70,000 will be awarded to the winner, $50,000 will go to the runner-up, and $40,000 will be split evenly between the third- and fourth-place finishers. In addition, the first-place team will also earn the first of three links in the BANNER CHAIN, which represents each of the three in-season tournaments.
However, before even thinking about the cash and the hardware at stake, CLTX must first make its way through the group stage Tuesday night. This will consist of a quadruple-header split between two opponents – Jazz Gaming and Mavs Gaming – who are both among the top seven teams in the league, possessing a combined record of 10-4.
CLTX will start things off at 6 p.m. with a two-game series against the 4-1 Jazz, who last week handed Warriors Gaming Squad its first loss of the season. During Game 1 of that series, rookie point guard Splashy set a pair of franchise records by tallying 44 points and knocking down nine 3-pointers. He wound up scoring 100 points over the course of the three-game tilt and was later named Week 6 Player of the Week.
Another Jazz player to keep tabs on is 2019 No. 1 overall draft pick Ria, who has stuffed the stat sheet this season to the tune of 15.6 points, 14.2 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 2.5 steals, and 2.4 blocks per game. During the last week’s series-deciding Game 3, the center tallied a monstrous double-double of 20 points and 18 rebounds.
Ria will likely find himself matched up against another solid all-around center in TooxCool, who has emerged as a rebounding machine for CLTX over the last two weeks. TooxCool has logged 10 consecutive double-digit rebounding performances, including a season-high 20 boards last week against Hornets Venom GT. He’s currently averaging 7.6 points, 11.9 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 2.1 blocks, 1.5 blocks per game.
CLTX forward Easy could bring some extra intel into this matchup, as he faces off against his former team for the first time. Easy was selected by Jazz Gaming in the second round of the 2019 Draft and played seven games in Utah last season before being traded to Heat Check Gaming, so he may be somewhat familiar with the playing style that he and his new teammates will be going up against tonight.
Immediately following Game 2 against the Jazz, CLTX will shift focus to its 8 p.m. matchup against Mavs Gaming.
The Dallas-based team boasts a strong backcourt, featuring leading-scorer Sherm (22.3 PPG) and 2018 No. 1 overall pick Dimez. However, those two guards will have their hands full as they attempt to contain the red-hot oFAB, who has scored 30-plus points in 10 of his last 13 outings and is averaging 32.4 points and 6.9 assists per game on the season.
As a slashing scorer, oFAB’s biggest challenge this week will be avoiding PeteBeBallin (3.3 BPG) in the paint. The Mavs center has been a menacing presence at the rim all season long, as he currently finds himself one swat away from being the overall league-leader in blocked shots.
After wrapping up its second series of the night, CLTX will kick back and watch the Jazz and Mavs face off for the final two games of group play. Whichever of the three teams finishes with the best record of the night will advance to the quarterfinals.
Given that there are only seven groups, there will also be one wildcard team to fill the eighth and final spot in the next round. The wildcard will be determined by the following tiebreaker scenarios:
- Winning percentage within group of pool play rounds
- Head-to-head record within group
- Average points differential within group
- Average points scored within group
- Technical fouls accumulated throughout the NBA 2K League regular season
- Random Draw
CLTX is no stranger to success in this tournament, having finished as the 2019 TIPOFF runner-up. The squad is hoping to rekindle such fortune this week, as it seeks a share in the prize money and an opportunity to gain momentum for the second half of the regular season.