Devin Booker is the king of the basketball video game world. The Phoenix Suns’ star guard took down a pair of formidable challengers on Saturday evening, including one of his teammates, to win the first NBA 2K Players Tournament on ESPN. Booker rode the Los Angeles Clippers and the Toronto Raptors to a 2-0 series win in the semifinals before deploying the Houston Rockets and the Denver Nuggets en route to a sweep in the championship series, earning him the title of the league’s best 2K player for the time being.
The festivities started off with Booker and Montrezl Harrell squaring off in the first semifinal. While the Clippers were one of the teams, they weren’t used by Harrell — he selected the Rockets, while Booker decided to go with Trez’s squad. The first half was tight throughout, and while Booker was ahead for most of it, Harrell managed to keep things close. But during the final few minutes of the second quarter, Booker gave himself some breathing room, and the Clippers went into the locker room up by 10.
We did get a moment of lighthearted trash talk when Booker used Kawhi Leonard to strip Harrell’s ball-handler, leading to the Phoenix Suns star raising a good point: Why on earth would one of Kawhi Leonard’s teammates try to dribble against him?
Booker celebrated his big first half with a four-legged friend.
Not much went right for Harrell in the third quarter, while Booker was able to extend his lead. Things weren’t particularly competitive in the fourth, and by the time the final buzzer went off, Booker picked up a 68-54 win in Game 1. To rub salt in the wound, Booker used virtual Harrell to give real Harrell the blues a few times during the half.
In a must-win Game 2, Harrell turned to the Milwaukee Bucks, while Booker opted to use the Toronto Raptors. As oftentimes is the case in games of 2K, the Bucks proved to be a formidable opponent, with the two teams going to the locker room all tied up at 31.
The Bucks were able to race out to an early lead in the third quarter, but Booker and the Raptors battled back and picked up a lead midway through the frame, setting up a hotly-contested final six minutes.
Ultimately, the Raptors were able to hang on by the skin of their teeth. It wasn’t without some tension, though — Booker, when up by two in the game’s final few seconds, hit one of two free throws. While Harrell had the ball with a chance to tie, an untimely turnover led to points for the opposing squad, and the Raptors picked up a 65-62 win.
The second semifinal started off with an Atlantic Division matchup: Ayton picked the Brooklyn Nets, while Patrick Beverley opted for the Boston Celtics. The two kept it close for the opening half, with the Nets clinging to a narrow 33-31 lead heading into the locker room.
In the second half, the two teams passed the lead back and forth, opening up leads only for their opponent to storm back and go ahead on their own. We even got a little bit of the trash talk that has become one of Beverley’s hallmarks.
But ultimately, Ayton and the Nets managed to come out on top, 75-69, edging out Beverley’s Celtics.
For the second game, Beverley turned to the Nuggets to keep himself alive, while Ayton went for victory with the team his knows best: his Phoenix Suns. suns up at the half 35-29,
double-digit lead heading into the fourth. suns win, 74-67
Ayton coming out on top led to Beverley, a notoriously fierce competitor, walking away from his TV after he was bounced.
This set up an all-Suns final, pitting Booker against Ayton. In Game 1, Ayton opted to use the Lakers, while Booker decided to use the Rockets. The pair played a cagey opening two frames, with the Rockets taking a 33-29 lead into the locker room, with Ayton hitting a buzzer-beater to end the second quarter with JaVale McGee that Booker found extremely funny.
Booker was able to use the Rockets to keep his big man at bay for the rest of the second half, however. While Ayton put up a fight, he wasn’t quit able to pick up the win, putting Booker in position to come out the victor. In Game 1, Houston topped Los Angeles, 72-62.
With his back against the wall in the championship game, Ayton opted to use the best team in the game, the Bucks. Booker, meanwhile, decided to head to the Western Conference and retained the services of the Nuggets. Things were close for the entirety of the first half again, but Booker once again held a halftime lead, going into the virtual locker room up 41-35.
At one point in the second half, Ayton looked all set to quit after Booker used Miles Plumlee to get a bucket.
But both Suns stayed in it, and by the time the virtual buzzer sounded, Booker knocked Ayton off, 74-62, en route to his second sweep of a night and a championship.