Heat’s Derrick Jones Jr. eliminated by Clippers’ Montrezl Harrell in NBA2K tournament

Tribune Content Agency

Derrick Jones Jr. will have to go back to beating up on his Miami Heat teammates, with his run in ESPN’s NBA2K Players Tournament ending with a quarterfinal loss Thursday night to Los Angeles Clippers forward Montrezl Harrell.

Playing as the Dallas Mavericks, Jones lost 71-66, with Harrell playing as the Portland Trail Blazers.

Heat teammate Kenrick Nunn said he was not surprised Jones advanced to the quarterfinals.

“He goes to the game 24/7,” Nunn said.

But after upsetting top-seeded Kevin Durant in last week’s opening round, Jones ran into an opponent who was coming off a first-round blowout of Indiana Pacers forward Domantas Sabonis.

Jones, quiet with his 2K in-game commentary in comparison to the loquacious Harrell, expressed disappointment and confusion at times as the two conversed during the game.

At one point, Jones sounded like Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, when he complained of his team’s transition defense, “I don’t understand how I don’t stop the ball.”

But, mostly, Jones was perplexed by the play of 7-foot-4 Boban Marjanovic.

At one point, when Marjanovic attempted a long jumper, Jones said, “Are you serious?”

And, later, when Marjanovic spotted up in the corner, Jones said, “You in the corner for what, bro?”

He wasn’t alone in his criticism, with Harrell at one point saying of the former Heat center Hassan Whiteside, who he had in his Blazers lineup, “What are you doing, Whiteside?”

Jones trailed 20-16 at the end of the opening period, 34-28 at halftime and 52-42 going into the fourth quarter.

During a pause, Jones was asked by Harrell what he was doing during the shutdown, with NBA play halted on March 11 due to the new coronavirus pandemic.

“Nothing really, I just been playing 2K a lot,” he said. “I had bought a little bike and I got a whole bunch of weight sets.”

All while remaining in South Florida.

“I’m in Miami,” he said. “I didn’t feel like going nowhere.”

There was a bit of gamesmanship before the game. When Jones initially selected the Philadelphia 76ers as his team of choice, Harrell told him that if that was the case, he would utilize the Milwaukee Bucks.

Having won his tournament opener utilizing the Bucks, Jones then agreed to a compromise, instead utilizing the Mavericks, with Harrell then opting to play as the Trail Blazers.

During the fourth quarter, Jones said of his decision, “Maybe I should have gone with my first choice.”

Because Jones utilized the Bucks in the opening round, he was not allowed to select them the balance of the tournament. Jones’ remaining team choices Thursday from his pre-selected eight teams were the Heat, Boston Celtics, Nets, Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers and 76ers.

Harrell utilized his own Clippers in the first round, thereby not allowed to use them again.

Jones entered as the No. 16 seed in the 16-player field, a seed based on his own player ranking in the game and not on his gaming skill.

The tournament is being contested on the Xbox One platform. The winner will select a charity beneficiary to receive a $100,000 donation from 2K, the NBA and the NBPA in support of ongoing new coronavirus relief efforts.

Harrell will next face Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker in a Saturday’s semifinals, after Booker defeated Washington Wizards rookie forward Rui Hachimura in Thursday’s first quarterfinal.

ESPN earlier Thursday rated the gaming setups of the players in the tournament.

The website wrote, “Jones Jr. obviously plays video games regularly. He was leaning forward in his chair, had his wall of shoes on display in the background and had his headset on. Jones had multiple monitors! A fridge in the background! There’s no way he should have been seeded 16th.”


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