ORLANDO – Magic Gaming’s hopes of qualifying for the playoffs without having to enter and win THE TICKET took a hit this week. On Thursday, they were swept by Hornets Venom GT and then on Saturday, despite storming back to tie the game in the fourth quarter of the opener and holding a narrow lead at halftime in the second game, they came up empty against Jazz Gaming.
Game 1: Midway through the fourth quarter it appeared all the momentum had shifted in Orlando’s direction. They tied the game after trailing by 10 just minutes earlier. All five Magic Gaming players scored during that stretch.
However, that 12-2 Magic run turned out to just be a wakeup call for Jazz Gaming as Utah ended the game on an 18-2 run to march to a 75-59 victory. Spencer “Ria” Wyman, a former No. 1 overall NBA 2K League Draft pick, slammed home back-to-back dunks to turn the tide in the fourth quarter and MVP candidate Kimanni “Splashy” Ingram drilled one of his seven 3-pointers to put the game out of reach for the Magic.
“It was similar to the other day versus the Hornets. We dug ourselves a whole, was able to fight back and then both teams took back control of the game unfortunately right as we started picking up the other team’s tendencies,” Magic Gaming center Robert “May” May said.
Before Orlando stormed back to tie the game, Utah had led the entire way. They jumped out to a 12-2 lead and controlled a 13-point advantage at halftime.
Justin “Snubby” Stemerman and Daniel “DT” Tlais led Orlando with 15 points apiece. Brendan “Reizey” Hill scored 13 points, Josue “FutureClutch” Acosta Gomez tallied 10 points and May recorded six points and 13 rebounds.
Splashy erupted for 29 points for the Jazz, who made 15 of their 28 3-point attempts. Freddy “GetOnMyLevel” Whelan scored 19 points and Ria had 14 points and 14 rebounds.
Game 2: The run that doomed the Magic in the opener occurred late in the fourth quarter. The run that did the same in the rematch came right after halftime.
A nip and tuck first half turned into a blowout as Jazz Gaming used a 17-2 third-quarter flurry to coast to an 83-65 victory.
“A couple small mistakes led to that,” Magic Gaming General Manager and Head Coach Jonah Edwards said. “I don’t think it was a ton of easy stuff right away. I think we made a couple of the right decisions, some unlucky plays. They are really good in transition, so once they get going they are hard to slow down.”
Splashy, the NBA 2K League’s second leading scorer, exploded for 30 points on 11-of-19 shooting from the field and 6-of-10 from 3-point range. Ria finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds, while GetOnMyLevel chipped in with 15 points.
FutureClutch led four Orlando players in double figures with 17 points, while May scored 16, Snubby had 13 and Reizey, who shot just 5-of-12 from the field, tallied 12 points.
Following a bye week, Magic Gaming (10-12) will return to action on Wednesday, Aug. 4 when they take on Grizz Gaming starting at 7 p.m. This will be the second meeting this season between Orlando and Memphis, which split their two contests on July 9. Both of those games came down to the wire and featured a few memorable plays. DT had a big block on Mehyar “AuthenticAfrican” Ahmed-Hassan in the opener to help seal the Magic’s Game 1 win, while Josh “Spartxn” McHatten buried a go-ahead 3-pointer with four tenths of a second left in the rematch to lift the Grizzlies.
There won’t be much rest time for Orlando after playing Memphis. They will be right back in action the next night, Thursday, Aug. 5, to take on Celtics Crossover Gaming beginning at 7:45 p.m.
Quote of the Night
“Going into last bye week, we went 0-4 as well. We were able to get out of that and come back stronger and I hope that’s what happens again here, especially as the season winds down. These two losses definitely hurt our playoff push, but we are definitely not out of it. Whether it’s building momentum for the playoff push or building momentum for a TICKET run, I feel like how we approach every day coming off the bye is essential. I think other teams are getting better and we need to have that same mentality, which starts every day in practice.” – May