While there are no live NBA games for the time being, it doesn't mean there isn’t basketball to watch. NBC Sports Chicago is playing old Bulls games while the NBA Twitch channel and ESPN have been playing classic games. They most recently played Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals between the Warriors and Cavaliers. Now there is another competition underway and it’s the NBA 2K Players Tournament.
The tournament, which is being broadcasted on ESPN2, will feature 14 players facing off against each other on NBA 2K in a single elimination competition. As per the NBA’s website, the winner of the tournament will be crowned champion and will select a charity to receive a $100,000 donation from the NBA and 2K Sports. It’s a fun game for a good cause.
When it comes to seeding, players were ranked by their 2K rating. The pool included athletes such as Kevin Durant, Trae Young, Donovan Mitchell, and the Bulls very own Zach LaVine. With an 85 rating, LaVine was seeded 7th and was slated to face Phoenix Suns center DeAndre Ayton. Here is look at how the bracket looked before todays games.
LaVine chose to play with the Miami Heat while Ayton chose the Houston Rockets. It was a fun contest overall despite LaVine being down double digits at a few stages in the game. The players were also being live-streamed so it offered for some good conversation. From talking about Shaq Harrison to discussing their favorite arenas to play in, both LaVine and Ayton gave good sound bites. Zach once again confirmed that he is done with the dunk contest.
Zach LaVine reiterates he’s done with the dunk contest.— Rob Schaefer (@rob_schaef) April 4, 2020
“I didn’t have anything left to prove... Only thing left was that 360 from the free throw line.” Says he’s made it one or two times
Ayton: “That don’t even sound normal, bro.”
Despite being down 14-5 in the first quarter, LaVine battled back in the second to make it a two-point game at the half. At the start of each quarter, Ayton would build a lead and forced LaVine to make a comeback. The third quarter saw him re-up the deficit to nine before LaVine splashed a pair of threes to cut it to three. He had a chance for the tie with a three in the corner from Tyler Herro but it spun out.
With a team like the Rockets, Ayton kept things simple by feeding the ball to Russell Westbrook and James Harden, allowing the Houston stars to flourish offensively. He found open shooters on the three-point line and began to pull away in the final quarter. Ayton went on a 10-0 run to start the fourth and it was too much for LaVine to overcome. In the end, the final score finished 57-41 as the 10th seed upset the 7th seed.
LaVine tweeted out his thoughts on the game afterwards.
Not the best @NBA2K player was my first time playing in a long time. Was still fun tho ♂️— Zach LaVine (@ZachLaVine) April 4, 2020