Hawks Talon Gaming, the official NBA 2K League affiliate of the Atlanta Hawks, struggled coming out of the gates at the start of the 2021 NBA 2K League regular season. The team dropped its first three games by a combined score of 238-187 before catching fire on its way to a five-game win streak.
After the season’s slow start, head coach Wesley Acuff decided to make some changes. Whether it be in personnel, strategy, or scheme, Acuff believes these changes came a long way in righting the proverbial ship.
“We were finally able to figure out how to defensively get the stops we needed as a unit and not have all the responsibility lie on just our lockdown defenders. So, covering for each other, rotating for each other, and that was getting us the stops and then we obviously had some success with some offensive explosions from CEEZ (point guard Caesar A. Martinez) and spreading the numbers throughout the team and getting everyone involved,” he said. “We just made some changes with the way we approached the game, with the way we prepared for the game and also with the lineup that was on the court and that’s what got us to this point.”
Acuff has loved to see the recent improvement, but expects much more from his young squad as they look to put more numbers in the win column.
“I don’t want to see them get comfortable,” he said. “It’s more so about the mental preparation from here on. We take the necessary steps in practice to be prepared on the court. We just need to be mentally ready and not take any opponents too lightly.”
According to Acuff, one such way the team is finding motivation and avoiding complacency stems from its next-door neighbors, the non-virtual Atlanta Hawks, who are currently fighting for a spot in the Eastern Conference Finals. Since one of the overarching goals of Hawks Talon’s 2021 agenda is to make the franchise’s first postseason, one can understand why the virtual team finds inspiration in the Hawks’ playoff run.
“It definitely gives us some extra motivation. They are where we want to be: in the postseason, so it’s exciting. We get to play in the same arena, so we get to feel the energy and let some of that energy transfer to the part of the facility where we play. It’s just an exciting time and we’re just happy to be here experiencing it and also be experiencing success on our end as well,” said Acuff.
Hawks Talon will try to get a couple steps closer to the postseason Saturday night with two games against Celtics Crossover Gaming, the official NBA 2K League affiliate of the Boston Celtics. Game one will tip off Saturday, June 12 at 7 p.m.. The two games will be simulcast live on the NBA 2K League’s Twitch and YouTube channels. Games will also be available on ESRevolution, Loco in India, Sport1 in Europe and Dash Radio.