ORLANDO – Friday’s Magic Gaming versus Grizz Gaming series was billed as NBA 2K League’s Game of the Week. It certainly lived up to the hype. Both contests came down to the wire, with Orlando (9-7) rallying in the second half to win Game 1 and Memphis (12-6) taking Game 2 thanks to a last-second game-winning 3-pointer.
Game 1: Magic Gaming recorded one block in the opener against Grizz Gaming. It came at the perfect time.
Daniel “DT” Tlais swatted away a Mehyar “AuthenticAfrican” Ahmed-Hassan shot in the paint with 17.6 seconds remaining to help seal Orlando’s 66-57 victory.
The Magic led by five at the moment after connecting on a few big buckets down the stretch. An AND-1 putback layup by Robert “May” May with 1:52 left gave Orlando the lead. Brendan “Reizey” Hill followed with a dunk and Justin “Snubby” Stemerman converted on a layup just inside of a minute remaining.
“We had a really rough offensive start and I think that our defense was phenomenal tonight in general but really in Game 1,” Magic Gaming General Manager and Head Coach Jonah Edwards said. “I thought we were on a string defensively. We didn’t let anything be easy for them.”
Reizey led four Magic players in double figures with 22 points. DT and May each scored 13 points and Snubby had 10. Josue “FutureClutch” Acosta Gomez, in addition to playing some stifling defense, tallied eight points and hit a critical 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter. Orlando outscored Memphis by 11 in that final period.
Zach “Vandi” Vandivier finished with 23 points for the Grizzlies, who led by four at halftime. AuthenticAfrican chipped in with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Kori “Chess” Taylor, averaging 14.0 points entering this contest, was limited to just five points on 2-of-8 shooting.
“We came with a game plan to stop their two through five and I feel like we did very good in the first game taking out their off-ball players,” FutureClutch said.
Game 2: In Game 1, it was the Magic who overcame an early deficit and made clutch plays late. In Game 2, the opposite occurred. The Grizzlies, who trailed by nine after the first quarter and by four with just over minute remaining, finished strong to pull out a 75-73 victory.
Down one, Memphis retained possession after Kwan “followTHEGOD” Niblack Jr. stripped the ball away from Reizey with 18.6 seconds left off the inbounds pass. The Grizzlies didn’t let that steal go to waste as Josh “Spartxn” McHatten, Memphis’ 2021 first round draft pick, hit a go-ahead 3-pointer from the right corner with four tenths of a second remaining.
It had appeared as if the Magic were going to come away with a sweep after DT and Reizey buried back-to-back 3-pointers late. Shortly after, Orlando went up by three when Reizey, who led all scorers with 28 points, greened a jumper with 34.5 seconds left.
DT finished with 17 points, making seven of his nine shot attempts. May recorded 11 points and 15 rebounds and Snubby chipped in with 14 points.
Vandi led the Grizzlies with 27 points and 15 assists and Chess had a big bounce-back performance with 23 points.
“I’d say the biggest thing (was) Chess’ ability to score and the second half was a huge factor,” Edwards said. “Something I mentioned at halftime, I just had a feeling Chess was going to get the ball a lot, especially going into the second half. And obviously he did and was able to execute consistently in the second half.”
The loss snapped Orlando’s five-game winning streak.
Wizards District Gaming, the NBA 2K League’s defending champs, have won nine straight. Magic Gaming, following splitting their pair of games against Grizz Gaming, have won five of their last six games. These two squads will square off on Saturday night starting at 9 p.m.
Washington’s most recent victories came on Thursday against Pistons GT. In the opener, John “JBM” Mascone posted 19 points and 11 assists and Ryan “Dayfri” Conger registered 16 points, 11 rebounds and six assists. Both were again stellar in the finale, and they also got plenty of help, as Manuel “Newdini” Newman and Brandon “BRich” Richardson combined for 29 points.
Quote of the Night
“Even though Memphis was obviously second in the East going into today, at no point did we have any lack of confidence. I think that we think we are a better team than them. I think that we feel confident against them. I think that goes for tomorrow as well against the Wizards. I genuinely feel like we can beat the Wizards. I don’t think anyone in the room has any doubt that we can beat the Wizards. I think stylistically we are very similar with that team. I think we are going to play them tougher than a lot of teams can…We are definitely confident right now.” – Edwards