The Utah Jazz has partnered with SpaceStation Gaming, the multi-game esports team founded by Salt Lake City-based social media influencer Shaun “Shonduras” McBride, the two parties told ESPN on Friday.
With the partnership, the Jazz and SpaceStation will share marketing efforts and resources as they continue to push into the esports space. The deal is not a traditional investment, merger or acquisition, as done by many other professional sports teams or their owners, but focuses solely on cross-promoting and sharing of information between the basketball team and the esports organization.
“We weren’t just looking for someone to bring a bunch of money to the table,” McBride told ESPN. “We have a lot of traction with sponsors and opportunities, and SpaceStation has the capability to grow financially, so we weren’t looking necessarily for financial backing. Both of us looked at this partnership as an opportunity to learn from the other person, provide value to the other person and just over-deliver. There’s already been so many sponsor connections that we’ve shared back-and-forth — event, engagement and exposure opportunities, too. It’s just built off of how we can work together to build bigger.”
Smart came off the bench and had nine points, five rebounds, four assists and three blocks in his first action since right thumb surgery. He played 25 minutes wearing a protective splint and had a key assist to Horford late from the bottom of a scrum beneath three Milwaukee players.
“I just tried to make sure I got him the ball and it was going to take everything I had,” Smart said. “They weren’t taking it from me.”
Terry Rozier added 16 points and five assists for Boston. The home team has won all five games in the first-round series, and Game 6 is Thursday in Milwaukee.
Khris Middleton led the Bucks with 23 points, Jabari Parker added 17 points and eight rebounds, and Giannis Antetokounmpo had a series-low 16 points with 10 rebounds and nine assists.
The Celtics led by 16 before Milwaukee rallied to make it 74-70 with 7:33 left. Middleton scored later and was fouled to get Milwaukee within 84-79, but he failed to complete the three-point play.
A few possessions later, Smart managed to squeeze out the pass to Horford with three Bucks draped over him, and Horford easily dropped in a layup to make it 86-79 with 28.1 seconds left.
Milwaukee got within 87-84 after a layup by Eric Bledsoe, but the Celtics hit enough free throws the rest of the way to secure the win.
The Bucks entered the game shooting an NBA playoff-best 54 percent from the field, but they hit just 37 percent for the game (32 of 87) — a series low.
Boston needed an energy boost after slow starts in Games 3 and 4, and Smart gave the Celtics exactly that.