To kick off Season 0 and test out our future playoff structure, Swoops chose two of the most active teams to play in the first seven game series of the Swoops Universe!
Sure there's no belt, no trophy, and no cash prize awarded to the winner this time, but it's still a playoff series...right? Right!
The two teams who battled it out in this unofficial (but totally official in our hearts!) series were the Globe TRONers and The Robellion. Both are extremely formidable squads heading into Season 0 who are likely to be near the top of the leaderboards going forward. We would like to thank the team owners for taking each other on and in doing so, helping us continue to refinine our Swoops Simulator and ensure it's the most advanced basketball sim the world has to offer.
The Globe TRONers were announced first, per alphabetical order, as this would be played at a neutral location.
A chiptune version "Sweet Georgia Brown" was ceremoniously played as the Globe TRONers took the court, and in a surprising turn of events, combo guard Doge McDermott was announced at the lead guard position. Usually slotted in as the shooting guard, perhaps this was bit of gamesmanship on GM FinchyFinch's part!
McDermott is a 4-star prospect in his 7th season and is an absolute flamethrower from deep, sporting an outstanding 87 3PT rating.
That moved Rajon Trondo to the two guard spot; a scrappy 2-star combo guard who excels as a passer and is normally locked into that point guard spot to head up the TRONers offense.
There are no timeouts here, so that's no problem for starting small forward Chris Webbrowser. Another interesting lineup move as that put the sturdy F/C in the 3 slot. Seemed to be that the Globe TRONers were looking to build out a truly giant lineup and wall off the Robellion.
Sticking at his usual power forward position was Droidmon Green, a 1-star prospect, but one of the best intangibles guys in the league. The heart and soul of the Globe TRONers, their leader and mastermind would look to do all the little things to secure the win.
Rounding out the five and anchoring the middle was Hakeem Olajutron. The 4-star prospect and coach's dream of a center is one of the best bigs in the league at switching out onto the perimeter with his 71 PDEF, and a monster on the offensive glass.
Looking to play spoiler to The Globe TRONers, these were no Washington Generals, but rather The Robellion!
At lead guard, a master of mind games and the midrange, was Kobe Wan Kenobi. A 4-star prospect who looks to get to work in the middle of the court and find his way to the line.
Filling in the shooting guard position was Sith Curry. A 1-star specialist, this 79 rated 3PT shooter was looking to get in the game, space the floor, and knock down some threes like they were womp rats.
The Robellion kept with their most commonly used player at the small forward spot, Luka Skywalker. A heady 1-star, 83 IQ forward who looks to play a bit point guard from the wing with his 70 passing rating. This was a big difference in style here between the two teams at this position and worth keeping an eye on.
At power forward, The Robellion went with none other than the Round Mound of Kashyyyk, Chuckbacca. This 2-star F/C is looking to do exactly what one would expect from a name like that. Get in the paint, get some shots up, eat three to five meals on the offensive boards, and call it a night.
Last but not least, lining up across from Olajutron, was Jabar The Hutt. The 3-star towering center in his 3rd season is an ideal combination of physicality, a savvy scoring touch from the inside, and stifling post defense that imprisons opposing centers.
The lineups were set, the players were loaded, the court had rendered, and the Swoops team gathered together to kick off game one of this best of seven!
Game 1 started off with both teams a little tense. After a quick dunk from Jabar The Hutt, neither team scored a bucket for the next three minutes until Sith Curry cut for a layup and Kobe Wan Kenobi found him in stride.
From there it was a whole lot of missed shots and turnovers for both teams and the quarter ended in a Hothian 16-12 lead for the Robellion.
The second quarter started off a bit better for both teams as Hakeem Olajutron and Jabar The Hutt went back and forth early, battling in the paint for rebounds, swatting a few shots, and making a couple of their own. It's worth noting that Olajutron seemed to be getting pushed out of the paint by Jabar, as he attempted his second three of the night, both of which were thunderous clankers.
Olajutron's early struggles from the floor would normally spell trouble for the Globe TRONers, but playing hero was Doge McDermott who started to heat up halfway through the quarter after a four-point play where Luka Skywalker pushed him out of bounds--a personal foul no matter the protests that they didn't technically touch Doge if they used the force.
Doge would go 5-6 in the quarter including 4-4 from three, but a total team effort from the Robellion and 3 fouls a piece from Droidmon Green and Chris Webbrowser would keep the game close heading into the half as the Globe TRONers led by two, 42-40.
