The Slashers needed some last-second magic to slide by the Wrath, 64-62, before thrashing the Buzzsaw, 57-32, in Friday’s Main Event to pull within a ½-game of the No. 2 seed and a playoff bye. The Buzzsaw (8-5) maintain a slim lead over the Slashers (7-5) for the free pass to the semifinal. The Slashers’ Amir Smith (Missouri City, Tex.) enjoyed his two best offensive games of the season, finishing the session with 44 points on 16-of-24 shooting. The Slashers and Buzzsaw could meet again in Sunday’s Main Event. The Wrath (5-5), who still have an outside chance to land the 2-seed, return to action on Saturday.
Game 1 – Slashers 64, Wrath 62
The Slashers and Wrath entered Friday’s opening game looking to keep pace with the Buzzsaw in pursuit of the No. 2 seed in the playoffs. The Slashers used a fourth-quarter scoring spree from Tony Crosby II (Long Beach, Calif.) and a last-second stop from Nathan Karsjens (Ackley, Ia.) to secure a crucial 64-62 victory. The Wrath led 51-39 after three quarters, but Crosby scored 12 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter and evened the count at 53-53 on a dunk with 2:45 remaining in regulation. A layup by Amir Smith with 17 ticks left put the Slashers up 64-62, setting the stage for Karsjens’ heroics. The former Western Illinois tight end and long snapper rejected a game-winning dunk attempt by Ty McGee (Littleton, Colo.) at the buzzer to preserve the victory. Smith finished with a then-season-high 18 points. McGee bolstered his Offensive Player of the Year credentials by tallying 33 points, his fourth game of the season with 30 or more.
Game 2 – Buzzsaw 75, Rumble 53
The Buzzsaw put together their finest offensive performance of the season in a 75-53 victory over the reeling Rumble in Friday’s second contest. The Buzzsaw came into the game averaging a league-low 40.3 points per game but had scored more than that by the intermission. Their 75 points were 15 more than they scored in any other game this season. The Buzzsaw built a 43-34 halftime lead behind 18 points from Ralph Bellamy (St. Louis, Mo.). Jamaal Barnes Jr. (Los Angeles, Calif.) led the Buzzsaw with 21 points, while Tyquan Scott (Long Beach, N.Y.) was credited with seven stops. Time is quickly running out for the Rumble, who dropped their fourth straight game, fell to 1-7 for the season, and now need a miracle to make the playoffs. Tamyrik Fields (Augusta, Ga.) led the Rumble in points (18) and stops (three).
Main Event – Slashers 57, Buzzsaw 32
The Slashers evened the season series against the Buzzsaw at 2-2 with a vital 57-32 win in Friday evening’s Main Event, tightening the race for the remaining postseason bye. The Slashers sprinted to an 18-7 first-quarter lead and were never seriously challenged the rest of the way. Amir Smith powered the Slashers offense with a season-most 26 points. Tony Crosby II filled the stat sheet with 12 points, seven hits, six assists, six loose ball recoveries and two steals. Nathan Karsjens matched his season high with 10 stops, while Bradley Laubacher (Bend, Ore.) matched a league season high with 16 LBRs. The Buzzsaw, whose offense stalled again, were led by Ralph Bellamy, who contributed 12 points.
SlamBall is back Saturday, August 12 at 7:30 p.m. PT/10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN+.