INDIANAPOLIS – For the second time in three days Pacers Gaming met a Top 5 Western Conference foe in NBA 2K League action and for the second time the No. 1 Pacers split, defeating No. 5 Jazz Gaming 84-68 in the first game before coming up short in the nightcap, 87-85 after a dramatic comeback Saturday night. Now 13-5 – most regular-season victories in the league – Pacers Gaming will be off until July 14-17 when it participates in The Turn, the league’s annual midseason tournament. Regular-season play will resume on July 22 when the Pacers face Bucks Gaming. Just two days ago Pacers Gaming split two games with No. 3 Pistons GT.
Game 1 saw all five Pacers Gaming players score in double figures. The Pacers were up three (19-16) after one quarter and up eight (40-32) at half as rookie 630 (Xavier Barraza) scored 19. An 18-12 third period seem to give the Blue & Gold a comfortable 58-44 margin heading to the fourth. But the Jazz scored the first 13 points of the final stanza to make it a game. Pacers Gaming immediately answered with its own run and won the ball game going away, 84-68. 630 led the Pacers with 30 points along with nine assists. Swizurk (Nick Grech), shooting five-of-eight from the three-point arc, netted 17 and Jomar (Jomar Varela-Escapa) earned another double/double with 15 points, 12 rebounds and five assists. LavishPhenom (Andron Thomas) had 12 points to go along with seven rebounds and Wolf (Bryant Colon) contributed 10 points on four-of-five shooting. The Pacers shot 64% from the field while a tremendous team defensive effort held the Jazz to 49% shooting.
The Jazz came out hot in Game 2, taking a 22-16 lead after the first quarter and a 41-37 margin at intermission. 630 had 20 at the half to lead Indiana while Swizurk added 12. Utah boosted its lead with a 22-19 third quarter to go ahead 63-56 heading into the final period. The Jazz, led by Splashy and Expose with 30 points apiece, seem to hold a comfortable lead of 10 with just under three minutes to play. But back-to-back steals by Wolf and a strong defensive effort pulled Indiana within two with just :09 to play. A last-second, three-point attempt by Pacers Gaming fell short and the Jazz held on for the two-point win.
For the 15th time in 18 regular-season games, rookie 630 went for 30-or-more points with 34 tallies to go along with eight assists to lead Indiana. 630 has now scored double figures in 22 consecutive games (18 regular season; four in tournament play) – just three off the team record of 25 held by Ramo. Swizurk added 20 points and Jomar garnered his team-record 16th double/double in 18 games with 17 points, 14 rebounds and five assists. Wolf scored nine to go with five assists and three steals.
“It would have been nice to get the sweep,” said Pacers Gaming head coach Cody Parrent. “But I was proud of our ability to come back and have a chance at the end in Game Two. We’re happy with 13 wins at this part of the season and we look forward to a few weeks off before taking part in The Turn. I like where our team is headed, we are coming together more and more with each game.”
Box scores below: