At no point this season did Magic Gaming’s confidence ever waver. Even before they acquired Joshua “unguardable” Hunter, whose skills on the virtual hardwood are off the charts, this team never doubted their potential.
In Indianapolis, with a ton at stake, they rose to the occasion, winning four straight series in the Coinbase STEAL OPEN, including sweeping both Gen.G and Heat Check Gaming on Thursday to earn a spot in the 3v3 playoffs and then defeating Jazz Gaming in four games to capture the tournament championship.
It’s the first time in Magic Gaming’s history they have qualified for a postseason, and the first time they have ever won an NBA 2K League tournament banner.
Game 1 vs. Gen.G
Unguardable recorded 14 points and his 3-pointer on the last possession lifted Magic Gaming to a 22-19 victory. Trailing 11-6, Orlando tightened up defensively down the stretch to seize momentum. They also out-rebounded Gen.G 5-1. Robert “May” May, one of the NBA 2K League’s best rebounders, grabbed four of them to go along with scoring eight points and dishing out four assists.
Game 2 vs. Gen.G
May’s work on the glass played a big factor in this contest as well. The four-year 2KL veteran pulled down two offensive rebounds on Orlando’s final possession, which culminated with unguardable knocking down a mid-range jay to secure the Magic’s 22-18 win. May also made an impact from a scoring standpoint, finishing with 10 points on 5-of-5 shooting. Matthew “Matty” Grant also came up big with seven points, two rebounds and two assists.
Game 3 vs. Gen.G
Most figured Gen.G would struggle containing unguardable, which proved true. But that wasn’t the only reason Magic Gaming rolled by the Tigers. May’s dominance was a major factor as well. He made all 15 of his shots in the three games combined, including six in Orlando’s 22-18 series-clinching victory. After Donald “Bxmpydon” Newsome hit a three to pull Gen.G within one at 20-19, unguardable drilled a wide-open triple from the left wing to end the series.
Game 1 vs. Heat Check Gaming
Magic Gaming has historically played well against their Sunshine State rivals. That continued in the opener, as unguardable posted 15 points, May tallied four points and six rebounds and Matty had two points in Orlando’s 21-10 victory. From the midway point on, it was all Magic, who scored 11 of the game’s last 13 points.
Game 2 vs. Heat Check Gaming
Like Game 1, the Magic took control midway through. Down 12-7, Orlando clamped down defensively, while unguardable created plenty of separation off the dribble to get clean shots off in their 23-17 win. The electrifying rookie guard knocked down all four of his shots and finished with 14 points and four assists, while May also went perfect from the field and registered six points. As they did in their series against NetsGC, the Heat made a lineup change, moving Sten “Sav” Aleksander Dalge-Saar to center and using Alexander David “Bsmoove” Reese and Kennedy “Sawc” Tauala Jr. as guards.
Game 3 vs. Heat Check Gaming
Nothing the Heat did strategically threw Magic Gaming, and especially unguardable, off track. Orlando made all eight of its shot attempts, including four by unguardable, who tallied 12 points in the Magic’s 21-11 victory to complete the sweep and earn a spot in the 3v3 playoffs. It’s the third time this season Orlando defeated Miami. The first was in 5v5 action in early June and the second was in 3v3 in mid-July.
Game 1 vs. Jazz Gaming
Former Magic Gaming player Christopher “Duck” Charles, who was sent to Utah as part of the four-team blockbuster trade that brought unguardable to Orlando, recorded 15 points to lead Jazz Gaming to a 21-14 victory. May led the Magic with eight points and unguardable had an uncharacteristically off game with just six points on 2-of-5 shooting.
Game 2 vs. Jazz Gaming
Magic Gaming responded with a lopsided win of their own. Unguardable bounced back with 12 points, including the game-sealing triple, and May and Matty combined to score 10 points in their 22-7 triumph. Duck, meanwhile, cooled off, making just two of his five shot attempts. Utah, as a team, connected on only one of its six 3-point tries.
Game 3 vs. Jazz Gaming
A common theme throughout the STEAL OPEN, Magic Gaming’s defense got better as the game wore on. A seesaw battle early, Orlando prevented Utah from creating much space after the midway point. The Magic’s offense started cooking, too, as unguardable accumulated nine points, Matty scored seven and May, who made the game-winning layup in their 22-15 victory, pitched in with six points and five boards.
Game 4 vs. Jazz Gaming
For obvious reasons, unguardable is going to get much of the praise for the Magic’s turnaround this season. Many will applaud May as well for his rebounding and interior scoring. But, the Magic would not be where they are without Matty, one of 3v3s best perimeter defenders. His steal on Duck on Utah’s final possession led to unguardable knocking down the series-clinching triple in Orlando’s 21-17 win for their first ever banner championship.
Quotes of the Night
“I’m really just happy for the Magic Gaming organization. Us getting our first banner is just an awesome moment. These guys have worked so hard. There’s not a single team in the league that has worked harder than this team this year despite the results early on. They stuck through it. They worked every day.” – Magic Gaming General Manager and Head Coach Jonah Edwards while talking with Jamie “Dirk” Ruiz during the banner championship ceremony
“I genuinely feel like the Orlando Magic and Magic Gaming organizations are just the best in the entire NBA 2K League. I genuinely feel that way. I think we are one of the most invested teams in the entire league. As far as our infrastructure and our facilities and these things, the support level we give these players every day is up there with anybody. There aren’t a lot of teams who can say that truly. For us to be able to win one for them is just huge. It’s such an honor to be a part of this organization for myself. The belief level they’ve had in me over the last few years has meant a lot to me personally.” – Edwards
“It’s definitely spectacular. It’s good for me, but it’s even better for my teammates. It’s special. We did something…I knew it was going to happen. I texted Matty the day I got traded – literally the day I got traded, probably a couple hours after – (and told him) we are going to win the three v. three STEAL. I just knew it. I felt like there was nobody better than me in the East or in the West in three v. three. If we were together the whole year, we were going to be a playoff team (without relying on the STEAL OPEN). But it worked out for the best. We got a banner.” – unguardable, who was named the STEAL OPEN MVP
Magic Gaming is ecstatic knowing they will be in Indianapolis for the 3v3 playoffs. But that jubilance will be raised to a whole other level if their trip includes the 5v5 playoffs. They will start that journey on Friday at 7:30 p.m. when they take on Raptors Uprising GC in the opening round of THE TICKET. Orlando and Toronto played in 5v5 action in THE TIPOFF, which was obviously well before the Magic had unguardable on the roster. The Raptors won that meeting.