ORLANDO – Magic Gaming has played some of its best virtual basketball the last few weeks. Also great news is that they have one of the easiest remaining schedules in the NBA 2K League.
Fresh off a series victory over 76ers GC, the Magic will have a golden opportunity to climb up the standings when they take on 3-5 Hawks Talon GC on Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET and 2-8 Pistons GT on Friday at 7 p.m. ET.
The only opponent remaining on Orlando’s regular season schedule that has a winning record is T-Wolves Gaming, although they have lost four of their last five. The Magic’s other opponents will be Heat Check Gaming and Pacers Gaming, both of which are well below .500.
Also exciting is that this week’s games against Atlanta and Detroit are “cash matches.” Every team across the NBA 2K League will play two of them. The winner of each will get $2,500, and the team with the best scoring average in their two money games will be awarded an additional $2,500.
A successful week would not only put more money in their pockets, it would also elevate their seeding in THE TURN, the second of three in-season tournaments. Orlando is 2-2 so far since THE TIPOFF ended and will play another four matches before THE TURN, which starts July 23.
The Magic have won three of their last five, but more significant is that two of those victories came against two of the top teams in the league, Kings Guard Gaming and Warriors Gaming Squad. In both series, Orlando rallied back from double-digit deficits at critical junctures of games.
“For us when it comes to those games, we knew where we were at in the season,” Magic Gaming small forward Brandon “ToXsiK” Raudenbush said. “We knew they were must-win games and that we have nothing to lose. We just told ourselves to keep fighting, keep chipping away and we’ll live with the results.”
ToXsiK himself has been clutch in key moments of tight games this season. Against Golden State, the third-year pro scored five of his 11 points in the fourth quarter while limiting MVP candidate Charles “CB13” Bostwick to just four points in that final frame. Similarly, against Philly, ToXsiK made things awfully difficult on Ethan “Radiant” White, who shot just 2-of-8 from the field in the critical third period and was put on a cold ring.
“Obviously, I would love to always be in a cruise control mentality if we can just blow everyone out,” ToXsiK said. “I think when you play lockdown defender, you have to take that (challenge) and you have to embrace that. Especially when it comes to getting the big stop in a big game against another great PG, you have to embrace that and I do. I’m an experienced guy. I’ve been in the league for three years now. I kind of put that on my shoulders to play the best defense and give our offense a chance to go down the other way and get us a bucket.”
The Hawks lost both of their Week 8 series and haven’t recorded a regular season win since Week 2. They got off to a great start this season, winning three of their first four series, but have struggled since then.
Orlando and Atlanta are familiar with each other having matched up during pool play of THE TIPOFF. They split their two games. In the contest the Magic won, Brendan “Reizey” Hill scored 25 points and dished out seven assists, while Robert “May” May posted a double-double with 10 points and 16 rebounds. The Hawks prevailed in the second meeting. Michael “BP” Diaz-Cruz led Atlanta with 26 points, while former Magic player Mykel “Kel” Wilson, who was traded to Grizz Gaming last season for ToXsiK, scored 19 points.
“They definitely do some present some challenges that are kind of unique to them,” Magic Gaming Head Coach Jonah Edwards said. Their shooting guard, KelMav, is one we are very familiar with having drafted him last season. Their backcourt is where they can cause us trouble. Him and BP are phenomenal, two of the league’s best at what they do. To slow them down is a big part of the game plan. Obviously, if you do slow them down than at that point they are a super beatable team.”
Like the Hawks, the Pistons have also struggled lately, although they did advance past pool play in THE TIPOFF before losing to Jazz Gaming in the quarterfinals. They are led by three league veterans, Ramo “Ramo” Radoncic, Johnathon “Demon JT” Fields and Devin “DevGoss” Gossett, who is from Orlando and spent some time coaching Magic Gaming in Season 1.
MATCHUP TO WATCH VS. HAWKS TALON GC: Reizey versus BP is definitely one to keep an eye on. Reizey, who is averaging 24.9 points and 6.9 assists this season, edged out BP, then a member of the Kings, for last year’s Rookie of the Year Award. Both were also MVP finalists in 2019.
BP was traded from Sacramento to Atlanta in the offseason in a deal that sent Connor “Dat Boy Shotz” Rodrigues to Kings Guard Gaming.
Reizey was spectacular against the Sixers in the Magic’s most recent series. He tallied 37 points and 11 assists in Game 2 and 44 and 8 in Game 3.
MATCHUP TO WATCH VS. PISTONS GT: May will face his former team for the first time since Orlando acquired him from Detroit in the offseason. His counterpart will be Ramo, who was traded back to the Pistons, his Season 1 team, after playing with Pacers Gaming last year.
May moved over to the center position for the Magic a few weeks ago and has been terrific in that role. He recorded his first triple-double of his career against the 76ers in Game 3 of that series with 11 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists. Daniel “DT” Tlais, who returned to the lineup in Week 8, is playing power forward, the position he played last season with the Magic.
HOW TO WATCH: Both matchups will be broadcasted on the NBA 2K League’s Twitch (@NBA2kLeague) and YouTube (@NBA2kLeague) channels.