ORLANDO – To say the stakes were high for Magic Gaming’s Saturday night TICKET showdown with Knicks Gaming would certainly be an understatement.
A win would not only secure a spot in the tournament finals for the victor, but also one of the final two spots in the NBA 2K League 5v5 playoffs. A loss, on the other hand, would mean the end of the season for whichever team was dealt a defeat.
Unfortunately for Magic Gaming, they were unable to punch their TICKET to the playoffs for the season straight season as they dropped an 82-71 decision to Knicks Gaming in the semifinals of the league’s last tournament of the year.
“It’s the tale of our season unfortunately,” said Magic Gaming General Manager and Head Coach Jonah Edwards. “3v3 ended in the conference finals of the STEAL and 5v5 the same way here in the TICKET. One game away is what we were in season six. It’s unfortunate but I’m proud of the way we fought in the last two days.”
Early on, it appeared as if Orlando might earn a playoff berth through the TICKET for the second straight year.
Shooting guard Jarvis “Simptoms” Thompson erupted for a game-high 18 first-half points and point guard Joshua “unguardable” Hunter tallied nine points and 10 assists before the break to help Magic Gaming take a two-point lead into halftime.
“We were really taking advantage of their defense,” said Edwards of Orlando’s ability to pick apart New York’s hybrid zone defense. “Josh had a really good feel for the game.”
However, in the second half, Knicks Gaming’s backcourt took control.
New York point guard Ethan “Radiant” White and shooting guard Malik “OriginalMalik” Hobson combined for 31 second-half points in a wild stretch that also featured two game resets by the league.
“Our defense communication breakdowns allowed them to get some free points when they were kind of dead in the water,” said Edwards. “After the reset, it just didn’t go our way even though I liked the way we played in the second half.”
Now, Magic Gaming will set their sights on the offseason as they look to improve and add additional pieces in a draft where they’ll now possess two first round lottery selections.