Magic Gaming entered the week in the driver’s seat for a spot in the 2K League Playoffs. But a loss and bad results elsewhere send the team home early.
Cavs Legion Gaming’s leading scorer Hood had the Magic Gaming defense transfixed throughout the team’s first game on the final day of the regular season. A poor rotation or any bit of space was sure to give him the green light to fire. And given any daylight, he was likely to hit.
So it made sense that eventually two defenders would get sucked into his orbit. And there he found his teammates streaking to the basket or got the Magic’s post players to jump for blocks to set up offensive rebounds. Or there he just pulled up from mid-range or three himself.
Magic Gaming found themselves in desperation very early on. Results in previous games took Magic Gaming out of the driver’s seat for one of the final two Playoff spots and forced them into a must-win situation. And early on, they looked a bit tight struggling defensively from the start and having to chase the lead from the beginning.
Magic Gaming had a few runs in them, cutting the lead to three points early in the fourth quarter. But Hood was too much and Cavs Legion had too big of a lead. Put out of position, Cavs Legion scored again and again in an 88-77 victory that kept their slim playoff hopes alive and ended Magic Gaming’s chances of playing on to next week.
They could not overcome a slow start that saw them trailing 21-14 after one quarter. From there, Magic Gaming was struggling to keep up, relying heavily on point guard UC Manny to generate offense.
It was a bit of an odd move. Magic Gaming sat first-round pick Kontrul for this ever-important game. UCManny played very well, scoring 28 points and dishing out 12 assists. Offensively, Magic Gaming was more than capable of keeping up.
They struggled to keep Hood, one of the league’s top scorers, under wraps. Hood scored 37 points and dished out 15 assists. Too many times, Hood was able to break through the defense and find the open man or get open himself.
Every time Magic Gaming drew close, Hood seemed to have an answer. And Magic Gaming could never catch up. Desperation set in toward the end as the season got away from them.
Magic Gaming will complete the regular season Saturday at 5 p.m. against Celtics Crossover Gaming.
It was a good season for Magic Gaming regardless of its final outcome. The team struggled at the beginning of the season to get its footing under them. Magic Gaming was not predicted to finish well in the NBA 2K League. Their draft was roundly criticized.
But the team pulled together throughout the year. Their balanced scoring attack proved to be a deadly combination throughout the league. They quickly rose in the standings to give themselves the chance to make the Playoffs.
Magic Gaming was one of the best stories throughout the entire NBA 2K League season. They truly grew as much as any team over the course of the season. It gave them a chance to advance in the Playoffs.
But ultimately they fell short. Their early season losses — and the point differential that came with them — were too much to overcome in the end. Their late-game luck ran out last week when they lost to Pistons Gaming, and it put them in a bad position thanks to other results in the final week.
They will have to go back tot he drawing board next year. Now perhaps with a better understanding of how to make their system and their team-based approach work.
This will be a season to remember for Magic Gaming — like the Heart and Hustle year for the Orlando Magic. Now it will be interesting to see how Magic Gaming builds and grows in their second year.