The NBA 2K Players Tournament came to an end tonight with Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker winning the championship.
The tournament, which was intended to provide fans with entertainment during isolation, concluded with a best-of-three championship round as Booker squared off against teammate Deandre Ayton.
More important than the fans’ entertainment was the $100,000 that will be donated to charity in Booker’s name.
This is the first of two known NBA competitions during the nationwide coronavirus shutdown, as H-O-R-S-E kicks off on Sunday night on ESPN.
Booker controlled the competition, pulling off a close win in the opening game and an upset in the second game while nullifying the need for a third contest.
Ayton, who wisely saved using his best teams for the final round, chose to play as the Los Angeles Lakers, leaving Booker to play as the Houston Rockets.
The two teams got out to a neck-and-neck start in the first game as the first quarter finished in a 14-14 tie. They exchanged friendly blows back and forth both in the game and over the headsets as Booker taunted Ayton for his excessive use of the “pause” function.
The second quarter was all Booker and the Rockets after he scored six unanswered points en route to a 12-5 run over two-and-a-half minutes. Soon, the Lakers attempted a comeback, and they ended up within one possession after Anthony Davis found Avery Bradley under the hoop. The two sides continued to battle it out before JaVale McGee sunk a fadeaway shot at the buzzer.
At halftime, Booker and the Rockets held a 33-29 lead over Ayton and the Lakers.
Booker pulled away even more in the third quarter, completing circus-looking passes en route to monster dunks, impressive shots, and even a few foul shots. The Rockets truly capitalized on their opportunities. With that said, the Lakers impressed, too, keeping the game close with genius passes that set up important shots that weren’t flashy but put points on the board nonetheless. After three, Booker held a 52-47 lead, and the game remained close.
The two teammates continued to play neck-and-neck basketball in the third quarter, with Booker’s Rockets holding a steady two-possession lead for the first four minutes before Houston broke away to go up by 12 points.
In the end, Booker’s Rockets defeated Ayton’s Lakers by a score of 72-62.
The second game in the best-of-three set saw Booker play as the Denver Nuggets and Ayton control the Milwaukee Bucks.
Ayton impressed with an early lead but Booker stayed in the game and showed poise as he remained on Ayton’s tail. After a flurry of exciting plays, the first quarter ended with Ayton’s Bucks holding a 17-16 lead.
The second quarter saw Booker pull out to a 41-35 lead despite being the underdog, forcing Ayton into a must-win position with just two quarters to play.
The Nuggets pulled away even further in the third quarter, which concluded with Booker holding a 55-45 lead and a clear shot at the title.
Booker tried to get Ayton to forfeit early in the fourth quarter when he had a 14-point deficit, but the Suns’ center gracefully chose to keep playing. Booker gave a tip of the hat to Michael Porter, Jr., who had an impressive showing against Milwaukee. The two sides continued to deal blows to each other but it was all Denver in the final minutes.
Booker and the Nuggets sealed the deal over Ayton and the Bucks, pulling off a 74-62 upset and securing the 2020 NBA 2K Players Tournament title.