After Thursday’s quarterfinals on ESPN2, four players emerged victorious in the NBA 2K20: Suns Devin Booker goalkeeper, Clippers big man Montrezl Harrell, Phoenix center Deandre Ayton and Clippers goalkeeper Patrick Beverley. Come on ESPN on Saturday, Booker will face Harrell and Ayton will face Beverley, the winners winning a final place in what was a heated top eight for the tournament.
Thursday’s games started with a bang as Booker blew up Washington Wizards forward Rui Hachimura 71-55, followed by Harrell ahead of Miami Heat forward Derrick Jones Jr. 71-66. However, the best matches were in the last two of the evening.
The confrontation between Ayton and Atlanta Hawks goalkeeper Trae Young was close. Ayton used the Clippers in video games, while Young employed the Los Angeles Lakers. The two threw monster slams and played back and forth lights using Clipper stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George and Lakers stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Sitting in his Oklahoma home, Young wore a tribute Kobe Bryant black hoodie with a yellow heart and the numbers 8 and 24 printed on the chest. As Ayton and Young played, they discussed Young’s journey, from the pair playing AAU basketball at the same time as his appearance on Young’s All-Star list in February in Chicago. Now in his second NBA season, Young has talked about playing with and against his childhood idols, like James, in the All-Star Game.
In the end, Ayton beat Young in the fourth quarter. In the last 15 seconds, Young had a chance to score a 3-point pointer using Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in the game, but kept the fire button just a bit too long, missing the shot and letting Ayton close it. 73-66. At the end of the match, Young wished Ayton good luck as he continued his tournament journey, and the two exchanged words of respect.
The last game of the evening was a stormy one, as Beverley – who blew up Portland Trail Blazers big man Hassan Whiteside in the knockout stages last week – faced center Cleveland Cavaliers Andre Drummond. Known for his playing skills outside of 2K, Drummond was considered by many to be a favorite, but Beverley had other plans. In a close game, Beverley finished the fourth quarter on defense with the Philadelphia 76ers.
“This man is cold in defense in real life and in video games,” Drummond said of Beverley.
Beverley won the game 69-62, then shouted at Drummond, “Stop playing with me, man! Stop playing with me, André! Drummond leaned back in his chair and laughed.
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– NBA (@NBA) April 10, 2020
The semi-finals will start on Saturday at 8 p.m. AND on ESPN and pit some of the best video game players in the NBA. Booker and Ayton are both known to play in their spare time, Booker being a member of the esports team and lifestyle brand 100 Thieves and having previously participated in Call of Duty events. Beverley, meanwhile, will seek to continue his surprising run in the tournament after the upheaval in Drummond.