The third quarter started off right where the half ended and Doge McDermott continued his hot shooting to extend the lead for the TRONers. In an effort to match Doge, Luka Skywalker made three consecutive buckets including two 26 & 27ft bombs from deep to keep things from getting out of hand.
The Robellion were not going away quietly, and halfway through the 3rd Kobe Wan Kenobi found the high ground and started racking up trips to the line. For a solid three minute stretch Kobe was going shot-for-shot with the moon-bound McDermott. This was capped off by a six-point swing where Kenobi drained a 25ft three over a way-too-close McDermott and completed the four-point play at the line to tie the game 62-62.
A trip to the line for Doge and Jabar had it knotted up at 64-all before Olajutron backed his way down and hit a little jump hook right as the back-and-forth quarter closed, securing a two point lead for the Globe TRONers, 66-64.
As they entered the fourth, both teams were clearly feeling the weight of the moment and the game entered it's second Ice Age.
The quarter started with Kenobi getting stripped by Olajutron, then Trondo getting his pocket picked by Jabar, a miss from Sith, an offensive rebound from Sith, who passed it off to Jabar, who missed the dunk, then Sith Curry again on the glass, who tossed it off to Chuckbacca, who got fouled and then missed two gimmies at the line. Forget "Sweet Georgia Brown", we needed "Benny Hill" playing instead!
Chuckbacca, in an effort to make up for missing the potential game tying free throws, stole the ball from Olajutron the next play in the half-court, gave an outlet pass to Skywalker, who promptly turned it over to Webbrowser, who then turned it over to Kenobi, who flung it back to Skywalker who was still standing where they had tossed that outlet pass, Luka hoisted a three as soon as the ball was in hand, missed it, the board was snagged by Droidmon Green who then tossed it ahead and finally, with 6:43 left to go in the fourth, the first bucket was made on a dunk from Hakeem Olajutron. Goodness gracious!
A shooting foul on the next Globe TRONers possession by Luka Skywalker would send Droidmon Green to the line and push the lead to 70-64 and it looked like the Globe TRONers were poised to pull away.
Just as Skywalker seemed to be melting down and securing the loss for the Robellion, the forward brought the ball up and drained three long threes on back-to-back-to-back possessions to put the Robellion ahead 73-72 with just under five minutes to play. Their first lead since it was 35-33 in the second quarter!
Skywalker's protagonist-play late in the 4th would force The Globe TRONers to regroup and get back to what had won them the prior quarters, getting the ball to Doge McDermott. The next play Doge would find Trondo at the cup for an and-1, then drained two more threes on back-to-back possessions, including a prayer at the end of the shot clock with 2 minutes to go to put the TRONers up 3.
With a minute left to play in the first game of this sorta-playoff-series, after a Kobe Wan Kenobi runner to cut the Globe TRONer's lead to 83-32, the last handful of possessions would play out like this:
Kobe Wan Kenobi misses a 12 foot jumper.
Hakeem Olajutron misses a baby hook from 3 feet.
Chuckbacca misses a 7 foot push shot and Chris Webbrowser grabs the rebound.
Webbrowser takes the ball up with 42 seconds left to play and the Robellion opt to play the possession out instead of fouling.
Webbrowser backs down into the paint, chews up the clock for a hearty 18 seconds, and is fouled by Jabar The Hutt on a heavily contested 8ft jumper. Just a brutal call for the Robellion who had played fantastic defense for the entire possession up to that point
Webbrowser sauntered up to the line and sank both free throws to put the TRONers up 3.
Still, the Robellion would get a full 24 seconds to work with and could go for a quick two or opt to play for the tie to send it to overtime.
The ball was inbounded, swung around the arc, found an open man, and it was Luka Skywalker who took the 27 footer as the time expired which rattled in and out of the hoop as the buzzer sounded.
The Globe TRONers took Game 1 in thrilling fashion: 85-82.
This was an extremely evenly matched game, with the Robellion winning the battle on the boards by a +6 margin and the Globe TRONers sinking four more threes overall. Ultimately the difference in the game seemed to be the standout performance of The Player of the Game: Doge McDermott.
McDermott kept finding holes in the Robellion defense and knocking down the long ball, making up for an extremely pedestrian night from the rest of his team on the offensive end. He finished with a game-high 38 points in addition to 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and not a single turnover. His shot chart ended up looking like a near perfect game of Battleship as he took aim at the Robellion and gunned them down.
Doge was a blistering 12-17 shooting including 9-12 from 3 and 5-7 from the line. That's good for a 94.62 TS% and a historic night.
Will he continue this hot shooting in Game 2? Will the Robellion mount their forces and push the Globe TRONers back to even it up? Find out tomorrow!