After quarterfinal action Thursday on ESPN2, four players came out victorious: Suns guard Devin Booker, Clippers big man Montrezl Harrell, Phoenix center Deandre Ayton and Clippers guard Patrick Beverley. Come Saturday on ESPN2, Booker will face Harrell and Ayton will face Beverley with the winners earning a finals berth in what’s been a heated top-eight for the tournament.
Thursday’s matches began with a bang as Booker blew out Washington Wizards forward Rui Hachimura 71-55, followed by Harrell slipping by Miami Heat forward Derrick Jones Jr., 71-66, but the best matches came in the final two of the night.
In a showdown between Ayton and Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young, the two played a close game. Ayton used the Clippers in NBA 2K20, while Young used the Los Angeles Lakers. The two threw down monstrous slams and made highlight plays back-and-forth using Clippers stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George and Lakers stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Sitting in his home in Oklahoma, Young sported a black Kobe Bryant tribute 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 two playing in AAU basketball at the same time to Young’s All-Star appearance in February in Chicago. Now in his second year in the NBA, Young spoke to playing with and against his childhood idols, like James, in the All-Star game.
Ultimately Ayton would pull ahead of Young in the fourth and in the last 15 seconds, Young had a chance to net an open corner three using Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in game. But Young held the shoot button just a hair too long, missing the shot and letting Ayton close out the game, 73-66. As the game ended, Young wished Ayton well as he continued his tournament journey and the two exchanged words of respect.
The final match of the night got heated, as Patrick Beverley — who blew out Miami Heat big man Hassan Whiteside in the Round of 16 last week — faced off against Cleveland Cavaliers center Andre Drummond. Known for his gaming skills outside of 2K, Drummond was considered a favorite by many, but Beverley had other plans. In a close match between the two, Beverley ended the fourth strong on defense using the Philadelphia 76ers.
“This man cold at defense in real life and in the video game,” Drummond said about Beverley.
Beverley would end the game 69-62, followed by screaming at Drummond, “Stop playing with me, man! Stop playing with me, Andre!” Drummond leaned back in his chair and broke out laughing.
🎮 @NBA2K Players Tournament 🎮
— NBA (@NBA) April 10, 2020
The semifinals for the event will kick off Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN and will pit some of the NBA’s top video game players against one another. Booker and Ayton both are known for gaming in their free time, with Booker being a member of esports team and lifestyle brand 100 Thieves and competing in Call of Duty events prior. Meanwhile Beverley will look to continue his surprising run in the tournament following the upset over Drummond.