If you didn't catch yesterday's thrilling Game 1 of our very first seven game series where the Globe TRONers grabbed a narrow 85-83 victory over the Robellion, you should check out what went down leading up to today's match.
The Swoops team was eager to see what Game 2 had in store. Would Doge McDermott continue to rise? Will Luka Skywalker avenge his last second miss? Will the Robellion tie things up? Or will the Globe TRONers take a commanding 2-0 lead? Tune-in next ti--no--this time on Basketball Z!
The lineups were locked-in for the series and no adjustments were allowed, that means there were no notable changes to the teams rosters and these swoopsters were going to get very familiar with each other as the week goes on.
In a departure from Game 1's refrigerated start, both teams came out with their burners at full blast at the start of this one. On the very first possession Jabar the Hutt caught a lob from Sith Curry for a huge and-1 over Doge McDermott, who couldn't get out of the way quick enough and crashed to the floor like a pumped penny stock.
In an effort to recoup some value, Doge took the ball up and fired a deep three for the Globe TRONer's first shot of the night, which barely missed off the back iron.
After a few trips to the line, dueling three-pointers by Sith Curry and McDermott, and a rocket-shot 27ft three from Hakeem Olajutron, we had a fast paced, 9-10 game one-third of the way through the opening quarter.
However, as the match neared the 5-minute mark the Globe TRONer's offense seemed to run out of gas and the Robellion took their opportunity to secure pole position.
In a full battalion effort, Sith Curry, Kobe Wan Kenobi, and Luka Skywalker all had seven points each for a jackpot of a quarter, and what was one a one point game had ballooned into a 13-point lead for the Robellion: 30-17 heading into the second.
It's worth noting that the Globe TRONers were lucky to be down only 13, as Doge McDermott was once again the only strong contributor on offense and rallied the team late, sinking back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers in the closing minutes.
Things calmed down after the break and the second quarter was kept fairly even as the Globe TRONers refocused, while the Robellion's Tatooinian hot-start on offense cooled off back to a normal temperature.
The TRONers found their energy from captain Droidmon Green who consistently battled in the paint on both ends and hustled for three different putbacks in as many minutes and Hakeem Olajutron started to find his rhythm against Jabar the Hutt down low.
While it was a much better stint for the Globe TRONers, a close quarter did little to help the Game 1 winners, as shot-for-shot the Robellion kept up and ended up extending their lead by two by snack time. At halftime it was Robellion 49, Globe TRONers 34.
In the very first possession of the third quarter Droidmon Green was called for a shooting foul after kicking Chuckbacca in the wookiees during a dunk attempt; an action Green called "part of his natural programming" and "was just how these legs were designed to move when in air."
Chuckbacca missed the second one and the rebound was snagged by Olajutron, who rumbled up the floor for a pull up 27 footer. Nothing but net. It was the center's third make in as many attempts and the TRONers were going to require that kind of shot making to get back in the game.
Unfortunately, that ended up being their last bucket until 6 minutes left in the quarter and the lead had grown to 20 in favor of the Robellion. Doge was struggling from deep, Droidmon Green missed four shots after his erroneous ejecto-leg, and this game had all the makings of a blowout.
After a 3 minute foul-fest for both teams the quarter settled at a 66-47, a commanding Robellion lead.
The Globe TRONers looked heavily outmatched without the shooting of McDermott, who had buoyed their entire offense in Game 1. They needed some tricks to attempt a 4th quarter rally, be that a fake bucket of water thrown towards the opposing team's bench, Trondo sitting on top of the rim to receive easy alley-oops, or a good old fashioned ball-on-a-string.
As we continue to improve the Swoops simulator we'll be able to tell which one of these tricks ended up doing the trick for the TRONers, or if it was something else, as all of a sudden the TRONers came out with a defensive effort had the Robellion in a force grip.
The Robellion were choking on their shots and coughing the ball up possession after possession. A turnover on Skywalker, a Chuckbacca turnover, a pass slipped right through Jabar's mits, and a whole lot of missed shots saw the Robellion fail to score a point until 6:22 left in the fourth and the lead had been cut to 12.
Doge McDermott made his first three in almost two full quarters, Droidmon had a lay-up on a fast break, Chris Webbrowser opened up a new tab on an 8 footer and just like that, with 4:44 to go, it was only a nine-point game.
The Globe TRONers pushed the pace up on the Robellion who seemed to be a bit taken aback by the late game heroics and were just barely holding on by virtue of a Sith Curry end-of-the-shot clock three and a pair of Chuckbacca free throws.
With 41 seconds left in the game, Chris Webbrowser cut the lead to four on a 4ft baby hook and the Globe TRONers were poised to stormtrooper their way back and send this to overtime. They would need a huge defensive stop on the next play to keep their hopes alive.
The ball was inbounded and found its way to Jabar the Hutt who now found Chris Webbrowser on him. A mirror image from the end of last game where Webbrowser had the ball in the post at the end of the game and was fouled, allowing the TRONers to hold on to a two-point lead with the game winding down.
Jabar pounded the rock and took his shot a bit earlier than expected and in a fate tied together like the cables of a sharply turning pod racer, it was Webbrowser who fouled the shooter late in the clock, as Jabar sunk the 13ft middy and completed the three-point play to seal the game.
The Robellion would hold on to tie the series up 1-1 by a score of 82-73.
Quarter to quarter this was definitely a game of runs by both teams. A +13 1st quarter by the Robellion and a +10 4th quarter by the Globe TRONers sandwiched an extremely close 2nd and 3rd quarter from both teams.
It was a tough night for Droidmon who failed to grab a rebound in the second half and shot 33% from the floor on a team high 18 shots. Doge was a shell of himself compared to Game 1, and had more missed free throws and turnovers than he did makes from distance. But Hakeem scored a big 19/12 double-double and having him engaged will be key for the TRONers going forward.
For the Robellion it was an unspectacular scoring night for their forwards as Luka and Chuck were a combined 7-26 from the floor. A locked in Sith Curry was crucial on both ends of the floor and went 5-9 from deep while picking up 5 (!!!) steals and 2 (???) blocks.
However, thanks to his game high scoring effort and late game heroics, the Player of the Game was Jabar the Hutt who had 22/8/2 on 75% from the floor. His only make outside of 10ft this series? That 13 footer to put this one out of reach.
A huge win for the Robellion to tie the series up but their crumbling 4th quarter and the Globe TRONer's big run, it's anyone's guess how Game 3 is going to go.