Down 56-44 headed into the 4th quarter, Heat Check Gaming decided to deep dive into their playbook and unleash a series of effective actions and sets.
The result? A team that may have likely been the first NBA 2K League champions.
Seconds into the final quarter, Los brought the ball up and ran a simple two man game with Dropoff. We hadn’t seen this all game, and it coincidentally resulted in a clean look at a three for Los. This was his first bucket of the game.
Heat Check GC would go on to outscore New York 22-13 to end game 1.
Fast forward to game 2, and Miami jumped out to a 21-15 lead. Why? They ran a few of Jalen’s signature back door cuts from the left corner, and he finishes the opening quarter with 6 points, only two less than Hotshot.
Including the 4th quarter of game 1, Heat Check GC would go on to outscore Knicks Gaming 61-40 by halftime of game 2.
Below is a set the Heat ran and followed up with a clever counter action. It is by far my favorite set play of the entire 2K League playoffs.
Frame 1: Even outside of the 5-out, Hotshot is the engine behind this set. With Majes7ic and Jalen providing spacing in the corners, Hotshot lines up Nate like he’s going to isolate him. Instead, it’s a quick pass (still 19 seconds left on shot clock) to Los.
Frame 2: Immediately after the pass, Hotshot sprints to the left and sets a screen for Dropoff. Yey is either not ready for this or is just unable to fight over the screen. Meanwhile, Nate must honour the roll by Hotshot and is caught in no man’s land.
Frame 3: This results in one of the most open looks we’ve seen throughout the entire playoffs. And of course, Dropoff delivers with a clutch 3 that would help the Heat eventually draw within a single point.
Frame 1 (Counter Action): Now let’s check out this fantastic variation of the previous play. Whether it was by design or through improvisation, it really displays the Heat’s basketball IQ. Again, it begins with Hotshot setting up the isolation, and passing it to Los on the wing. Note, the timing of the shot clock on the play is also identical speaking to Miami’s determination to quickly get into their sets.
Frame 2 (Counter Action): This is when things change. With dropoff hitting the previous three off the same look, Yey positions himself above the screen even before Hotshot gets there. Nate is also camped out closer to the top of the key instead of at the elbow.
Frame 3 (Counter Action): Heat Check GC is ready for this, and Dropoff immediately cuts toward the basket. Thankfully for the Knicks, they have finals defensive MVP Nate who makes a great read and blocks off the pass.
Frame 4 (Counter Action): This then leaves the door open for Hotshot to flash towards the opposite elbow. Los quickly dumps the ball to him, and Hotshot hits the open mid range jumper. Again take note of the timing. Because there is still 15 seconds left on the shotlock, Hotshot can reset the play if the smaller Yey decides to pick him up. Instead, Yey is forced to quickly run out to Dropoff who is dashing towards the three point line as Nate would have been unable to chase him out that far.