INDIANAPOLIS (July 21, 2023) – The incredible late tournament run by Pacers Gaming ended Friday night in Washington, D.C. when Blazer5 Gaming came back from a game down to win the best-of-three series, 2-1 in the semifinals of THE TURN Tournament presented by AT&T in the NBA 2K League. Portland will move on to Saturday’s tournament championship series with Hornets Venom GT. The Pacers will turn their attention to the league’s THE TICKET Tournament and a last chance to qualify for the NBA 2K League 5v5 playoffs. Indiana had advanced to Friday’s Final Four with upset series wins over higher-seeded Gen.GTigers in the Sweet 16 and Cavs Legion GC in the Elite Eight.
The Pacers magical TURN journey on Friday began on a high note with a last-second three-pointer to win Game 1, 57-56. Portland led after each quarter in its Game 2 68-62 conquest. Indiana seemed to be ready to wear a “Team of Destiny” hat in Game 3, leading by 14 after the first quarter, by five at halftime and by three entering the fourth quarter. But the veteran Blazer5 squad outscored the Pacers 25-17 in the final stanza to take the series with a 71-66 decision.
In the deciding Game 3 the Pacers stormed to a 23-9 first quarter lead as guards CHESS (Kory Taylor) and GREENLIGHT (Dylan Sanderson) scored 10 and eight points, respectively. The Pacers enjoyed a 15-point lead very early in the second quarter before Portland rallied to pull within 37-32 at intermission. Blazer5 pulled even closer with a 14-12 third quarter to trail by only three entering the fourth period. Indiana led by four, 55-51 with 4:30 left and by one, 62-61 with 2:25 remaining. Trailing by two with a minute to play, the Blue & Gold missed and former Pacer JOMAR nailed his only three-pointer of the night to give Portland a 69-64 lead with :42 to play. The teams exchanged buckets the rest of the way. CHESS led all scorers with 28 points, followed by BIG REIGN (Blaine Wilson) with 16 points and nine rebounds. GREENLIGHT had a double/double with 13 points and 11 assists. HARBY led Blazer5 with 24 points, followed by CLAUDE with 19 and JOMAR ended the night with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Indiana knew it would see Portland’s best effort in Game 2 as the Blazers had to win to remain in the tournament. Portland led by two after the first and by eight at halftime as CLAUDE scored 12 and JOMAR added 10. The Pacers outscored Blazer5 15-13 in the third to pull within 47-41 after three. But Portland built an 11-point lead midway through the fourth and Indiana could never catch up before losing, 68-62. GREENLIGHT led the Pacers attack with 26 points and seven assists followed by BIG REIGN with 20 points and 10 rebounds. CHESS scored only nine and JAYSNAGS (Julio Laboy) was held to no points for only the third time this season. CLAUDE led Portland with 24 followed by HARBY with 16.
Throughout this miraculous late tournament run by the Pacers, the team has displayed resiliency and the ability to come back. Game 1 featured something a little different. From BIG REIGN’s game-opening dunk Indiana led throughout the contest, including a 16-point advantage early in the third quarter. But Blazer5 rallied and took it’s only lead, 56-54 with just :23 to play. The gutsy Pacers eschewed a potential tying two-point attempt and played to win and CHESS, who was two-of-10 from the field at that point in the game, nailed a killer three-pointer with just :04 to play to give Indiana the 57-56 Game 1 victory. GREENLIGHT led Indiana with 23 points and dished seven assists while BIG REIGN garnered a double/double with 18 points (nine-of-nine shooting) and 13 rebounds. CHESS ended the night with 10 tallies. CLAUDE led Portland with 28 points. JOMAR had nine points and eight rebounds while another ex-Pacer, LAV had just five points. Indiana led 16-13 after one quarter and outscored Portland 20-12 in the second to take a 36-25 halftime lead. GREENLIGHT had 15 at intermission for the Blue & Gold. BIG REIGN scored eight and pulled down five rebounds in the third quarter but Blazer5 pulled closer, outscoring Indiana 16-13 to trail only 49-41 after three. The Pacers led by seven with just 3:43 to play before a furious Blazer rally put Portland on top for the only time in the game – 56-54 with :23 remaining; which set the stage for CHESS’ heroic game winner!