The NBA 2K players tournament wrapped up Saturday night following a thrilling set of matchups that saw Devin Booker come out on top.
Game one on the day pitted the eventual champion of the Phoenix Suns Devin Booker against the Los Angeles Clippers Montrezl Harrell. Booker, the outright favorite to win the tournament, came into the match following a dominant 71-55 victory against Washington Wizards rookie Rui Hachimura.
In the first match of the best-of-three, Booker decided to play with Harell’s Clippers, using it as a stepping stone to chirp him.
“Don’t you be in practice with him,” Booker said following a steal with Kawhi Leonard, that led to a fast break score for the game's second basket.
Booker’s number one fan was in attendance, his dog who jumped in his lap after the conclusion of the second quarter which saw Booker leading 39-29.
Their gap in skill was apparent with Booker running it up to a 68-54 victory, often coming across as cocky and arrogant in route to the win, finishing the game off with a miss while using Harell’s video game counterpart.
Again in match two, it was Booker who came out victorious, this time edging out Harrell 65-62 in a tighter contest, while using the Raptors. The win helped Booker book his ticket into the finals where he eventually claimed the title of winning the NBA 2K players tournament.
The second semifinal coincidentally saw both Booker and Harell’s teammates play when Patrick Beverly of LA ran into Phoenix’s Deandre Ayton.
Looking to create an all-Phoenix final, Ayton surprisingly elected to play with the Brooklyn Nets, and wait out using either of NBA 2K’s premier teams the Milwaukee Bucks or the Los Angeles Lakers.
The opening matchup was back and forth with just one basket separating the two at halftime, which finished 33-31 and barely gave Ayton the lead following his shot with 1.9 seconds left in the quarter.
Beverly, who chose to use the Boston Celtics, was the more polished player getting a higher percentage of his shots to drop finishing the game shooting 60 percent. Ayton, on the other hand, was reluctant to wait for good shots to open up, often forcing shots in coverage, and just simply throwing the ball away with his poor passes.
However, even with Ayton going on countless cold streaks with Kyrie, his play with Kevin Durant on both offense and defense, as well as his 10 triples, were enough to seal out a 75-69 victory in game one.
“You a gangster gangster,” Beverly said when Ayton chose to lock in his own team the lowly rated Phoenix Suns in match two.
On his opening basket of the contest, Ayton gave viewers a treat by throwing himself up an alley oop.
“Get up D.A., hey that’s what I be doing, is that me,” Ayton said following the basket.
Ayton’s confidence was unmatched, running the score up to an early 8 point lead at 13-5, before finishing the opening quarter up 24-14 following three triples.
While using his own team, Ayton put on one of the more comical games of the night giving off a banterish atmosphere with the constant exclamations he was making about his current teammates in game.
Led by his dominance with his own video game counterpart who put up 19 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists, Ayton cruised to a clean sweep of Beverly, closing out the contest with a scoreline of 74-67.
With the all Phoenix finals locked in, Ayton was capable of opening the series with arguably one of the best teams in the game, coming in the form of the Los Angeles Lakers. His Suns teammate Booker countered with the Houston Rockets to set up game one of the finals.
The first quarter ended in a deadlock with the finals off to a thrilling start after Booker and Ayton traded blows to an even 14-14 contest.
Though Ayton was piloting the Lakers, the matchup played out, as if it never should have been a close contest. Ayton again showcased the tendency to just pull up for shots in defenders' faces and miss.
It was a one-sided finish with the final ending 72-62, as Booker distanced himself from Ayton shooting 63 percent compared to Ayton’s lesser 53 percent. The stats alone showed the story of the affair with Booker boasting a whopping 13 triples and beating Ayton on boards on both sides of the ball.
Game two of the finals saw Ayton come out with the stronger team again, as he came in using the Milwaukee Bucks against Booker and the Denver Nuggets.
With the score already at 48-40 early in the third quarter, Booker went on a seven point run to extend his lead to 15 with a little under two minutes to go in the third. The quarter ended with Booker still holding a commanding 10 point lead over Ayton.
When the horn sounded, it was Booker who was expectedly victorious, cruising to a 74-62 finish. As oddsmakers predicted, Booker steamed through his opponents going undefeated throughout the tournament, with the 3-point win in the second semifinal matchup against Harrell being the closest of his contests.
Even though Ayton struggled throughout the two-game sweep, he has to be commended for making it there and for employing the strategy of not using the super teams until the finals, even if it didn’t work out.
At the end of the day his teammate, Devin Booker was too much for anyone to handle, as he took the honors of being the first NBA 2K player’s tournament winner, as well as the honor of the NBA, NBA 2K, and the NBA Player Associations combined $100,000 donation towards COVID-19 relief being donated in Booker’s name.