The NBA 2K Players-Only tournament tips off on Friday night with the first round, featuring a highly anticipated matchup between Kevin Durant and Derrick Jones Jr. to get us started. This tournament will feature 16 NBA Superstars competing in NBA 2K20 for the chance to be crowned champion. We’ll be following the tournament all night, providing updates, highlights and reaction.
Recap for NBA 2K20 Players Tournament
(16) Derrick Jones Jr. defeats (1) Kevin Durant
(10) Deandre Ayton defeats (7) Zach LaVine
(2) Trae Young defeats (15) Harrison Barnes
(14) Patrick Beverley defeats (3) Hassan Whiteside
Final update — Beverley destroyed Whiteside 84-54 and trash talked his way into the second round. It was a dominant performance from Pat Bev, who will face the winner of the 6-11 matchup between Andre Drummond and DeMarcus Cousins on Sunday afternoon.
Highlight — Pat Bev snuck in some trash talk on LeBron with no games going on because of course.
Halftime update — Beverley is sticking it to Whiteside and has a sizable lead at halftime, 45-26. The Clippers guard went with the Bucks and Whiteside opted for the Lakers. Whiteside was praised by The Game earlier in the night, so it’s surprising to see him struggling in the first round with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Here’s Beverley getting hype before halftime.
Pat Bev goes up 15 and goes off on Hassan Whiteside pic.twitter.com/vCUCOoLtN0— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) April 4, 2020
10:36 p.m. — Hassan Whiteside and Patrick Beverley are underway and it’s the potential Finals matchup of Bucks vs. Lakers. Pat Bev is playing Milwaukee and Whiteside is the Lake Show and LeBron James.
Final update — So Young eases past Barnes for a first-round victory and will meet Deandre Ayton in the second round next week. Young reached the century mark with 101-59.
Third quarter update — Things have gotten out of hand. Young is up 79-46 in the fourth quarter.
Halftime update — Young closed out the second quarter on a roll and is leading 44-25 with the Bucks over Barnes. This is one of those games that seemed to be over before it started in a sense. Trae got out to a hot start and is riding Bledsoe.
9:51 p.m. — Young looks like he’s played 2K before. He’s executing with the Bucks right now and is up 35-23 on Barnes and the Raptors.
First quarter update — Young is up big over Barnes with Eric Bledsoe on fire. Trae leads 25-11 after the first and is looking good in the first round. Young has clearly been practicing because he looks like a seasoned vet so far. We’ll see if Barnes can get back into it.
9:33 p.m. — Trae is playing with the Bucks and Barnes is playing with the Raptors. Rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference Finals.
Final update: LaVine vs. Ayton — Ayton pulled away and closed out LaVine 57-41. He will advance to the second round to play the winner of (2) Trae Young vs. (15) Harrison Barnes, which is coming up next.
Third quarter update — Both LaVine and Ayton have been chucking 3s to start the second half. Ayton at one point hit three in a row with Westbrook. LaVine keeps hanging around with Ayton only leading 42-37 after the third quarter.
8:56 p.m. — It’s halftime in LaVine vs. Ayton and the Heat have closed the gap on the Rockets to make it a two-point game, 26-24. Both players have been vocal most of the game and it’s been an entertaining half. Ayton had 13 points with Harden in the half and will most likely ride The Beard from distance the rest of the game.
8:52 p.m. — Ayton is the embodiment of the Rockets philosophy in a 2K player. All he does is chuck with Harden and Westbrook and it’s amazing. It’s how 2K should be played.
8:49 p.m. — LaVine hits a fadeaway with Andre Iguodala and Ayton has called “CASH” for two straight misses. Yikes. THREE IN A ROW. Somebody provide currency for Ayton to buy a 3-pointer with, thank you. Ayton gets one with Harden and the drought is over. He leads 21-15 in the second.
8:48 p.m. — LaVine asks Ayton where he likes to play the most and Ayton answers MSG. LaVine admits he used to love playing in Sacramento’s arena. The Kings offer sheeted LaVine a few seasons back when he was a RFA. It all makes sense now.
8:42 p.m. — It’s nice getting an inside view of these players lives off the court. This is a pretty cool interaction by LaVine and Ayton so far. Ayton is handling LaVine but the Bulls guard is cool about it. I hope more of these matchups reveal more about who the players are like this. After the first quarter it’s Rockets 18-9.
Zach and Ayton just spent two minutes appreciating Shaq Harrison. My heart is warm— Rob Schaefer (@rob_schaef) April 4, 2020
8:37 p.m. — Ayton has been lifting weights. LaVine says he doesn’t need to, he’s big enough already. LaVine has a gym nearby so he’s been doing well. Ayton is up 10-3 in the first.
8:35 p.m. — Ayton just called a heat check on a James Harden 3-pointer that bricked. He was looking to see if Harden could get hot. It wasn’t meant to be. Ayton is up early, but admits that he’s played a lot of 2K. Ayton just helped LaVine out by telling him how to throw an alley-oop.
8:33 p.m. — The next matchup is LaVine vs. Ayton. The Rockets was the pick for Ayton and LaVine went with the Heat.
8:27 p.m. — Derrick Jones Jr. pulls off the upset and defeats Kevin Durant 78-62. Giannis and Middleton were too much for Durant and the Clippers. KD is out. He won’t move on. Airplane Mode moves on to face the winner of Montrezl Harrell vs. Domantas Sabonis matchup, which is Sunday. Jones was smart to use the Bucks in the first round. Guarantee an easy win with Giannis and figure it out for the second round.
