Knicks Gaming completed their worst-to-first run through the playoff bracket to win the inaugural NBA 2K League championship on Saturday, sweeping Heat Check Gaming 2-0 at the NBA 2K League Studio Powered by Intel in New York City.
Seeded last among the eight postseason qualifiers after finishing the regular season 14th overall in the standings, the Knicks won as many games in the postseason (five) as they did before the playoffs began. The Knicks (5-9 in the regular season) knocked off four straight higher-seeded opponents to win The Ticket, the third tournament of the season, and earn an automatic bid to the postseason.
The Knicks take home $300,000 for winning the league title. The Heat, seeded sixth in the bracket, get $100,000 for the runner-up finish.
On Saturday, Adam “iamadamthe1st” Kudeimati, Eric “YEYNotGaming” Ward and Idris “Idrisdagoat6” Richardson helped the Knicks jump to an early lead in Game 1, scoring 32 of the team’s 36 first-half points. Down 12 after three, the Heat did what they have done throughout the playoffs — turned to Juan “Hotshot” Gonzalez to be their entire offense. The plan nearly worked, as the Heat pulled to within three with less than a minute to go.
But Nathaniel “NateKahl” Kahl blocked a layup that could have drawn the Heat to within one, then the Heat turned the ball over after reeling in the loose ball. Hotshot finished with 44 points, but the Knicks finished with three more points than their opponent, winning 69-66.
It was quite a different story in Game 2 but also quite a way to cap a championship season. With the Heat once again leaning on Hotshot (38 points), the Knicks fell behind early and struggled to get back into the game. An 11-point deficit at halftime was still as much as nine in the fourth quarter for the Knicks.
But, despite all the surprises they pulled off all postseason, the Knicks did something they never had done before Game 2 … got double-digit scoring from all five members. The balanced attack allowed the club to get back into the game, and Finals MVP NateKahl provided the clinching plays. He dropped 12 points in the game, and half of them came down the stretch to give the Knicks the lead for good. He also turned up the defense on Hotshot late in the game, doing just enough to allow the lead to stand and his team hold on for a 74-71 win.
Center Dayvon “G O F Y 757” Curry was also huge down the stretch, scoring 18 points and dominating the glass — including three straight offensive boards on one possession that ultimately led to a Knicks three.
–Field Level Media