Let the good times roll.
Just 24 hours after capturing the NBA 2K League’s first ever Coinbase 3v3 STEAL OPEN while securing a spot in the 3v3 playoffs, Magic Gaming kept their 5v5 season alive with a 70-61 victory over Raptors Uprising GC in the opening round of THE TICKET on Friday night in Indianapolis.
It had been several weeks since Orlando last suited up for 5v5 action on the virtual hardwood, but that didn’t halt their progress in this mode. While the big storyline on the 3v3 side has been the breakout play of Joshua “unguardable” Hunter, a Rookie of the Year candidate, in 5v5 the Magic’s other acquisition in that four-team blockbuster trade a couple months ago, Wesley “Gen” Mcnair, has lived up to his reputation of being one of the league’s premier scorers.
It wasn’t just his offense, though, that shined bright. He made things awfully difficult on Kenneth “Kenny Got Work” Hailey, who scored just eight points on 3-of-9 shooting from the field.
Gen, now in his third year in the 2KL, erupted for 25 points on 10-of-14 shooting overall and 5-of-8 from 3-point range, while unguardable tallied 21 points and 14 assists and Robert “May” May, who was also stellar in the STEAL OPEN, filled up the box score with 17 points, 13 rebounds, one assist, two steals and one block. Emmanuel “Fantaszn” Gosman and Xavier “Big Saint” St. John each scored 18 points for Toronto, while Xavier “Type” Vescovi recorded 17 points and 15 rebounds.
Up five with just over two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, the Magic had one of their best defensive possessions of the season. Even though they had a hard time collecting the rebound – Toronto in fact took five shots on this one trip down the floor – Orlando’s suffocating defense prevented the Raptors from getting a clean shot off. After finally securing possession, the ball on the other end landed in the hot hands of Gen, who buried a dagger triple with 1:41 remaining.
You could probably count on one hand the number of times the Raptors got a wide-open look. Toronto made just 10 of its 25 3-point attempts and shot under 50 percent from the field overall, with the Magic’s defense playing a big factor in those shooting woes. Orlando also cut off Toronto’s passing lanes most of the night. Matthew “Matty” Grant totaled three steals, while May and Justin “Snubby” Stemerman each had two.
Quotes of the Night
“I definitely felt confident. When I won player of the week and did an interview, I told them we were going to win THE STEAL and THE TICKET…You put the work in, you get something out (of it). We should win. We will win.” – unguardable
“Gen is literally an offensive juggernaut. Whatever you need offensively, he got it. It takes the pressure off me. It’s not really a point guard scoring heavy game. You need the help from someone, and Gen definitely provides that at any point.” – unguardable
“May has truly improved every day at center this year. Obviously, he’s not played a lot of center. He’s done mostly power forward the entire season. He started late at the position, so he’s had an opportunity to improve every single day. And I’ll be honest, he had a rough first quarter. He was 0-for-3. Type kind of had him a little bit early. Type was up yelling at him. The message from me, and Matty said it as well, was like ‘Robbie be aggressive with the ball, keep going up, do not hesitate going up because he got a couple early. Now, if anything, he’s going to think you’re going to be looking to be a little passive, so your go-ups are going to be there even more.’ He’s the heart of our defense at the end of the day. I know Matty has been terrific and Matty’s his guy, but May is May. He’s so prepared. He knows what people are doing before they do it. He’s the best in the business. Robbie is phenomenal. It’s obviously why we’ve had him here for three years.” – Magic Gaming General Manager and Head Coach Jonah Edwards
As they await to find out who their opponent will be in the quarterfinals, Magic Gaming will start preparing for what they hope will be a long day on Saturday. The quarterfinals of THE TICKET tips off at 3 p.m. and is expected to carry on until 10 or 11 p.m. Matchups in this tournament will be played in a best-of-one, single elimination format, with the winner of each game advancing to the next round. The winning teams from the Eastern and Western conference brackets in THE TICKET will earn the 11th and 12th spots in the NBA2KL 5v5 Championships. THE TICKET Finals match between the two NBA2KL 5v5 Championships bound teams will determine the winner of THE TICKET powered by AT&T and the $50,000 cash prize pool.