8:25 p.m. — Middleton drains another 3 for Jones and that should do it for KD in the first round. Jones is up by 20 with a minute left. 16-SEED UPSETTTT brewing. P.S. these seedings don’t really mean as much as the NCAA Tournament. It was an easy way to make the bracket for the tournament.
8:19 p.m. — The 3-pointer has been big for Jones and the Bucks. He’s built the lead back to 15 points at 71-56. There’s about 2:00 left for KD to get back into this but it could be too late.
8:15 p.m. — Here comes Durant! KD is on a 7-2 run to start the fourth and the lead is down to eight points. Jones committed a bad foul early in the quarter and hasn’t been able to get anything going on offense. KD the silent assassin in the fourth. Let’s see if the Slim Reaper can pull off the comeback.
8:10 p.m. — Jones almost called game with a 3-pointer but he missed. Airplane Mode is still up big over KD at 59-44 with the third quarter done. Jones almost drained a half court heave to end the third. KD is in trouble as the No. 1 overall seed in the first round! We’re going to get that 16 over 1 upset we craved in March, except it’s a month late and KD is Virginia. Can Durant show the clutch gene in 2K in the fourth? Crazier things have happened.
8:05 p.m. — Timeout with 3:13 left in the third and Jones is up 46-40 after a Khris Middleton 3-pointer. KD continues to be vocal, but hasn’t taken any shots at Jones abusing Giannis a little bit.
8:02 p.m. — The third is underway and the two have traded baskets so far. KD keeps complaining about Giannis, which is awesome. Airplane Mode just banged a 3-pointer and is up 41-36, which is his biggest lead of the game. KD answers with two.
7:52 p.m. — So thats halftime and Jones (Bucks) is up 35-31 on KD (Clippers). Airplane Mode went on a run to end that quarter and KD is frustrated with Donte DiVincenzo’s play for Milwaukee. Would this be among the greatest upsets in sports? The 16-seed Jones taking down the 1-seed Durant? Perhaps but there’s more basketball left.
7:50 p.m. — This one is tight. KD sort of pulls away a bit and then Jones goes on a run. He just finished off a nice play with Giannis that finished with a Brook Lopez slam. It’s tied 29-29 in the second. You can tell Jones is a little frustrated, but has looked good so far. He just took his first lead 33-31.
7:46 p.m. — Giannis is getting under KD’s skin a little bit, but Durant is still up on Jones.
7:44 p.m. — The second quarter is underway and KD is in the lead 19-16. They’ve been pretty tame as far as trash talk is concerned so far. We’ll see if the score being close heats things up later in the match.
7: 39 p.m. — KD starting to pull away. Here’s a highlight from earlier in the first quarter.
7:36 p.m. — Durant just admitted he has shot a ball in a while. He tested positive for COVID-19 but hasn’t experienced any symptoms. Jones has been getting some work up in Miami, which is good. KD up 13-9.
7:33 p.m. — So far things have been pretty quiet between KD and Jones. KD has been going to Kawhi Leonard a lot early on. Durant is kind of exactly the type of 2K player you’d expect him to be. He’s just as competitive as in an actual NBA game.
7:30 p.m. — Game 1 is about to start and it’s going to be KD as the Clippers vs. Jones as the Bucks. Let’s get after it.
7:28 p.m. — If you didn’t know, The Game is really, really good at 2K. He just picked Hassan Whiteside to win it all, so my Pat Bev pick isn’t looking good. We should be getting started soon with KD vs. Airplane Mode.
7:15 p.m. — Utah Jazz G Donovan Mitchell is speaking to the host about his recovery from COVID-19 and strategy for tonight. He’s got a Twitch stream, so Spida could be legit at 2K. He’s the 4-seed and sounds pretty confident.
Picks for tonight: So I’m going to take a shot in the dark and try to pick the winners for tonight:
Derrick Jones Jr. over Kevin Durant
Trae Young over Harrison Barnes
Zach LaVine over Deandre Ayton
Patrick Beverley over Hassan Whiteside
7:02 p.m. — The pre-game show is underway and the first round is expected to start at 7:30 p.m. ET. The first match is Kevin Durant vs. Derrick Jones Jr. ESPN also revealed that the first four matchups will be KD-Airplane Mode, Trae Young vs. Harrison Barnes, Zach LaVine vs. Deandre Ayton and Hassan Whiteside vs. Patrick Beverley.
The winner also gets $100,000 that will be donated to the coronavirus relief fund of their choosing. The players are seeded 1 through 16 in order of their player rating in 2K. The first round gets started at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN and switches over to ESPN2 at 8:30-11 PM ET. Let’s take another quick look at the bracket:
(1) Kevin Durant vs. (16) Derrick Jones Jr.
(8) Montrezl Harrell vs. (9) Domantas Sabonis
(4) Donovan Mitchell vs. (13) Rui Hachimura
(5) Devin Booker vs. (12) Michael Porter Jr.
(2) Trae Young vs. (15) Harrison Barnes
(7) Zach LaVine vs. (10) Deandre Ayton
(3) Hassan Whiteside vs. (14) Patrick Beverley
(6) Andre Drummond vs. (11) DeMarcus Cousins