ORLANDO – Regular season action resumes around the NBA 2K League this week, and Magic Gaming will certainly have their work cut out for them as they get set to take on two elite opponents.
Orlando’s first test following a solid 2-2 mark in pool play of the TIPOFF will come against Raptors Uprising GC, the champs of the tournament, with the series taking place on Tuesday, June 23 at 9 p.m. ET. Toronto, which is also undefeated in the regular season, defeated Kings Guard Gaming in the Finals. Kenneth “Kenny Got Work” Hailey, who averaged 28.0 points and 9.5 assists throughout the four-night-long event, was named the MVP of the tournament.
The Magic will then turn their attention to the team sitting just behind the Raptors in the standings, the 6-1 Warriors, who are led by their point guard, Charles “CB13” Bostwick. The action against Golden State will occur on Friday, June 26 starting at 6 p.m. ET.
The Magic, competing in Group 4, split their games against Hawks Talon GC and the Kings in the TIPOFF. Brendan “Reizey” Hill scored over 20 points in all four contests, Robert “May” May racked up double-digit rebounds in three of the four games, including in Orlando’s win over Atlanta when he recorded a double-double, and Brandon “ToXsiK” Raudenbush was extremely efficient, making 11 of his 14 total shot attempts during the tournament.
“Obviously we’re disappointed to not advance, though with all that being said I think that we were happy with the way we performed and played,” Magic Gaming Head Coach Jonah Edwards said. “Dropping game two versus the Hawks was the real stinger there as we were in a position to control our own destiny.”
Back at point guard after playing shooting guard for one series, Reizey was on his A-game for most of the TIPOFF with averages of 25.5 points and 6.8 assists. In the win over Sacramento during the tournament, the Tyler, Texas native made two clutch shots down the stretch to help preserve the victory. May and Alex “Profusion” Snowden, Orlando’s second round pick in the 2020 draft, also made big buckets in the final stages of that contest.
Reizey, last year’s 2K League Rookie of the Year, says he’s starting to get more comfortable with this season’s league build, which is quite different from the 2019 version. The game is much more momentum based in 2020, which is why a lot of teams run the three-man press and put a ton of pressure on the other team’s point guard to try and force turnovers.
“At the start, my main problem was just struggling to hit open shots, especially in that Knicks series recently,” Reizey said. “I felt like I was getting to my spots and pretty much doing whatever I wanted and the open shots just weren’t falling. So, that’s what I worked on recently, leading into the TIPOFF. Just trying to make sure I take advantage of every open opportunity that I get because you don’t know how many there are going to be throughout the game. I’ve been really focused on my jump shot and trying to improve that as well as limiting my turnovers and trying to control the pace a little bit better. I felt like I did that pretty well in the TIPOFF.”
The 9-0 Raptors have been dominant this season, although they did survive a scare from Blazer5 Gaming the week before the TIPOFF. Portland, behind a 44-point performance from reigning league MVP Neadal “Mama Im Dat Man” Nasser, forced OT in Game 3 of its series against Toronto before the Raptors took control in the extra session.
The very next night, the Raptors cruised past Celtics Crossover Gaming. In the first game, which Toronto won by 58, Kenny Got Work notched a triple-double with 34 points, 13 assists and 10 steals, while his backcourt teammate, Eric “Timelycook” Donald, also filled up the stat sheet with 39 points, seven assists and nine steals.
Warriors Gaming Squad, meanwhile, lost their most recent regular season series. Despite getting 36 points from CB13 in each of the three games during the series, Golden State lost to Jazz Gaming. In that decisive third game, the Warriors had a hard time containing center Spencer “Ria” Wyman, who posted 20 points and 18 rebounds in that contest. Like Orlando, Golden State went 2-2 during the TIPOFF, splitting their Group 3 games against Pacers Gaming and Grizz Gaming.
MATCHUP TO WATCH VS. RAPTORS: While the Reizey versus Kenny matchup will be one to keep an eye on, the battle on the inside between May and Gerald “Sick One” Knapp, a native of Verona, New Jersey whom Toronto acquired from Cleveland in the middle of last season, will be just as critical.
Sick One was solid in the TIPOFF finals against the Kings, flirting with a triple-double in Game 1 with 14 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists and then tallying 13 points, eight boards and five dimes in Game 2.
MATCHUP TO WATCH VS. WARRIORS: Golden State is tough to beat in general, but it is nearly impossible to beat if its power forward, Jin “Jin” Choe, is hitting his outside shots. In the Warriors’ two wins in the TIPOFF, Jin made seven of his eight 3-point attempts. He made only two threes in Golden State’s two losses combined.
For the Magic to win this series, they will need Profusion to knock down his corner triples. The Bellevue, Washington native has been hot lately from downtown. He made seven of his 12 tries from beyond the arc in Orlando’s regular season series triumph over Sacramento in Week 6.
HOW TO WATCH: Both matchups will be broadcasted on the NBA 2K League’s Twitch (@NBA2kLeague) and YouTube (@NBA2kLeague) channels.