ORLANDO – After winning six of their last eight regular season games, Magic Gaming was able to carry that momentum into the opening round of THE TURN and help them get one step closer to their quest of grabbing part of one of the largest prize pools in league history.
Orlando tipped off the second NBA 2K League tournament of the season by taking down Lakers Gaming 2-1 in their best-of-three series. Magic Gaming now advances to the second round where they’ll take on NetsGC on Thursday at 6 p.m. ET.
Game 1: As they have done throughout the season, Magic Gaming once again demonstrated their ability to make clutch plays in critical moments as they edged Lakers Gaming for a 67-64 victory.
Tied with L.A. in the closing moments of the fourth quarter, Robert “May” May grabbed a critical offensive rebound and found an open Daniel “DT” Tlais for a go-ahead triple with 23.4 seconds remaining to put Orlando up 65-62.
“It was a huge play in that game,” Magic Gaming General Manager and Head Coach Jonah Edwards explained. “That game was such a slow contest in general, so any points in that game were going to be huge for us. Obviously, any time you get free second-chance points we’re going to take those. In general, I thought May, especially in game one, on both sides of the ball, he was incredible.”
After Maurice “ReeseDaGod” Delaney found Arshia “Krazy” Karimi to bring Lakers Gaming back within one with 8.9 ticks left, Lakers Gaming intentionally fouled Justin “Snubby” Stemerman, who subsequently knocked down both of his free throws.
On the next possession, Orlando delivered a smothering defensive effort that forced Jeremy “Seese” Seese to air-ball a contested triple, sealing Magic Gaming’s triumph.
Snubby finished the contest with a team-high 24 points, seven of which came in the final frame. Brendan “Reizey” Hill notched 23 points and a contest-best 10 assists, while May recorded six points, 12 rebounds, three assists, three blocks and two steals.
For L.A., ReeseDaGod poured in 31 points, while Krazy, the first overall pick in the 2021 NBA 2K League Draft, tallied 19 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
Game 2: If there’s one area that’s crept up to bite Magic Gaming a few times throughout the season, it’s slow starts to games. That was the case in the second contest of this series as Orlando was unable to overcome a double-digit first-half deficit in a 75-63 loss to L.A.
Four Lakers Gaming players scored in double figures led by ReeseDaGod, who fired off a game-high 29 points. Krazy posted 19 points and 13 assists, Seese scored 11, and Bobby “Bobby Buckets” Jones Jr. had 10 points and six rebounds.
May recorded team highs in points (24), rebounds (eight) and blocks (four) for Orlando, while Reizey added 19 points and 12 assists. Jackson “Potts” Potts seeing his first action for Magic Gaming this season scored 10.
Game 3: Throughout the season, May has come up with big performances for Magic Gaming. However, his efforts down the stretch of Game 3 are up certainly right up there for his top heroics in an Orlando uniform.
Known as OctoMay for his ability to get into passing lanes and come up with seemingly impossible boards, May grabbed three offensive rebounds, came up with a huge block and a critical dunk all in the final 1:30 of the contest to lift Magic Gaming to a 74-68 win over Lakers Gaming and secure a series victory.
“He was what we needed him to be tonight for sure,” Edwards said. “In game three, he obviously stepped up huge as well.”
May finished the contest with 21 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks. Reizey totaled 24 points and eight assists, while Snubby added 17 points and six assists.
For L.A., ReeseDaGod led all scorers with 31 points.
Quote to Note: “As crazy as it might sound, it’s honestly about thinking about rebounds and prioritizing that in my own game. Really, during the season, we win a lot when we’re able to control the glass. That was something that was an issue in game two and something I feel that we solved going into game three. Once I have momentum with rebounds, it becomes easier to grab the next one.” – May
Details on THE TURN: THE TURN is a four-day tournament (Wednesday, July 14 – Saturday, July 17) with all 23 teams participating remotely from their local markets.
Matchups during THE TURN are played in a best-of-three series, single elimination format, with the winner of each series advancing to the next round. Seeding for the tournament was determined by each team’s regular season winning percentage.
Teams are competing for a prize pool of $260,000. The winner of THE TURN will earn nearly half of the prize pool, with the remainder being awarded to the second- to eighth-place teams (first place – $117,000; second place – $52,000; third and fourth place – $22,100 each; fifth to eighth place – $11,700 each).
To create even more on-court excitement and introduce an added layer of strategy, the NBA 2K League has implemented an “Archetype Ban” concept for THE TURN for the third straight year. An archetype is a preset combination of attributes and skills. Players can choose from five different archetypes per position.
Games will air live on the NBA 2K League’s Twitch and YouTube channels. Games will also be available on ESRevolution, eGG Network in Southeast Asia, Loco in India, Sport1 in Europe and Dash Radio.