ORLANDO – Basketball is a game of runs, and there were plenty of them in the Magic Gaming-Hornets Venom GT series. Unfortunately for Orlando, Charlotte had a few more of them at crucial times of both games in the series, which proved to be the difference in its victory over the Magic on Monday night.
Game 1: Hornets Venom GT, one of two newcomers in the NBA 2K League this year along with Shanghai’s Gen. G, scored the final 11 points to defeat Magic Gaming, 70-54. During that game-sealing run, rookie point guard Justin “Snubby” Stemerman made some big defensive plays that led to easy transition buckets for himself and his teammates.
Orlando had a few big runs of its own throughout the contest. One of them came late in the third quarter when the Magic scored 11 unanswered points to trim a 15-point deficit to four. Brendan “Reizey” Hill, who finished with 29 points and five assists, drilled two of his five 3-pointers during that scoring burst.
In his return to the lineup, Daniel “DT” Tlais posted seven points, while Daniel “djbama” Burge tallied 10 points and Robert “May” May grabbed 14 rebounds. Both Snubby and Alexander “Expose” Whelan scored 26 points for Charlotte, which shot 62 percent from the field and dished out six more assists than Orlando.
Game 2: The Magic jumped out to a 17-2 lead behind stifling defense, hot early shooting from Reizey and May’s relentlessness on the glass. Momentum shifted shortly after, however, as the Hornets stormed back and pulled out a 54-51 victory.
One of the biggest shots of the game was Alontae “Gliz” Proctor’s 3-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer that gave Charlotte a three-point lead going into the final frame. Then down the stretch after Snubby and Reizey exchanged buckets for their respective squads, Expose knocked down two clutch mid-range jumpers to help seal the series win for the now 7-3 Hornets.
Reizey finished with 21 points for the Magic, while May recorded a double-double with 10 points and 18 rebounds. Snubby, the 18th overall pick in the 2020 NBA 2K League Draft, led Charlotte with 19 points.
Quote of the Night: “When you have all the momentum, all of it like we truly did, it can’t be like that because otherwise you’re leading yourself up to be chipped away at against a team that loves chipping away and that’s what the Hornets are,” – Magic Gaming Head Coach Jonah Edwards on team’s Game 2 loss.
Up Next: Magic Gaming is back in action on Tuesday night when they take on 76ers GC. A key matchup to watch will be the one in the backcourt between two of the league’s MVP finalists from a year ago, Reizey and Ethan “Radiant” White. The Sixers, who reached the Finals in 2019, have struggled mightily this year, as they currently sit in second-to-last place in the standings with a 1-7 record.