Grizz Gaming’s initial trip to New York for THE TIPOFF didn’t go as planned, losing all four games in pool play, but the team will move forward and focus on its matchup on Saturday at 10 a.m. CT against Pacers Gaming. The game tips off the team’s 14-game inaugural regular season presented by America’s Navy.
The main area of improvement for the team will need to be in the turnover department after committing 38 in its final two games, but fans should be encouraged by dominant performances from AuthenticAfrican and the consistency of UniversalPhenom at THE TIPOFF.
In the team’s first two games of the tournament, Authentic African put up 25.5 points, 13.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game and posted team season-highs of 31 points against Celtics Crossover Gaming and 16 rebounds against Heat Check Gaming. On UniversalPhenom’s ledger, he posted three double-digit scoring performances and one double-digit rebounding outing.
“Mey was amazing last week in the post,” said Grizz Gaming General Manager Lang Whitaker. “We’ve really stressed playing inside-out and establishing that inside game. I feel like that’s something that’s been a focus of ours and we’re going to try to continue doing that this week.”
The team’s opponent, Pacers Gaming, was in Group D along with Grizz Gaming and finished pool play 3-1 before falling in the quarterfinals to Blazer5 Gaming. The squad from Memphis had a rough outing last Friday, falling 69-45 to a Pacers squad that was led by WoLF 74 (Bryant Colon). Colon had 30 points on 13-of-21 shooting and was unstoppable at the rim.
“We played Indiana last week, so we have some experience playing against those guys and they’re a great defensive team,” said Whitaker. “Wolf is a load, he’s tough to stop. We’ve prepared and we’ve got a game plan, now we just have to go out there and execute.”
Whitaker stressed one part of his plan in particular.
“Team defense. We’ve got to make sure that if he gets by his man that someone else is there to help out. We try to stop him, but he’s a great player and I don’t know if any one guy can stop him. In that case, we have to help out and help each other out, be on a string and play as a group. Defensively, I think we’re capable of doing that.”
Fans can live stream the game at twitch.com/nba2kleague.