There wasn’t much drama, but Montrezl Harrell got the job done in the NBA 2K quarterfinals, defeating Derrick Jones Jr. 71-66.
As the no. 8 overall seed, Harrell had homecourt against no. 16 Jones Jr. and thus got to dictate the two teams they played with. Jones Jr. originally picked the Sixers, which led to Harrell picking the Bucks. Jones Jr. seemed a little unsure of the matchup, so Harrell gave him an out and offered to switch to the Blazers if Jones Jr. took the Mavericks.
Portland may be significantly below Dallas (12 games back) in the current NBA standings, but at full health, the Blazers didn’t seem to put Harrell at a disadvantage. It also allows Harrell to save Milwaukee for later in the tournament. Harrell can also still use Houston, Miami, Boston, Brooklyn, and OKC.
Harrell didn’t have much difficulty with Domantas Sabonis in round 1, but Jones Jr. is a little more experienced with 2K. The game stayed fairly close for much of the first quarter, though Harrell was always operating with about a four-point lead and led 20-16 after the opening period.
The Clippers center was clearly locked in and had no time for chit-chat. He bemoaned the fact that his matchups were wrong to start the game and Trevor Ariza wasn’t guarding Luka Doncic. He also called out bad switches whenever he saw them. At one point, he playfully chided the defense of the avatar of his former teammate Boban Marjanovic, saying, “Stay on your feet Boban! Stay on your feet big fella, 7’3 whatcha jumping for?”
The difficulty of playing transition defense in NBA 2K was on full display, as Harrell’s Blazers consistently ran the ball down the Mavericks’ throats. The only time Jones Jr. was able to make a run was when Harrell got a little sloppy with his passing. They two players also complained about the reffing fairly regularly. At one point, Kristaps Porzingis fouled Ariza in transition, and Harrell petitioned the video-game crew for a flagrant when he said, “Gotta go look at that, he came across the head, neck area.”
The margin stayed essentially constant through the second quarter, but Harrell built a little separation during the third to take a 53-42 lead heading into the fourth.
Jones Jr. was able to cut into the lead by bringing Doncic back early in the final period while Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum were still sitting. Harrell was up by five with about a minute remaining when he got all to the cup with Lillard for an easy lay-in. Jones Jr. kept it close with some last-ditch threes, but Harrell hit just enough free throws to escape with the win.
Harrell will face no. 5 seed Devin Booker in the semifinals. Patrick Beverley is still yet to play in the quarterfinals — he will face Cleveland’s Andre Drummond at 8:00 p.m. tonight.