ORLANDO – Magic Gaming had plenty of chances to upset NetsGC and advance to the third round of THE TURN. However, Orlando, which prides itself on its resiliency, was unable to take advantage of those opportunities and fell 2-1 to Brooklyn in the second round of the second tournament of the 2021 NBA 2K League season.
Game 1: Despite holding a 12-point fourth-quarter lead, turnovers down the stretch proved too costly for Magic Gaming to overcome in a heartbreaking 66-63 loss to NetsGC.
Holding a one-point advantage and the ball with 9.5 seconds left, Justin “Snubby” Stemerman looked like he was preparing to be fouled for the second straight possession. However, Brooklyn’s Josh “Choc” Humphries was able to swipe the ball away, take it the other direction, and set up Connor “Shotz” Rodrigues for a go-ahead AND-1 slam with 5.1 ticks remaining.
That possession marked the fourth turnover in the final frame for Magic Gaming, which lost the overall turnover battle to NetsGC 9-3.
“I think the turnovers at the end of game one were certainly the reason we lost the game,” Magic Gaming General Manager and Head Coach Jonah Edwards said. “We were certainly not playing to win as opposed to playing not to lose. It’s obviously not the right mindset. We were well aware of the situation, and we just have to be better down the stretch.”
Brendan “Reizey” Hill posted 28 points and seven assists, Snubby scored 18, and Robert “May” May tallied 14 points and 12 rebounds.
For Brooklyn, Choc recorded game highs in points (35) and assists (13), while Shotz finished with 26 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
Game 2: On a mission to atone for a costly turnover in game one, Snubby came out in game two and torched Brooklyn’s defense.
The shooting guard, acquired in an offseason trade with Hornets Venom GT, erupted for a contest-best 47 points as Magic Gaming throttled NetsGC, 93-70.
Snubby set the tone out of the gate scoring 23 first-half points and knocking down seven of 11 3-pointers prior to halftime.
“He was phenomenal,” Edwards explained. “That’s just Snubby. He’s capable of those performances and I wouldn’t be surprised to see one or two more of those to close the season.”
Reizey notched 18 points and 12 assists, while Daniel “DT” Tlais stuffed the stat sheet with 11 points, six rebounds and five assists. Josue “FutureClutch” Acosta Gomez scored nine and May tallied eight points, 17 rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Shotz led all Brooklyn players with 30 points and 10 rebounds, while Choc put up 16 points and 17 assists.
Game 3: Turnovers, which were a major issue for Orlando in game one, once again reared their ugly head in game three.
Magic Gaming was unable to overcome 15 giveaways as it suffered a 70-58 loss to NetsGC and was thus eliminated from THE TURN.
“We have to have more attention to detail, and we can’t be sloppy with the ball, especially to start the game,” Edwards said. “We had a great defensive quarter that first quarter and we weren’t able to kind of take a lead there. We have to be better in those situations.”
Reizey posted 25 points and seven assists, but also committed seven turnovers. May recorded 13 points and 12 rebounds, while Snubby scored 11.
For Brooklyn, Choc put together another strong showing with 35 points and 12 assists. Shotz notched a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds.
Quote to Note: “We have moments where we’re very good. I think we showed that last week. We showed that in game two tonight. It’s going to always be about consistency with this group. When we’re able to be consistent, I think you’re going to see a different team once we’re able to finally piece a few together. So, the goal is going to remain to be consistent. But we have a couple of tough matchups ahead. We have two teams that advanced to the quarterfinals of this tournament in Charlotte and Utah this coming week, so we’re going to have to do a lot of preparation to make sure we’re ready for those games. But I do think the team will be up for the task. We are still very motivated to make the playoffs. We talk about it every single day.” – Edwards
Up Next: Magic Gaming will resume regular season action on Thursday, July 22 when they face Hornets Venom GT at 7:30 p.m. ET.
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.