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Suns Teammates Devin Booker And Deandre Ayton Stay Hot In The ‘NBA 2K’ Tournament Quarterfinals

ESPN and the NBA made news on Thursday with the official confirmation of an upcoming HORSE competition featuring betting favorite Trae Young, Chris Paul, Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Tamika Catchings and others. Just hours later, though, the partnership continued with the quarterfinals of the NBA 2K “players-only” tournament, with four match-ups aired in back-to-back fashion.

In the first match-up of the night, Devin Booker, playing as the Dallas Mavericks, took on Rui Hachimura, playing as the L.A. Clippers, in a battle between the No. 5 seed (Booker) and the No. 13 seed (Hachimura). In the early going, there were upset winds blowing, with Hachimura leading and Booker seemingly bothered by the use of the “All-Star” game difficulty after Hachimura hit a three with Lou Williams.

It was all Booker from there, though, with the Phoenix Suns guard taking a 13-point lead by the end of the third quarter, largely behind the play of Luka Doncic.

Ultimately, Booker was never really challenged in the fourth quarter on the way to a 71-55 victory and the first berth in the semifinals.

For the honor to face off against Booker in the semifinals, No. 8 seed Montrezl Harrell, playing as the Portland Trail Blazers, faced No. 16 seed Derrick Jones Jr., playing as the Dallas Mavericks. Harrell took an early lead and kept it through the end of the first quarter, but Jones Jr. knocked down a buzzer-beating three-pointer to cut the margin.

Harrell maintained a six-point lead at the halftime break and took further control in the third quarter, eventually building a double-digit lead.

Jones Jr. did make quite a push in the latter stages of the fourth quarter, slashing the deficit to as few as three points in the final minute. Still, Harrell emerged victorious by a 71-66 final score to set up a matchup against Booker in the “final four” of the event.

In the second-to-last battle of the night, the No. 2 seed took on the No. 10 seed with Young facing Deandre Ayton. Young chose to play with the Lakers, setting up a battle of Los Angeles as Ayton selected the Clippers.

Ayton got off to a lights-out start, seizing the lead in the early going behind strong offense. In fact, Ayton led by as many as 12 points in the first quarter.

Young did push back a bit in the second quarter, keeping the deficit manageable, but Ayton still took the lead into halftime.

In the third quarter, Ayton stretched the advantage to double-figures again, but the lead didn’t last. Young made a furious push at the end of the quarter, taking the lead in the final seconds.

The fourth quarter was a back-and-forth affair, to the point where it was (far) more competitive than the previous two games. Ayton claimed the edge in the final minutes, though, and he picked up a seven-point win to advance to the semifinals.

In the nightcap, No. 6 seed Andre Drummond, playing with the Milwaukee Bucks, took on No. 14 seed Patrick Beverley, playing with the Philadelphia 76ers, with a spot in the semifinals on the line. Beverley provided a bit of entertainment early when he revealed that he is “working out like a madman” during the shelter-in-place period.

When it came to the game itself, Drummond garnered an 11-point lead after the first quarter and he was in a fantastic position.

Beverley did come a live a bit in the second quarter, climbing back within a six-point halftime margin, and he had fun doing it.

The always entertaining guard wasn’t done there, taking the lead in the third quarter on the back of effective defense (and some trash talk).

Drummond converted a three-pointer as the buzzer went off to end the third, giving Drummond’s Bucks the lead as the closing period arrived.

Despite that counterpunch from Drummond, it was all Beverley in the fourth and, in on-brand fashion, he wasn’t quiet about it.

Eventually, Beverley held on to advance as the lowest seed to land in the final four.

The semifinals will take place on Saturday, with Harrell facing Booker and Ayton squaring off against Beverley. ESPN is set to broadcast the proceedings once again, with the finals also scheduled for Saturday.