ORLANDO – Magic Gaming headed into the final week of the regular season hoping to finish on a three-game winning streak, prove their latest lineup combination is their best to date and build momentum heading into THE TICKET, the final NBA 2K League tournament of the year.
Magic Gaming closed out their 2020 regular season campaign by sweeping T-Wolves Gaming, 2-0, on Thursday, while putting their newfound offensive balance on full display.
“It’s night and day,” Magic Head Coach Jonah Edwards said. “Teams talk about that they want to ‘trend upwards at the right time’ and ‘have momentum going into the end of the season,’ but we’re finally at that point in reality now with a three-game win streak going into THE TICKET.”
Game 1: After trailing by nine at the end of the first quarter, Orlando rallied behind its core tenets: offensive balance, defensive tenacity and operating at its own pace of play.
Brendan “Reizey” Hill posted team highs in both points (24) and assists (nine) to lead Magic Gaming to a 61-53 victory.
Alex “Profusion” Snowden continued to look more comfortable as Magic Gaming’s sharpshooter, going 6-for-9 from the floor and a perfect 3-for-3 from distance on his way to 15 points.
“I can’t really speak to the amount of growth that he’s had in the last month, it’s incredible,” Edwards said. “This is who we thought he was when we selected him thirty fifth overall. I’m happy for him, he’s done a great job.”
Daniel “DT” Tlais stuffed the stat sheet with 14 points, eight rebounds, four assists, three steals and three blocks. Robert “May” May notched six points, four rebounds, four assists and three blocks, including a game-sealing swat on Michael “BearDaBeast” Key with 38.1 seconds left.
“Any surprise there,” Edwards said with a laugh. “He comes up with one or two of those in the fourth quarter every game, all season long. That’s what Robbie will give you and he had an incredible game again tonight. He’s looking like he’s in his element now.”
BearDaBeast finished with a contest-best 30 points for Minnesota, but Orlando’s Brandon “ToXsiK” Raudenbush’s defensive effort helped force T-Wolves Gaming’s floor general to commit a game-high eight turnovers.
Game 2: Reizey tallied game highs in points (26) and assists (10) and May scored 12 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter as Magic Gaming rode an offensive surge in the final frame to a 70-51 victory.
ToXsiK delivered on both ends of the floor, scoring 12 points and coming away with a series-best seven steals. His tenacious defense on BearDaBeast put Minnesota’s point guard on a cold ring in the third quarter and forced him to commit nine turnovers.
“He was phenomenal tonight,” Edwards said. “He looked really good. He has those moments … and hits peak performance.”
DT again delivered a balanced box score with 10 points, seven rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks.
Key Stat: For much of the season, Magic Gaming’s offense appeared one dimensional relying predominantly on Reizey in the pick-and-roll. But over its final four games, Orlando generated tremendous offensive balance and found new ways to score.
In their final two series of the season – four contests overall – Reizey (25 ppg.), Profusion (13.5 ppg.), DT (11.5 ppg,), and ToXsiK (10 ppg.) all averaged double-digit scoring numbers per game.
“It’s certainly a leap forward,” Edwards said. “I’m thrilled to see the offense the way it is. We’re just a smart team. I think the proof is in the pudding, we have improved greatly on both sides of the ball. We have not stopped working at any point.”
UP NEXT: Magic Gaming now enters THE TICKET, the NBA 2K League’s third and final in-season tournament, which begins on Thursday, August 13 and runs through Saturday, August 15. New this season, the 14 teams that are not one of the top nine playoff seeds will compete in THE TICKET, which will see the winning team earn the 10th and final spot in the 2020 NBA 2K League Playoffs.
Matches will be played in a best-of-three series, with the winner of each match advancing to the next round. Seeding for the tournament will be determined once each team’s regular season winning percentage is finalized.
The team that finishes the regular season in 10th place will automatically advance to THE TICKET Finals. The 13 remaining teams will compete to become the second participant. Based off of Orlando’s 7-9 record, it will have to compete for the second slot.
“The guys are confident and optimistic,” Edwards said. “We think we can win (the tournament) and that’s great. We have to go in and treat every game like it’s could be our last, because it very well could be.”
Matches will run from 5-11 p.m. ET each night and air live on the NBA 2K League’s Twitch (@NBA2kLeague) channel, in addition to select matches airing live on ESPN’s digital platforms and the NBA 2K League’s YouTube (@NBA2kLeague) channel.