Keeping their playoff hopes alive, Milwaukee Bucks Gaming capped off their series victory over Kings Guard Gaming Thursday night with a thrilling finish.
Less than 24 hours after taking on a tough loss, Bucks Gaming were forced to make a swift response Thursday night with their playoff hopes on the line.
Having just fallen to Warriors Gaming in a sweep, the Milwaukee Bucks 2K League affiliate were set to take on another formidable foe in Kings Guard Gaming, who entered the night looking to enter the 10-win club and stand on par with some of the elite squads this season.
It was simple for the Bucks: Win and they improve their position to stay within the playoff chase. Lose and, well, those chances grow even slimmer.
The Bucks clearly felt the urgency as they came out firing away and the Kings were eager to match the track meet pace that was quickly set once Game 1 tipped off.
The battle of the two rookie point guards between the Bucks’ Regg and the Kings’ Bash didn’t disappoint in the slightest as they both went on to lead their respective teams in scoring for the opening tilt.
But it was Regg’s fearlessness attacking the paint that the Kings had no match for all throughout the clash as he went on to have his second 50-point game of the season and did so while shooting an astounding 22-of-28 from the field (5-for-7 from three) and adding eight assists.
It was far from a one-man show, though, as ARooks’ sharpshooting (19 points, 5-for-8 from deep) and the back line defending of both Plondo and Squidris, who combined for 10 blocks, helped power the Bucks to a 84-78 Game 1 victory.
While Game 1 ended up being this energetic shootout that went in the Bucks’ favor, Game 2 couldn’t have been further from the case.
The Kings relied on their defensive strategy and collective stinginess to slow down the Bucks and Regg, in particular, who was matched up against one of the premier lockdown specialists across the 2K League in the Kings’ Crush.
By cutting off the Bucks’ head of the snake in Regg, who finished with 12 points on 15 shots, the Kings easily came away with a 63-48 Game 2 victory to force the decisive Game 3 for the series. And beyond just making life rough for Regg, the Kings limited the Bucks to just 42 percent shooting from the field and 4-for-16 from downtown in the second game of the series.
With the stakes certainly set high going into Game 3 and both clubs having won the previous two matches playing their respective ways, the final tilt proved to be the thrilling affair that was promised as the series went along.
Just as was the case in Game 1, the Bucks’ supporting cast immediately rose to the occasion, especially as the Kings looked to slow down Regg once again. ARooks’ timely shotmaking took hold once again and helped direct attention elsewhere other than Regg, at least early on. And the pick-and-roll combination between Regg and Plondo was another source of great offense for the Bucks throughout the final tilt as well.
But the Bucks were evenly matched as the Kings operated very effectively on the offensive side of the ball as they knew how to dissect and stretch the Bucks’ aggressive defending enough to put down patient and high percentage scores.
With both teams going neck and neck all throughout the second half, it was then when Regg arguably saved his best play for last on the night.
After having perfectly blended his sharp playmaking skills with his relentless scoring ways, Regg decided to take matters into his own hands, especially as we headed down the stretch. The Rookie of the Year favorite scored 13 of his 27 points for Game 3 in the final frame while going 9-for-16 from the field and a whopping 6-of-8 from long range.
It was Regg’s final bucket, though, that proved to be the cap on Game 3 and on the Bucks’ critical series victory over the Kings.
After leading by as much as six with two minutes remaining in the final game, the Bucks went on to experience yet another late-game meltdown that was marked by costly turnovers and illegal screens, just as was the case only a night ago.
The Kings promptly scored seven unanswered points to take a 72-71 edge with 36.2 seconds remaining. A costly backcourt violation by the Bucks ensued, giving the Kings the ball and eventually sent them to the free throw line. However, Milwaukee got a huge break when Kings forward Yusuf_Scarbz just sank one free throw to give the Kings a 73-71 lead with 14.2 seconds remaining.
From there, there was no question where the ball was going to and after shaking and baking to get enough space on the right wing, Regg calmly greened the game-winning triple to give the Bucks a 74-73 Game 3 victory and the series over the Kings.
Improving 7-6 on the season, the Bucks now hold the 10th spot in the 2K League and are in a three-way tie between NetsGC and Grizz Gaming as it stands.
Bucks Gaming’s rollercoaster season will continue next week when they take part in the The Turn tournament where they will meet CLTX Gaming next Wednesday at a time that’s yet to be determined.