Star point guard Kenneth (Kenny Got Work) Hailey led the way as Raptors Uprising GC rallied in overtime in the deciding game Thursday to down Blazer5 Gaming and preserve its unbeaten record in NBA 2K League esports play.
The Raptors (8-0) had a slow start, losing 57-50 after being outscored 15-4 in the final quarter of Game 1 before rallying to win Game 2 convincingly 101-55. Toronto won the rubber match 75-70 in OT, snuffing out a Blazers comeback as Portland (4-5) lost its fifth straight.
The Blazers trailed 52-45 after three quarters in Game 3 but forced overtime after a late charge knotted the score at 61-61. Portland outscored Toronto 14-9 in the fourth.
Down 59-58, Blazers star point guard Nidal (Mama Im Dat Man) Nasser tied it with a free throw but missed his second attempt. He redeemed himself with a late bucket to force OT and finished the game with 44 points.
It was all Toronto in overtime, starting with back-to-back three-pointers.
The Raptors came into play Thursday as the league’s only unbeaten team after Warriors Gaming Squad lost to Jazz Gaming on Wednesday to drop to 6-1.
The win extended Toronto’s franchise-record win streak to eight and matched its single-season wins total with eight games remaining. The Raptors finished with an 8-6 record in the inaugural 2018 season and went 8-8 last season.
The series featured a battle of elite points guards with Nasser, the 2019 league MVP, facing Hailey, who has earned a player of the month and two player of the week awards this season.
Hailey totalled 103 points over the three games Thursday while Nasser had 102.
The Blazer5 roster also features centre Dayne (OneWildWalnut) Downey, the 2018 MVP.
The Raptors close out the week Friday against Celtics Crossover Gaming (0-6).
Hailey was a force in Game 2 with 45 points and 11 assists. Centre Jerry (Sick One) Knapp had a triple-double with 10 points, 20 rebounds and 13 assists.
Hailey then poured in 37 points and added 10 assists to help decide Game 3. Knapp contributed 10 points and 17 rebounds.
Hailey had 21 points and six assists in Game 1 with Trent (Timelycook) Donald adding 18 points on 7-of-7 shooting.
The league switches its focus next week to The Tipoff, the first in-season tournament of the 2020 season. All 23 teams will compete in the tournament remotely from their local markets for a total prize pool of US$160,000.
Raptors Uprising will face both Blazer5 Gaming and Lakers Gaming twice on June 17 in Group 6 play.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 11, 2020.
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