Week five proved quite the test for the now 10-4 Grizz Gaming heading into their second bye week of the regular season. They had a back-to-back with the defending 2K League Champion Wizards District Gaming Team, then the following night a back-to-back against 76ers Gaming Club.
The Wizards showed exactly why their the defending champions on Friday night against the then first-place Grizz. Washington did to Memphis, what Memphis did to Blazer5 Gaming in week four — let one guy get off, but don’t let anyone else join him. For the Wizards, they limited Grizz Gaming Point Guard Vandi’s production, while letting Shooting Guard Chess get free for Memphis.
While it was nice to see Chess2K go nuts in that matchup, a team in Grizz Gaming had no offensive adjustments to get Vandi more involved. Not only that, but the Wizards defense showed why it’s the best in the 2K League. Memphis averaged 58 points per game in their two matchups against the Wizards on Friday night, as they entered Friday night averaging 74 points per game.
Memphis was swept by the Wizards on Friday night, and tasked with a 6-4 76ers Gaming Club looking to gain ground on Memphis in the Eastern Conference. Resiliency has been the one thing that hasn’t been asked from this Grizz Gaming club this season, and with a sweep the night before, it was nice to see the guys snag game one from the Sixers.
The Grizz defense looked better in game one, after the first quarter in which they were outscored 20-15 by Philadelphia. The second and third quarter Grizz Gaming’s defense helped them keep 76ers Gaming at arms distance, as they would cruise to a 70-61 victory.
Grizz Gaming’s offense has been what separates this team from being great. In game two, Memphis’ defense was solid, but their offense was atrocious. Shooting 38.8 percent from deep, and right at 50 percent from the field, Memphis’ offense has to be more efficient. Memphis held Philadelphia to 60 points in game two, averaged close to 14 points per quarter, which isn’t going to get the job done.
What we learned at the conclusion of week five:
Make no mistake about it, Grizz Gaming is finally a playoff team. Their defensive side alone will win them games, but their offense has to be more whole. It felt like Wizards District had everyone involved on the offensive side of the floor. Where the Grizz took something away offensively against Washington, the adjusted possession by possession. Memphis has to find that identity on the offensive end.
The Grizz showed signs of what their offense could be with Vandi and Chess in the backcourt, but there is still a lot to growth to come between those two guys. I almost feel spoiled at times watching that backcourt work nightly, and I forget how much basketball they haven’t played together.
I feel like the only missing to complete that duo is more use of Authentic African in the pick n’ roll. Double-A gives Memphis three ball handlers in a way. His efficiency off the pick ‘n’ roll, passing, scoring, and even resetting when something is not there has been great this season for Grizz Gaming — also one of the reasons Authentic is in MVP discussions. Have to utilize your horses down the stretch of games, and let the game come to those role players.
A successful start to the season for Memphis at 10-4, and a great time for a bye week this week for the 2K League, as this team needs rest heading into week six.
Grizz Gaming will be back in action win week six, as they’ll take on Hornets Venom and Magic Gaming.