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Look, we sure can’t fault the NBA for being creative and trying to keep the fans engaged during a coronavirus shutdown that has basically wrecked the season.
The NBA2k Players Tournament has been met with lukewarm interest. The larger gaming community is somewhat engaged, but NBA fans aren’t exactly racing to the TV to see Patrick Beverley talk trash from a chair in his crib. It is good to see Kevin Durant recovered from his coronavirus diagnosis, but now we want to also see him jump and land on that Achilles with no pain.
ESPN2 will show all four quarterfinals matchups live on Thursday night, while ESPN will carry the semifinals on Saturday.
For those who want to see pros actually playing hoops, NBA All-Stars Chris Paul, Young and 2020 Hall of Fame inductee Tamika Catchings will headline the first-ever NBA HORSE Challenge presented by State Farm, exclusively on ESPN beginning April 12.
In total, eight NBA and WNBA players and legends will participate in a single-elimination shooting competition.
State Farm will donate more than $200,000 in support of Coronavirus relief efforts. This donation builds on the more than $74 million that has been contributed by the NBA Family to date to support coronavirus relief efforts through its NBA Together campaign.
I’m not confident that the NBA’s game of horse will be entertaining. Hope they prove me wrong, but right now I’m not convinced. pic.twitter.com/kMgO0Epvgu
— Carolina Blitz (@KeepBlitzin) April 9, 2020
Beginning Sunday, April 12 at 7 p.m. ET, Paul, Young, Catchings, Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine, three-time WNBA All-Star Allie Quigley of the Chicago Sky, Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley Jr. and NBA Finals MVPs Chauncey Billups and Paul Pierce will match shots against one another in a single-elimination HORSE competition from their respective, isolated home courts. ESPN NBA commentator Mark Jones will serve as the official host.
NBA HORSE Challenge Presented by State Farm participants will be divided into two groups of four, with the winners of the first two games in each group meeting in the semifinals. The winner from each group will move on to the championship round. ESPN will present the four quarterfinal games on Sunday. The semifinals and the championship game will air on Thursday, April 16, beginning at 9 p.m. ET.
A coin toss at the start of each game will determine who shoots first, with the more senior player calling heads or tails. Players must describe each shot attempt, specifying the type of score they intend to make before taking a shot, such as a bank shot or swish. Dunking is prohibited. The first player in each game to accumulate the letters “H-O-R-S-E” after failing to match five shots is eliminated.
You can’t knock the NBA for trying. MLB players seem to be in hibernation and NFL players are still hoping to have a season in the Fall, so they are just chilling right now.
Quarterfinals Group 1: Trae Young vs. Chauncey Billups
Quarterfinals Group 1: Tamika Catchings vs. Mike Conley
Quarterfinals Group 2: Zach Lavine vs. Paul Pierce
Quarterfinals Group 2: Chris Paul vs. Allie Quigley
The semifinal round for each group will be played on April 16th, immediately followed by the HORSE Championship game.