TORONTO — Raptors Uprising GC improved its unbeaten esports record to 5-0 Tuesday with a best-of-three series victory over Knicks Gaming in the NBA 2K League.
Toronto opened with an 83-65 win before recording the sweep with a 78-72 decision. Knicks Gaming fell to 1-2.
Due to the pandemic, the esports league is staging games remotely rather than at its New York studio. Each series win represents a game in the standings with teams playing a 16-game regular season.
Kenneth (Kenny Got Work) Hailey led Toronto with 37 points in Game 1 while Trent (Timelycook) Donald added 26. Rookie point guard Chris (Duck) Charles led the Knicks with 24 points.
Defence helped trigger a 13-0 run for the Raptors in a first quarter that saw Hailey score 13 points and account for three of his team’s five steals as Toronto built a 22-16 lead. Hailey won the league’s player of the week honours in Week 1.
The Raptors led 43-28 at the half with Hailey (20 points) and Donald (17) combining for 37 of Toronto’s first-half points. The Knicks had 12 turnovers in the first half with seven coming from Charles, the second overall pick in the February draft.
Toronto centre Gerald (Sick One) Knapp, a finalist for player honours in Week 2, had 11 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists for his ninth double-double of the season.
The Knicks turned the ball over 16 times, often in the face of tenacious Toronto defence.
Game 2 was closer with the Knicks leading 37-35 at the half. Toronto regained the lead in the second half with Hailey finishing with 32 points and Maurice (ReeceMode) Flowers adding 28, with eight three-pointers.
Knicks Gaming won the inaugural league title in 2018 but has gone through a total roster overhaul since then.
Raptors Uprising meets Hawks Talon GC on Thursday in the first-ever meeting between the two.