Memphis, Tenn. — Grizz Gaming, the NBA 2K League affiliate of the Memphis Grizzlies, had their season come to an end following a 2-1 series loss to Knicks Gaming on Thursday night in the first round of the 2021 NBA 2K League Playoffs presented by DoorDash. Thursday night in Dallas, Texas marked the return of in-person play for the first time since the 2019 season. Grizz Gaming finished the season 19-12, good for the best record in franchise history under Head Coach/General Manager Lang Whitaker.
|Grizz Gaming||Knicks Gaming||W, 80-47|
|Knicks Gaming||Grizz Gaming||L, 63-75|
|Grizz Gaming||Knicks Gaming||L, 55-76|
Grizz Gaming’s offense was clicking on all cylinders in Game 1. The Grizz ripped off a 20-5 run across the first and second quarters to stretch their lead to 61-33 over the Knicks at the halftime break. Vandi (Zach Vandivier) took over the game starting in the second quarter, to make sure the Knicks would stay out of reach, scoring 26 of his points in the final three quarters. The Grizz limited the Knicks’ star point guard Duck (Chris Pesos) to just 5-of-16 shooting down the stretch. Memphis’ squad limited Knicks Gaming to just 14 points in the second half as they cruised to an 80-47 victory in Game 1.
In Game 2, Grizz Gaming shot 60 percent from the floor in the first quarter, but they turned the ball over three times without forcing any turnovers from the Knicks. Knicks Gaming held a 21-15 lead after one following a 14-point first quarter from Duck on 5-of-6 shooting. Grizz Gaming struggled with the turnover bug all game, coughing the ball up 11 times, compared to just four times from Knicks Gaming. New York took advantage and out-scored Grizz Gaming 39-32 in the second half as they evened up the series at 1-1 with a 75-63 victory. Vandi led Grizz Gaming with 26 points and six assists. Chess (Kory Taylor) added 15 points and three assists. Duck tallied a game-high 39 points to go with eight assists on 16-of-24 shooting.
Game 3 was win or go home for both teams – with the winner set to face Hornets Venom GT in the quarterfinals. Knicks Gaming got off to a phenomenal start grabbing a 13-point lead after the first six minutes of play. Grizz Gaming was limited to just 10 points in the opening quarter. Both teams traded baskets in the second quarter, scoring 17 points apiece to give the Knicks a 40-27 lead at the half. Grizz Gaming was unable to muster a comeback in the second half, with the Knicks cruising to a 76-55 victory and advancing to the quarterfinals. Four of Grizz Gaming’s players scored double figures, led by Vandi’s 17. AuthenticAfrican (Mehyar Ahmed-Hassan) wrapped up a stellar season with 12 points and nine rebounds. Duck totaled 34 points and eight assists in the series-clinching Game 3.