Overview: Off to their best regular season start in franchise history, Magic Gaming (3-1) is looking to carry that momentum into week two of NBA 2K League action.
Orlando has flashed coolness and cohesion in critical moments thus far and as a result has been able to pull out wins in dramatic fashion. In their most recent matchup, Magic Gaming collected consecutive victories over Gen.G with back-to-back game-winning shots.
“That’s how you build a championship team,” said Robert “May” May, who played a major role in both game-winners, delivering a go-ahead dunk in one matchup and then providing an assist to the eventual contest winner in the other. “Every team is going to go through ups and downs. It’s how you handle yourselves in those situations.”
Magic Gaming vs. 76ers GC: When the NBA 2K League announced that there would be conferences for the first time this season, they did so partly in hopes that rivalries would start to develop between teams. Perhaps, even quicker than they envisioned, Magic Gaming and 76ers GC (2-0) is beginning to blossom into one of the league’s most competitive matchups.
After meeting for five games during THE TIPOFF – twice during group play and for a three-contest series that went the distance in the semifinals – the two squads will go head-to-head for the first time this regular season when Orlando faces Philadelphia at 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
Magic Gaming will undoubtedly be out for revenge after 76ers GC ended an impressive opening tournament run for Orlando in the semifinals.
“We are absolutely looking forward to that Sixers game,” Magic General Manager/Head Coach Jonah Edwards said. “We do feel like it could be a potential revenge game for sure, but I think we just feel like we’re growing as a team every day. We’re getting better every day through practice and as cliché as that sounds, I don’t think that’s the truth in a lot of team’s locker rooms right now.”
Magic Gaming’s defensive game plan will likely once again focus on limiting Andre “Dre” Marshall, the fourth overall pick in the 2021 NBA 2K League draft, and former league MVP Dayne “OneWildWalnut” Downey.
“We certainly see them as a two-headed monster on offense with Dre and Walnut,” Edwards explained. “So, we know exactly who we have to slow down. It’s more about how we slow them down to be able to beat them.”
In addition to slowing down Dre, Orlando will need its own floor general to continue to rise to the occasion. In his five meetings against Philadelphia this season, Brendan “Reizey” Hill is averaging 26.8 points and 6.4 assists per game.
“It’s always fun going up against other great point guards, especially Dre,” Reizey said. “He’s coming in as a rookie and making THE TIPOFF finals and starting the regular season 2-0. So, that kid is absolutely fearless, and he’s been very impressive to watch as a rookie, for sure. I can’t wait to go up against him (this) week and try to get a win, since he knocked us out of THE TIPOFF.”
Another key for Magic Gaming will be getting additional backcourt production from Justin “Snubby” Stemerman, who Orlando acquired in an offseason trade with Hornets Venom GT. Orlando is 6-1 this year in tournament and regular season play when its shooting guard scores in double figures.
“The blessing about Snubby is he brings a super high IQ without any ego, which is, I think, a rarity in this league,” Edwards said.
Quote to Note: “We have a lot of trust in each other that I haven’t really experienced in this league before. Obviously, I’ve played with some great players in over the past couple years, but this team as a unit, I feel all five guys on the court trust each other at all times, which is something that we haven’t really had in the past.” – Reizey