ORLANDO – With just two weeks left in the regular season, Magic Gaming (10-12) is running out of time to right their ship and make a strong postseason push prior to THE TICKET tournament.
Orlando has dropped its last five regular season games and will need as many sweeps as possible of its three remaining opponents – Grizz Gaming, Celtics Crossover Gaming and Heat Check Gaming – if it wants any chance to make the playoffs without relying on THE TICKET, a tournament that grants a playoff spot to the winning team from each conference.
Magic Gaming vs. Grizz Gaming: Magic Gaming will get their second look at Grizz Gaming (12-9) this season when they go head-to-head for a two-game series on Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET.
The two teams split their first series of the season on July 9. Both contests came down to the wire with Daniel “DT” Tlais rejecting Mehyar “AuthenticAfrican” Ahmed-Hassan in the opener to help seal Orlando’s Game 1 win and Josh “Spartxn” McHatten draining a go-ahead triple with 0.4 seconds left give the rematch to Memphis.
If Magic Gaming hopes to complete a sweep of Grizz Gaming this time around, they’ll need to limit Memphis in transition, be locked in from start to finish, slow down Zach “Vandi” Vandivier and Kori “Chess” Taylor, as well as find ways to score against a staunch defensive squad.
“When you look just simply at the metrics, they show you that Memphis is one of the league’s top defenses, so first priority is find ways to score,” Magic Gaming General Manager and Head Coach Jonah Edwards said. “You may have to be unconventional at times, a little creative at times, but find ways to score whether it’s in transition or in half court.”
Magic Gaming vs. Celtics Crossover Gaming: A night after taking on Memphis, Orlando will be back at it for a two-game set against Boston (10-10). After a sluggish start to their campaign, Celtics Crossover Gaming has won five straight regular season contests.
“They’re a really interesting team because at times they’ve looked pretty bad and at times they’ve looked really good,” Edwards said. “So, it’s really tough to say what version of Celtics Crossover you’re going to get. No matter what, you’re going to have a veteran center in (Jhade “worthingcolt” Black), who’s going to play smart and is going to get a lot of rebounds, for sure.”
Magic Gaming will also look to limit Sheriff “FT” Cruz, who’s known for his ability to hit difficult shots and can play either guard position. On the other end of the floor, rookie Tayzo “TayZo” Williams has already positioned himself as a top-five lockdown defender in the league.
“(TayZo) has been really underrated,” Magic Gaming guard Justin “Snubby” Stemerman explained. “The Celtics have one of the best defenses and it’s in large part because of him.”
Quote to Note: “We have to get everyone involved to be successful. I think that the idea that the game is won from one position or one player scoring (and) having a high usage rate and all that, that’s just not the ideal way to play this game. We’re going to try and go out there and make sure everyone gets involved and has a shot to make a play. If we do that, we’ll be in a good headspace.” – Edwards on what he’d like to see his team improve this week.
Key Stat: If there were a Most Improved Player award in the NBA 2K League, center Robert “May” May would certainly be in the conversation. Known as OctoMay for his ability to be disruptive on the defensive end, Magic Gaming’s big man has stepped up in all aspects of his game play this season. Along with averaging 14.0 points and 12.5 rebounds per game (fifth highest in the league) this season, May is shooting an NBA 2K League-best 83.6 percent from the floor.
How to Watch: Games will air live on the NBA 2K League’s Twitch and YouTube channels.