As they return home and prepare for THE TICKET, which will be held next week at Full Sail University’s The Fortress, Magic Gaming will have a few dominant victories and couple of lopsided losses to learn from.
In the Magic’s four wins after THE TURN, their average margin of victory was a shade over 15 points. In their two losses, including Friday’s against Bucks Gaming, the average margin of defeat was 31 points.
Tyler “Plondo” Lay, normally Milwaukee’s center who slid over to the power forward spot for this contest, overwhelmed the Magic (6-5) in their 67-41 loss. The Boise, Idaho native, who was the Bucks’ 2019 first round draft pick, erupted for 36 points, making 15 of his 25 shot attempts.
“I think we were okay with the rate he was scoring on that build (shot creating post scorer), you could really kind of hit 50 percent of your shots at the very least on that,” Magic Gaming Head Coach Jonah Edwards said. “I think ultimately, we had the mindset that if we went down and scored, we got threes instead of twos, we’d end up winning the game and we just didn’t have it on offense today.”
Aaron “Arooks” Rookwood, Milwaukee’s first round pick from a year ago, also gave Orlando fits, scoring 23 points on 9-of-13 shooting overall and 5-of-7 from 3-point range.
Excellent on the glass during their now defunct three-game winning streak, the Magic had a hard time boxing out Robert “RSG” Harter, who hauled down 16 rebounds.
Scorching hot the last few games, Rookie of the Year candidate Brendan “Reizey” Hill struggled to get into a rhythm, finishing with 10 points. Cameron “KingCamRoyalty” Ford, who also scored 10, was the only other Orlando player to reach double digits.
The Bucks (6-5) took control in the second quarter when they held the Magic to just four points. Arooks drilled a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer, pushing Milwaukee’s lead to 11 at the break.
“Going against an offense like they were running today can be demoralizing when you’re down just a little bit, it almost feels like eight, ten point leads for the opposing team is more like fifteen, twenty,” Edwards said. “The mindset at halftime was we’re still in this, we came out in the third quarter and had a little fight in us and then just completely folded. I still think that if we can go back in the game down eleven in the second half, I think we would have a good chance to win the game if we played it right now. We just didn’t have our best game and unfortunately it was a game they played really well.”
By going 4-2 during this recent stretch, the Magic avoid the play-in portion of THE TICKET, the last of three in-season tournaments during the NBA 2K League season. The winner will automatically earn a playoff berth.
“We’re definitely excited about being able to hold home court and getting that rest we need and staying home and not having to worry about travel,” Edwards said. “We’re confident going in. We’re going to have a good week of practice with the boot camp we have going on and it should be fun.”
The Fortress is the largest esports arena to occupy a college campus in the United States. Single-day tickets are $20 and a full three-day tournament package is $30. Full Sail University students can receive 50 percent off with a valid college ID. Tickets are on sale at NBA2KLeague.com.