ORLANDO – Magic Gaming is one win away from clinching a spot in the 5v5 playoffs after victories in wildly different fashions in the first two rounds of the TICKET against Celtics Crossover Gaming and Cavs Legion GC.
Magic Gaming Rallies Past Celtics Crossover Gaming in OT Thriller
Some of the most exciting games in NBA 2K League history have taken place in the TICKET. That now includes Friday’s thriller between Magic Gaming and Celtics Crossover Gaming.
The Magic trailed nearly the entire game, by as many as 16, and by 11 at the start of the fourth quarter. They kept chipping away at Boston’s lead throughout the final frame behind balanced scoring and tenacious defense and ultimately prevailed in overtime 73-71.
“It was kind of a mindset shift,” Magic Gaming General Manager and Head Coach Jonah Edwards said. “I think we started dictating the terms on the defensive side of the ball, where in the first half, especially, they would come up, get something easy and they would be done. We just changed our mindset of what they are going to get…We made plays. We got bump steals. We made good decisions and scored enough. Our offense was not good against Boston by any means, but scored enough to somehow pull that one out.”
Jarvis “Simptoms” Thompson, just after Matthew “Matty” Grant came up with a steal off an inbounds pass, buried a go-ahead 3-pointer with 14.8 seconds left in the extra session.
The Celtics missed their final four floor shots in regulation, including a potential winner at the buzzer by Torin “Tayzo” Williams. On the prior possession, Robert “May” May split a pair at the free throw line with 2.2 seconds remaining to tie the game.
Sheriff “FT” Cruz, who led Boston with 28 points, missed a potential winning last-second 3-pointer in OT.
All five Magic Gaming players scored in double figures, including Joshua “unguardable” Hunter, who racked up 26 points and 12 assists. Devin “Scoreo” Lawrence recorded a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds, while May posted 12 points and six rebounds, Matty scored 11 points and Simptoms had 10 points.
After being held to 10 points in the second quarter and 15 in the third, Orlando scored 22 in the final frame of regulation.
Not only did the Magic advance in the TICKET with this victory, but they also earned revenge from their June 1 loss to the Celtics in TIPOFF group play.
Magic Gaming Dominates Cavs Legion GC in Wire-to-Wire Victory
From one extreme to the next.
In the prior game, Magic Gaming rallied back from 16 down to beat Celtics Crossover Gaming. In this contest, Orlando raced out to a huge lead and never looked back in an 89-59 victory over Cavs Legion GC to advance in the TICKET.
The Magic led by 17 after the first quarter, by 29 at halftime, and by 33 through three periods.
“We’ve given them fits with our offense – both times we played them in the past,” Edwards said. “The biggest thing is we just don’t let their backend pick-and-roll get comfortable at all…It got to the point in the game where they had no answer for anything. On the defensive side, May and Scoreo had probably one of the best games as a power forward-center duo that they’ve had all season, so it made it really, really easy for us on the other end.”
Unguardable scored 24 of his 37 points and dished out 10 of his 17 assists prior to intermission, while Simptoms had 13 of his 16 points through the first 12 minutes. Matty finished with 15 points, May had 11 and Scoreo scored 10.
For the game, Orlando made 33 of its 49 floor shots (67.3 percent) and 15 of its 26 3-point attempts (57.7 percent). Cleveland, meanwhile, in large part due to the Magic’s stifling defense, made just 24 of its 46 shots from the field overall (52.1 percent) and 11 of its 30 3-point tries (36.7 percent).
Magic Gaming will now square off against Knicks Gaming in the Eastern Conference Finals of the TICKET. The winner will qualify for the playoffs and play in the TICKET championship for prize money.
Orlando beat New York 81-60 on May 26 in TIPOFF group play.
“It’s a team we scored against a lot the first time we played them,” Edwards said. “We’ve really performed well against them in practice over the course of the season. They are a team we are comfortable playing. But, they have a really dangerous backcourt. They’ve gotten a lot more threes up in the second half of the season. If they are shooting the lights out, they are going to be really tough to beat. So it’s going to start there.”
Last year, the Magic made the 5v5 playoffs by advancing to the TICKET Finals.