The NBA 2K Players Tournament started with a bang on Friday night on ESPN.
# 16 seed Derrick Jones Jr. upset # 1 seed Kevin Durant 78-62 to start the evening. Jones and Durant faced each other in an exciting match – this time not on the court but on the sticks – when the players lined up for an NBA 2K20 game in which Jones selected the Milwaukee Bucks and Durant the LA Clippers. Jones and Durant sat in their homes in Miami and New York and played a 24-minute game in which Jones defeated the Brooklyn Nets superstar.
Evan Turner was not at all surprised that Jones caused excitement.
@ KDTrey5 You know damn well that you can̵7;t play these 90s babies in video games. Every child born after 95 is a top chef
– Evan Turner (@thekidet) April 4, 2020
It was a fitting prelude to the NBA 2K Players Tournament, in which 16 players in NBA 2K20 compete for bragging rights and a $ 100,000 donation from the NBA, the National Basketball Players Association, and 2K to a coronavirus charity of their choice. Participants on Friday included Jones and Durant, as well as NBA stars Trae Young, Zach LaVine, Hassan Whiteside and Patrick Beverley.
Throughout the night, players discussed their personal lives amid the coronavirus pandemic, in which many Americans, including these players, followed instructions to stay at home to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Durant, who is recovering from an Achilles tendon injury in the 2019 NBA final, said he hasn’t touched a ball “for a while” while Jones said he tried to keep his basketball skills sharp by shooting on the roof of his home in Florida.
In Friday’s most one-sided game, Atlanta Hawks’ security guard Young dominated Sacramento Kings striker Harrison Barnes 101-59.
Young, who said in an Instagram post that he had just started playing seriously, used the goats that would become a preferred choice in the four games. The dollars were selected for three out of four games, and the players who used them averaged 87.7 points per game and kept their opponents at an average of only 58.3 points, according to ESPN Stats & Information Research. During their matchups, Barnes and Young discussed their favorite matchups on the pitch. Young said he enjoyed competing against Kyrie Irving and Damian Lillard. Barnes selected LeBron James, whom he defeated as a member of the Golden State Warriors in the 2015 NBA final.
The other two matchups of the night were LaVine from the Chicago Bulls against Deandre Ayton from the center of Phoenix Suns and Whiteside from Portland Trail Blazers Whiteside against Beverley from Clippers. Ayton defeated LaVines Miami Heat 57-41 with the Houston Rockets while the two joked back and forth over the microphone.
During the Whiteside Beverley matchup, Beverley jumped off Giannis Antetokounmpo’s virtual monster slam. “Stop playing with me, man!” Yelled Beverley Whiteside as he got up from his chair. “I’m the best ever!” Beverley would win 84-54 with the Bucks against Whiteside on the Los Angeles Lakers.
The action in the NBA 2K Players Tournament will continue on Sunday at 6:00 p.m. ET on ESPN2 as part of ESPN Esports Day, which will also include the gameplay of Madden NFL 20, Formula 1, Rocket League and Apex Legends. Domantas Sabonis will face Montrezl Harrell in Sunday’s NBA 2K games. Donovan Mitchell vs. Rui Hachimura; Devin Booker vs. Michael Porter Jr .; and Andre Drummond against DeMarcus Cousins.