ORLANDO – We’re just in Week 2 of Season 4 of the NBA 2K League and already Magic Gaming and 76ers GC have developed quite the rivalry. They’ve now played seven games against one another in 2021, including two on Wednesday.
Just like their battles in THE TIPOFF, Orlando and Philadelphia went back-and-forth most of the night, with the Magic (4-2) prevailing in the opener and the Sixers (3-1) coming out on top in the finale.
Although done playing each other in the regular season, it wouldn’t be a surprise if these two squads met up again, either in a future tournament or in the playoffs.
Game 1: Not many players, especially among centers, have performed better in the early portion of the season than Robert “May” May, who delivered another sensational effort in the opener with 24 points and nine rebounds in Magic Gaming’s 65-58 victory.
Outplaying his counterpart and former NBA 2K League MVP Dayne “OneWildWalnut” Downey, May made four consecutive dunks down the stretch to help Orlando pull away.
“He’s just very composed,” Magic Gaming General Manager/Head Coach Jonah Edwards said of May, who is in his second season in Orlando. “He has a style of play that I think is a little frustrating to play against when we are doing well and I think we know that. Also, a lot of the flaws a lot of people think he has – I wouldn’t even say have been corrected because he normally plays this way – but I think just the group we have brings it out of him a little easier I would say.”
Another critical shot came right before the end of the third quarter when Justin “Snubby” Stemerman collapsed the defense and kicked the ball out to a wide open Daniel “DT” Tlais, who drilled the corner jumper with two tenths of a second left in the period to give Magic Gaming the lead going into the final frame.
Brendan “Reizey” Hill scored 16 points and handed out 10 assists for Orlando, which accumulated five more dimes than Philadelphia. Snubby chipped in with 15 points and Josue “FutureClutch” Acosta Gomez was among those helping slow down Andre “Dre” Marshall, who made just 10 of his 22 shot attempts and two of his eight 3-point tries despite finishing with a game-high 25 points.
Game 2: While Magic Gaming generally held Dre in check in the first meeting of the night, that wasn’t the case in the rematch. Philly’s rookie point guard exploded for 33 points, making 15 of his 16 shot attempts, and the Sixers got enough from their supporting cast in their 78-70 win.
Dre’s backcourt buddy and fellow 2021 first round draft pick Robert “Caliraq” Ruiz got hot late with 10 of his 15 points coming in the final period. Scoreless going into the fourth, Alexander “Steez” Bernstein hit a big triple down the stretch as well.
“We definitely know that Dre and Walnut are their best players offensively. I think there is no surprise there. The numbers show that and I think they would be more than willing to admit that,” Edwards said. “Obviously, with Dre killing it like he has been in the regular season and THE TIPOFF tournament and obviously in game two he was as well, the goal was to get it out of his hands (in the fourth quarter). We did not do a great job against him in game two at all.”
Reizey led Orlando with 25 points and eight assists, while May posted 22 points and nine rebounds and Snubby tallied 15 points, three assists and three steals. DT buried two of the Magic’s eight 3-pointers.
76ers GC only missed 10 shots all game with 20 of their 34 made baskets assisted.
Quote of the Night
“Just comes from me and him playing going back years and obviously seeing him play last year. Jonah knew from my gameplay last year and his last year what to expect when he paired us together.” – Snubby on meshing well so far with Reizey in the Magic’s backcourt.
Magic Gaming will get their first up-close look at Enrique “630” Xavier Barraza, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NBA 2K League Draft, when they take on Pacers Gaming on Thursday, June 10 beginning at 7 p.m. Indiana’s rookie point guard got off to a spectacular start by scoring a combined 65 points in the Pacers’ pair of Week 1 wins over Knicks Gaming.
“We know what to expect from the Pacers. That’s a team we’ve scrimmaged several times,” Edwards said. “Other than 630, they have guys that are league veterans that have been around the block. So we know exactly kind of what they want to do whereas Philadelphia – obviously this is our seventh game against them – they have newer guys. So, it does take time to pick up on those tendencies at a high level. That’s the good thing about going against the Pacers as opposed to Philadelphia. But regardless, the Pacers have a plethora of challenges they create with 630.”
Just two nights later on Saturday, June 12, starting at 9 p.m., the Magic and Heat Check Gaming will square off. Miami lost all four of their contests in the opening week of the regular season.