Bucks Gaming split doubleheader as playoff hopes start to fade

LONG ISLAND CITY, NY - JULY 21: (Photo by Michelle Farsi/NBAE via Getty Images)
LONG ISLAND CITY, NY - JULY 21: (Photo by Michelle Farsi/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Milwaukee Bucks Gaming team split a doubleheader on Saturday as their hopes of a playoff spot in the NBA 2K League’s inaugural season begin to fade.

Bucks Gaming had a busy day on Saturday in New York as they completed a doubleheader with matchups against Raptors GC and Wizards District Gaming.

After finding a spark with a big upset win in last week’s The Ticket tournament, the Bucks had to deal with the disappointment of being unable to go all the way and claim the playoff spot up for grabs in that competition.

As a result, after what’s been a mixed regular season to date, Bucks Gaming’s players were left with no doubt of the stakes and urgency required for the final few weeks of the season.

More from Bucks News

Speaking to NBA 2K League’s Jeff Eisenband prior to Saturday’s play, Game6Drake made the objective very clear for Milwaukee over their final few games.

"“Gotta go 5-0 the rest of the season just to give ourselves a fighting chance. It’s do-or-die now.”"

Along those same lines, earlier in the week on the most recent episode of Bucks Gaming Weekly, oLarry noted in conversation with Tara Eiland that Milwaukee didn’t “have much room for error”.

Unfortunately, a loss to the Raptors in their opening game on Saturday took 5-0 off the table for the Bucks, but the prospect of four straight wins to close out would leave Milwaukee clinging to very faint hopes of a playoff spot with a .500 record.

The first of those came in dramatic fashion later in the day as a back and forth contest with the Wizards ultimately resulted in a one-point Bucks win thanks to dominant performances from Drake and STL2LA.

The loss to the Raptors came about following some surprising changes considering the success of a week ago. The Bucks’ lineup has been in a constant state of flux throughout the year, and although the personnel remained the same for that first game, Drake and Larry swapped positions by moving to point guard and small forward respectively.

While the move benefited Larry who put up 24 points, 10 assists, six rebounds and four steals from the wing, Drake’s Shot Creating Sharpshooter archetype limited his input in terms of playmaking while he was again plagued by shooting troubles.

That didn’t prevent Milwaukee from keeping things close throughout the first half, but a slow start in the third quarter allowed the Raptors to pull away and Bucks Gaming were never able to rein them back in from there.

Starting a day of must-win games with a blowout loss was far from ideal, but to their credit Bucks Gaming bounced back.

The return of KingPeroxide to the lineup at the expense of Procis1on, coupled with a change to a Sharpshooting Playmaker for Drake, unlocked a new look for the Bucks against Wizards DG.

In that role, Drake was able to put together his most complete and influential performance of the season to date, driving Milwaukee forward with 26 points and 17 assists on 10-of-16 shooting from the field and a perfect 4-of-4 from deep.

Just as important, though, was a breakout performance from STL2LA. After struggling early in the year, STL has come on in leaps and bounds for Milwaukee and appears to have found his best position at center over the past couple of weeks. On this occasion, he chipped in with 30 points and seven rebounds on 15-of-21 shooting.

Larry struggled on the wing as he was held scoreless, indicating room for further archetype and positional tweaks to the lineup for next week, but with solid performances from BigMeek (14 points, 10 rebounds) and Peroxide (14 points, 4-of-4 FG, 3-of-3 3PT), the Bucks still had enough as a team to get the win.

Saying that, against a competitive Wizards team, it was a close run thing. A flagrant foul called on Big Meek in the game’s final minute allowed the Wizards to eat into what was looking like a comfortable Bucks’ lead, as it doubled as Meek’s sixth foul, leading to a technical being awarded in addition to the two free throws and possession.

It didn’t throw the Bucks off their game, though, and as their shot-making held up from the field and the line, they were able to pull away with a win that just about keeps their playoff hopes alive.

Bucks Gaming will be back in action on Friday, July 27 as they’ll match up with the winners of The Ticket, Knicks Gaming.