ORLANDO – With championship aspirations heading into the third year of the NBA 2K League, Magic Gaming (5-9) is disappointed with their current place in the standings.
However, there is still a pathway to achieve their ultimate goal. After completing their final two regular season games this week, Orlando will have an opportunity to punch its way into the postseason if it can secure a tournament victory in THE TICKET.
In order to give themselves the best chance at reaching that destination, they’ll look to gain momentum and potentially improve their tournament seeding by securing victories over Pacers Gaming (4-11) on Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET and T-Wolves Gaming (7-6) on Thursday at 10 p.m. ET.
“One hundred percent of our focus is on THE TICKET now with the next two games having little to do with our place in the standings of the league,” Magic Gaming Head Coach Jonah Edwards said. “So, our mindset is fully on THE TICKET and trying in these next two regular season games, more than normal, to replicate exactly the way we play in scrimmages and seeing if we can do that in games that truly matter.”
Orlando has been scrimmaging relentlessly coming off its bye week and hopes to mirror its playing style and success in those exhibitions in meaningful games. In scrimmages, Magic Gaming has done a much better job of controlling the game on offense, limiting turnovers, forcing giveaways on the defensive end and closing games out.
The lineup switch of moving Robert “May” May to power forward and Daniel “DT” Tlais to center has helped maximize the skillset of both players, allowing May to live up to his Octo-May nickname on defense and having DT be a second-scoring punch alongside Brendan “Reizey” Hill in the team’s pick-and-roll game on offense.
“This is as confident as we’ve been in a lineup all season,” Edwards said. “I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but I think we’ve maybe turned a corner as far as our mentality and are finally locked in on THE TICKET and have some optimism towards it as well.”
His starting center agrees.
“I think we found something with me at center and Robbie at the four,” DT said. “We’re going to stick with it and hopefully we can make a run.”
MATCHUP TO WATCH VS. PACERS GAMING: Coincidentally, Magic Gaming will face off against Pacers Gaming at the same time as the two NBA franchises meet for a seeding game. In this contest, the focus will be on the two big men: DT and Bryant “WoLF” Colon, who toggles between center and lockdown.
“Whether it’s pure lockdown or whether it’s the center, he’s their best player top to bottom,” Edwards said. “And he’s still their leader and, in a lot of ways, their smartest player as well.”
It will be imperative for Magic Gaming to prioritize ball security and maintain their pace of play against a scrappy Pacers Gaming squad that looks to create turnovers and thrives in sloppy games.
MATCHUP TO WATCH VS. T-WOLVES GAMING: Reizey and Michael “BearDaBeast” Key were two of the finalists for the 2019 Rookie of the Year award with Magic Gaming’s floor general inevitably coming out on top. Now, these two point guards are both trying to find a way to maintain consistency in their second NBA 2K League seasons.
Both have had elite performances in 2020, but have also gone through tougher stretches as they attempt to live up to high expectations following their sensational inaugural campaigns.
Magic Gaming is hoping that Reizey is starting to hit his stride and closes out the season playing at a dominant level.
“When Reid is playing good, we’re very, very hard to beat,” DT said. “When he’s playing good, all the attention is on him, so it opens up everything for everyone else.”
HOW TO WATCH: Catch both matchups on the NBA 2K League’s Twitch (@NBA2kLeague) and YouTube (@NBA2kLeague) channels.