INDIANAPOLIS (March 24, 2023) – Pacers Gaming had to win two best-of-five series Friday night to avoid elimination in the NBA 2K League 3v3 SLAM OPEN Tournament and came oh so close – defeating Magic Gaming in a win-or-go-home 3-0 series (23-19, 21-17, 23-20) sweep before dropping a late-night, heart-breaking five-game thriller (19-23, 21-15, 22-24, 22-15, 18-21) to Celtics Crossover Gaming.  The loss to Boston knocks Indiana out of the double-elimination event. The Pacers finished the season-opening tournament with a 5-7 series mark, after starting 0-5.

The Pacers were impressive in their sweep of the Magic.  The Blue & Gold captured Game 1 behind 11 points (on five-of-six shooting) from CHESS (Kory Taylor) and eight points and two rebounds from BIG REIGN (Blaine Wilson), who was traded to Indiana from Orlando almost nine months to the day.  JAYSNAGS (Julio Laboy) added four points and a team-high three assists.  UNGUARDABLE led the Magic with 14 points.  BIG REIGN and JAYSNAGS each scored eight points on perfect shooting (BIG REIGN 3-3 and JAYSNAGS 4-4) in the Game 2, 21-17 win. UNGUARDABLE had nine for Orlando.  Balanced scoring paced Indiana to the series-sweeping 23-20 victory in Game 3 as CHESS scored nine and JAYSNAGS and BIG REIGN each tallied seven points and combined, the three went 10-11 from the field.  UNGUARDABLE had 14 for the Magic.

Only a series win over Boston was in front of Indiana moving on to in-person play next week in the championship round in Washington, D.C.  The Pacers let a late 19-16 lead slip out of their hands in the 23-19 Game 1 loss to the Celtics.  JAYSNAGS led the way with seven points while CHESS and BIG REIGN each recorded six points.  FT led Boston with 14 points.  The Pacers stormed back to even the series with a 21-15 win in Game 2 as CHESS scored a season-high 18 points.  FT led the Celtics with 13 tallies.  Boston took Game 3, 24-22 as FT and TayZo each scored 11 points.  BIG REIGN went for a career-high 11 points and added six rebounds in a losing effort for the Pacers.  Indiana again tied the series, 2-2 with a 22-15 win in Game 4 as JAYSNAGS was five-for-five enroute to 11 points and CHESS contributed nine points and dished four assists.  FT had 13 for Boston.  In the crucial Game 5, the two teams battled as the game was tied at 14-14, 16-16 and 18-18 before a Boston three gave the Celtics the series-clinching 21-18 victory.  FT led Boston with 15.  CHESS scored 10 points and had three assists for Indiana while JAYSNAGS and BIG REIGN each netted four points.