Coming into Week 10 of the NBA 2K League regular season, T-Wolves Gaming needed to win both of their games to keep their playoff hopes alive. Technically speaking, they’ve needed to win every regular-season game they’ve played dating back to Week 8 — they were the beneficiary of a bye week in Week 9 — to get into the playoffs on their own and without any “help” from other teams.
It was a tall order for a T-Wolves Gaming squad who has experienced some significant struggles this season. From lineup and coaching changes to communication issues and their inability to finish off opponents in the fourth quarter, many members of the 2K community virtually wrote this team off and hoped for a productive offseason.
However, the members of T-Wolves Gaming have stayed totally focused. Michael “BearDaBeast” Key has been virtually unstoppable in this four-game stretch, taking his game to heights many didn’t know he possessed. Josiah “JoJo” Oetjen has been hitting clutch shots in nearly every game. Jordan “JMoneyRep817” Martinez has filled the offensive hole left behind by Brandon “Hood” Caicedo better than anyone would have guessed and has been a huge factor in turning their season around.
It seems like all the pieces of the puzzle are fitting together for this team. The players are loose during games, clearly communicating offensive and defensive schemes with each other and keeping their composure when the pressure is on. T-Wolves Gaming has become a personification of the term “better late than never” and it’s clear they do not plan on taking their foot off the gas any time soon.
Game #1 – Warriors Gaming Squad
There has been a little bit of controversy surrounding this Warriors Gaming Squad recently. Despite being the first team to clinch a playoff spot this year, the first team to ever win two tournaments in a single NBA 2K League season, and possessing two DPOY candidates and an MVP candidate, Warriors Gaming finds themselves in the midst of a four-game losing streak.
Rumors have been swirling around this team’s recent play. The most popular rumor is a claim that Warriors Gaming is purposefully losing games in an effort to play on the studio’s away side, so they can take advantage of a “glitch” that allows visiting team’s point guard to use an unlimited speed boost.
The claim that the visiting team has any competitive advantage over the home team has been shot down by the league and many of its players and coaches. Josiah Cohen of Dimer 2K describes these rumors, and the Warriors recent skid, much better than I can in this recent article, but regardless of the reasoning behind the losing streak, T-Wolves Gaming was looking to take advantage of it.
Although the scoring column would suggest otherwise, this game never really felt close. T-Wolves Gaming was much more motivated and lively than the Warriors right from the opening jump, and while a few deep 3-pointers kept the Warriors within striking distance late into the game, it never felt like they were going to jump out in front.
BearDaBeast, who finished the game with 17 points and 15 assists, proved to be a problem that a lackadaisical Warriors Gaming Squad had serious issues solving. Any time they were able to pin him down on the offensive end, he dished the ball to JMoneyRep817 (16 points) or JoJo (18 points) for easy buckets.
Most notably in this game was the T-Wolves ability to control the ball and complete their passes, forcing 12 turnovers while only committing seven of their own.
It’s no secret how much of a struggle ball control has been for this team this season, and this has been a focus for the team over the last few weeks. Proper communication and choosing their spots more carefully has improved immensely, and it’s showing every single time they step on the court.
Game #2 – Kings Guard Gaming
Similar to the first game of the night, this matchup, despite the final score, was never really all that close. Much like Warriors Gaming, Kings Guard Gaming has essentially wrapped up a playoff spot this season (Josiah Cohen of Dimer 2K has their playoff odds at 99 percent) and might be honing it in a bit until the regular season is over.
Whether or not that is true, T-Wolves Gaming was looking to capitalize on their opponent’s indifference and keep their momentum rolling, and they did exactly that. With T-Wolves Gaming jumping out to a 30-15 lead after the first quarter, many people in the studio were wondering if we were in for another blowout performance like the one we saw in Week 8 against Hawks Talon GC.
Fortunately for Kings Guard GC, they were able to make a few good runs in the second half to make the game seem interesting, but it still felt like T-Wolves Gaming was in control the entire time, ultimately cruising to a 51-45 victory,
BearDaBeast had another spectacular game, putting up a double-double yet again with 18 points and 11 assists. JoJo sprinkled 14 points and eight rebounds on top of that, along with JMoneyRep817, Mihad “FEAST” Feratovic and Christopher “TURNUPDEFENSE” Anderson combining for another 19 points to put this one away.
In his post-game interview, BearDaBeast had this to say about the team’s four-game winning streak:
“Them boys some dogs, they don’t stop fighting! We lost three games this season up, by like, 20-plus. A lot of teams can lay down. You can quit, you can roll over, you don’t wanna play no more. But we like, ‘Man, we got five games left! Let’s make something shake!’ So, we doing what we supposed to do.”
Josiah Cohen of Dimer 2K currently lists T-Wolves Gamings odds of making the playoffs at 25 percent. In Week 11 — two weeks from now, the league is off next week in observance of the July 4 holiday — the T-Wolves have games scheduled against two teams that have already been eliminated from playoff contention. Knicks Gaming, and a matchup that is sure to be interesting against Heat Check Gaming, the team they sent Brandon “Hood” Caicedo to in their trade for JMoneyRep817.
After that in Week 12, they will play against a very, very good Blazer5 Gaming team who is currently riding a 12-game winning streak and has already locked up their spot in the playoffs.
While I certainly cannot predict the future — and as we have learned already in this NBA 2K League season, quite literally anything is possible — it’s hard to deny that if the T-Wolves continue playing as they have in recent weeks. They might defy all the odds and make their way into the playoffs.
Regardless of how things shake out over the last few weeks of the season, the remarkable turnaround this team has experienced over the last month has got to give hope to the franchise as well as it’s fan base.
It’s been a tumultuous season, but we now see what this team can achieve when there are no distractions, and the team can simply focus on winning.