ORLANDO – Magic Gaming closed out their regular season on Wednesday night by splitting their two-game series with Heat Check Gaming.
Orlando headed into the night hoping for a sweep of Miami. That potential feat had a long shot at earning them a playoff berth. The more likely scenario of that outcome would have been Magic Gaming securing the sixth spot in the NBA 2K League’s Eastern Conference, which would have advanced them to the conference championship round of THE TICKET, a tournament that grants postseason berths to two teams.
Instead, Orlando (13-15) will now have to fight its way through the season’s final tournament if it wants to keep its playoff hopes alive. Its seeding will now depend on the outcomes of games throughout the week.
Game 1: Magic Gaming utilized a strong start, a balanced offensive effort, and suffocating defense to top Heat Check Gaming, 67-57, in the opening contest of the series.
Orlando tipped off the game with a 14-2 run with all five of its players scoring during that span. The energy from that instant outburst permeated the matchup as Magic Gaming led from wire to wire.
Point guard Brendan “Reizey” Hill finished the contest with a game-high 25 points to go along with five assists, while small forward Josue “FutureClutch” Acosta Gomez scored 14. Orlando’s lockdown defender also played suffocating defense on Miami’s Sten “Sav” Valge-Saar.
“(FutureClutch) was going up against his best friend, Sav, so he definitely knows Sav,” said Robert “May” May, who had nine points, 13 rebounds, and two steals. “He’s definitely motivated to get stops every time down the floor on him. He did a good job of anticipating what he was about to do and taking away everything that he wanted to do. I also felt team-wise we played really good D.”
Justin “Snubby” Stemerman added 12 points and Daniel “DT” Tlais tallied seven points and eight rebounds.
“When all five of us are involved, it’s usually a winning recipe,” May said. “When everyone is involved that’s usually when we’re at our peak performance and that definitely worked game one.”
Juan “Hotshot” Gonzalez led Heat Check Gaming with 20 points, Brian “Killeyy” Diaz had 18, and Sav finished with 13.
Game 2: After Magic Gaming utilized a strong start and suffocating defense in game one, Heat Check Gaming flipped the script in game two.
Miami was able to limit Orlando’s offense and find ways to score in transition on its way to a 75-61 victory.
Heat Check Gaming shooting guard Killeyy knocked down six 3-pointers on his way to a contest-best 26 points. Sav tallied 21 points and 12 assists, while Hotshot had 14 points and 12 rebounds.
“They had us really struggling to score in that second game (and) that, obviously, led to a lot of points for them,” Magic General Manager and Head Coach Jonah Edwards explained. “We forced a lot of misses, but the pace picked up because we weren’t able to score, so they were getting free ones on the break.”
For Orlando, Snubby fired off 16 points, May notched 15 points and 13 rebounds, Reizey tallied 13 points and 12 assists, and FutureClutch scored 10.
Quote to Note: “I think that when we’re at our best this year, no question our offense is flowing. Our defense has been pretty consistent outside of a stretch of four games or so. It’s really about our offense at the end of the day. If our guards are able to work off each other well and get each other open shots and things like that, I think you’ll see a lot more success for us.” – Edwards on what the team will need to do to go on a run in THE TICKET.