ORLANDO – It’s quite normal in professional sports for teams to have strong home records and mediocre or even poor road records. But in the virtual space, that usually isn’t something anyone pays attention to. Maybe just a fluke, but court layout has mattered for Magic Gaming this season in the NBA 2K League, as they are now 10-2 at “home” after sweeping Celtics Crossover Gaming on Thursday night. On the flip side, they are 2-12 in “road” contests.
Game 1: Back at point guard, Brendan “Reizey” Hill delivered one of his best performances of the season with 34 points and 11 assists in Magic Gaming’s 79-72 victory in the opener.
The three-year NBA 2K League veteran, who played shooting guard on Wednesday night in the series against Grizz Gaming, shot 13-of-19 from the field, 3-of-6 from 3-point range and 5-of-8 from the free throw line. He drilled a 3-pointer and made a dunk to create some extra separation down the stretch.
Reizey returning to the one also meant Justin “Snubby” Stemerman switched back to the two, and he, like his backcourt mate, came up clutch. With just under a minute left and Orlando up five, Snubby knocked down a three from the left wing.
“We were very confident in our ability to score tonight,” Magic Gaming General Manager and Head Coach Jonah Edwards said. “I think Reid was phenomenal. I think our backcourt was just great in general. You can tell the team was playing a little looser, a little more confident tonight than they had been, probably due to the fact that we don’t have the playoff race on our shoulders. That pressure is lifted.”
Robert “May” May and Daniel “DT” Tlais combined for 26 points and 18 of Orlando’s 20 rebounds. DT hit the dagger triple with 4.8 ticks remaining.
Sheriff “FT” Cruz led Celtics Crossover Gaming with 25 points and 11 assists, while Jhade “worthingcolt” Black recorded 19 points, 11 rebounds and five assists and Dorian “WalkingBucket” Earl Miller chipped in with 14 points.
With this victory, the Magic snapped their seven-game skid and ended the Celtics’ five-game winning streak.
Game 2: On a recent episode of the Magic Gaming Podcast, Jackson “Potts” Potts talked about the importance of always staying ready. As the team’s sixth man, he knows that at any point his name might be called upon to step in and make an impact.
That’s precisely what transpired in this contest, as Edwards inserted the backup power forward into the lineup, and he certainly made the most of his opportunity.
So much so that he knocked down the game’s signature shot. With just under 30 seconds left and Orlando up three, Snubby found Potts for a wide-open right-corner 3-pointer that helped seal the Magic’s 76-70 victory.
“I was very confident. I always stay ready. I’ve had the opportunity to get some reps in practice,” Potts said. “I can tell the team feels comfortable with me in the lineup as they do with DT, so I felt like this wouldn’t be a switch that would set us back any further than having DT in the lineup.”
Someone else who came up huge down the stretch was rookie Josue “FutureClutch” Acosta Gomez, who collected back-to-back steals midway through the fourth quarter that led to a pair of dunks – one he connected on and the other slammed in by Snubby.
“That kid’s a sparkplug,” Potts said of FutureClutch. “He pulls plays out of nowhere. He turns games around for us all the time. That type of stuff is not common around the league. But what he does, he does that consistently.”
Orlando, which trailed by eight late in the third, outscored Boston by 12 in the final frame. All five Magic players scored in double figures. Snubby led with 19 points, Reizey scored 18, May had 16, FutureClutch tallied 15 and Potts chipped in with 10.
FT led the C’s with 28 points and 12 assists, while worthingcolt scored 25 points.
Magic Gaming will wrap up their regular season on Wednesday, Aug. 11 when they take on their Sunshine State rivals, Heat Check Gaming, starting at 7 p.m. Orlando and Miami squared off earlier this season with the Heat handing the Magic a pair of heartbreaking defeats. In the opener, Juan “Hotshot” Gonzalez made a game-winning dunk with 2.1 seconds remaining. Then in the rematch, Sten “Sav” Valge-Saar buried a go-ahead 3-pointer with 2.6 seconds left in overtime.
Quote of the Night
“When we walked in today, Jonah said we probably are not going to be able to get in the playoffs in the traditional way but we likely are going to have to go THE TICKET route, so let’s go out here and have some fun. Let’s play loose, be excited. And today, we are just some guys being dudes. We are going out there, we are having fun. We handled business and I think team morale is very high right now.” – Potts