Two sweeps, two ferocious dunks, and two crucial lineup moves saw Warriors Gaming Squad move to 8-3 after week eight of the 2020 regular season.
Matty, the team’s fourth-round pick in the 2020 draft, made his season debut against Hawks Talon GC and started at power forward in both week eight series. The former collegiate point guard previously played for Pacers Gaming in 2019, and his starts at power forward were the first non-point guard starts of his NBA 2K League career.
The other lineup change saw Gradient and Bsmoove swap positions, with Gradient moving to the slashing defender at shooting guard and Bsmoove using the three-level scorer archetype (a build with more shooting ability than his previous build) at small forward.
Both moves paid immediate dividends.
— NBA2KLeague (@NBA2KLeague) June 30, 2020
On June 30, WGS took on Hawks Talon GC in a make-up of a previously postponed game and made the wait worth it. Trailing by four points with nine seconds remaining in game one, WGS scored four quick points after Matty forced a game-saving steal with five seconds to play. Warriors Gaming Squad went on to win 73-69 in overtime as CB13 scored 36 points and Gradient turned in a career-high 29 points on his new archetype.
The second game, with all the momentum on the side of WGS, was a rout, as the team shot 11/11 in the first quarter and romped to an 89-66 win. Gradient immediately set a new career high with 31 points, while both CB13 (16) and Slaughter (9) set career-highs in assists, part of a 31-assist effort from WGS as a whole. The win snapped a three-game losing streak and marked WGS’s first sweep since week five.
Warriors Gaming Squad kept its momentum through its second series of the week, against Hornets Venom GT. While Type, the two-year WGS starter taken first overall by Hornets Venom GT in the expansion draft, didn’t start either game, WGS played to the heighted stakes nonetheless. Warriors Gaming Squad jumped out to an 18-6 lead in the first quarter of game one and never looked back, cruising to a 73-52. CB13 turned in a 38-point, 8-assist performance, while Gradient scored over 20 points for the third straight game.
💫 The 360 slam dunk! 💫
— Warriors Gaming (@WarriorsGaming) July 3, 2020
The train rumbled along in game two, where a seven-point game through three quarters turned into an 89-65 rout. Gradient threw down two otherworldly dunks in the team’s 34-point fourth quarter, en route to another 22-point game and a subsequent Player of the Week nomination. Slaughter added a 14-point, 15-rebound double, while WGS shot 70% from the field as a team in game two.
“I loved the way the team played this week,” Gradient said. “Matty came in when asked and it was a seamless transition for him. For me, the new archetype honestly provides more defense and offense and it gives me many more opportunities to impact the game… and especially make highlight plays.”
Back again with another great performance (and 2 stellar dunks), today's #WGS MVP presented by @TanduayUSA goes to @Gradient for his offensive and defensive locks throughout the series! pic.twitter.com/DzFV9ZP8e8
— Warriors Gaming (@WarriorsGaming) July 2, 2020
Warriors Gaming Squad set a franchise record for regular-season wins with the team’s eighth win of the regular season. The team won four regular-season games in 2018 and seven in 2019.
“I was very happy with our week eight performance,” head coach Mike Newton said. “We’ve struggled the past couple of weeks, so to pick up two big wins and grow together as a team will always put a smile on my face.”
WGS will have the chance to extend its regular-season streak against 2019 champions T-Wolves Gaming (6-5), who eliminated WGS in the semifinals in 2019.