ORLANDO – Before THE TURN, Magic Gaming played against two of the top three teams in the Eastern Conference standings, Grizz Gaming and defending NBA 2K League champion Wizards District Gaming. They split both of those series, keeping them very much in the thick of the playoff race.
Next up for Orlando is a showdown with Hornets Venom GT, another elite conference foe who just captured THE TURN title. The action on the virtual hardwood will take place on Thursday starting at 7:30 p.m.
It will be a fairly quick turnaround from there as the Magic will head back into their gaming studio to take on Jazz Gaming beginning at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
Magic Gaming reached the Round of 16 of THE TURN, defeating Lakers Gaming in three games in the opening round before losing to NetsGC in a series that also went to a third game.
In the series against L.A., Daniel “DT” Tlais drilled a go-ahead 3-pointer with 23.4 seconds left to lift Orlando to a Game 1 win. The Lakers responded with a victory on their homecourt in Game 2. In the decisive Game 3, though, Robert “May” May delivered a spectacular all-around performance with 21 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks to help the Magic eliminate the Lakers. Just in the final 1:30 alone, he had three offensive rebounds, a block and a dunk.
“As crazy as it might sound, it’s honestly about thinking about rebounds and prioritizing that in my own game,” May said. “Really, during the season, we win a lot when we’re able to control the glass. That was something that was an issue in game two and something I feel that we solved going into game three. Once I have momentum with rebounds, it becomes easier to grab the next one.”
Against the Nets, the Magic were unable to hang on in Game 1 after leading by double digits in the final frame. A steal by Josh “Choc” Humphries led to a Connor “Shotz” Rodrigues go-ahead AND-1 slam with 5.1 seconds remaining. Snubby was unstoppable in Game 2, as his 47 points helped Orlando even up the series. Game 3, however, didn’t go the Magic’s away, as their 15 turnovers proved too costly.
“We have to have more attention to detail, and we can’t be sloppy with the ball, especially to start the game,” Magic Gaming General Manager and Head Coach Jonah Edwards said. “We had a great defensive quarter that first quarter and we weren’t able to kind of take a lead there. We have to be better in those situations.”
Magic Gaming vs. Hornets Venom GT: Charlotte captured THE TURN title, losing just one of their nine games throughout the tournament. They beat Knicks Gaming in three in the Round of 16 and then swept NetsGC in the quarterfinals, Heat Check Gaming in the semifinals and Blazer5 Gaming in the Finals.
Craig “rigby” Burnett Jr., the No. 8 overall pick in the 2021 NBA 2K League Draft, was named the MVP of the tournament. He scored a combined 49 points in the two games of the Finals against Portland.
It will be the first time Snubby will play against his former team since getting traded to Orlando last offseason. His Magic teammates marvel at his skills, professionalism, leadership and poise.
“It’s unreal. I’ve known Snubby for years. I had no clue how good he was. You could only get a feel for how good someone is based off just playing against him and occasionally playing with him, which I had done both,” Jackson “Potts” Potts said. “Being able to see it first-hand in person and how effortless it is for him. It’s actually crazy impressive. I think when it comes to overall playing, you could kind of put him anywhere. He proved he could take a team to the playoffs as a point guard. He’s maybe the best shooting guard in the league right now. He could play small forward as well. As far as talents go, there’s really not many better than Snubby.”
Magic Gaming vs. Jazz Gaming: Utah reached the quarterfinals of THE TURN, sweeping Cavs Legion GC and Grizz Gaming in the first two rounds before falling to Blazer5 in the quarterfinals in three games.
The Jazz are led by point guard Kimanni “Splashy” Ingram, the second leading scorer so far in the regular season behind Indiana’s Enrique “630” Xavier Barraza. Utah’s floor general was particularly impressive in the series against Memphis in THE TURN, combining for 61 points in those two games and thoroughly outplaying his counterpart, Zach “Vandi” Vandivier.
It goes without saying, but to beat the Jazz, it’s going to be crucial for Orlando’s own lead guard, Brendan “Reizey” Hill, to have a big night. The Magic are tough to slow down, evident when they played against the Grizzlies and Wizards prior to THE TURN, when Reizey outplays the other team’s point guard. One of his best career performances came in Orlando’s victory over John “JBM” Mascone’s Wizards when the Magic’s third-year veteran scored 30 points, made several clutch baskets in the fourth quarter and committed just one turnover.
“I think undoubtedly (it was) his best game for Magic Gaming,” Edwards said. “He was in complete control on both sides. When you’re not turning the ball over against the Wizards, you’re in such a good place.”
How to Watch: Games will air live on the NBA 2K League’s Twitch and YouTube channels.