It was Monday afternoon and I was at the Mavs Gaming facility in Dallas waiting on the team to arrive from their morning workout when a disgruntled Dimez walked in the door.
He still wasn’t over the tough loss on Saturday.
“This one is going to hurt for a while,” he said. “It was a huge game.”
A few days prior, Mavs Gaming went into Saturday’s matchup with a 4-1 record in the regular season with a chance at moving up to second place. With Philadelphia losing in the game before them, it was simple: beat Cleveland and they are in the driver’s seat for the 2-seed.
Cavs Legion GC, with a 3-3 record, hung with Dallas early on and went into the second quarter down by just one point. In the second, it was all Mavs for the majority of the quarter as Dallas built a 14-point lead.
Then something switched.
Cleveland would close out the quarter on a 7-0 run that would give them momentum heading into the break and for the start of the second half.
“We had a chance to really put it to them and we didn’t,” Jonah Edwards, head coach of Mavs Gaming said.
“We turned the ball over way too much,” Dayfri added. “We were up by 14 in the second quarter and let them back into the game.”
Cleveland would build off that momentum in the third quarter as they outscored the Mavs by five points, and only trailed by two heading into the fourth.
“The third and the fourth we let the foot off the pedal,” HazzaUK2K said. “I think we got too confident with us knowing we were better than them as a team.” This mindset led to an ending that will be replayed in their heads for the next multiple weeks.
Down by three with less than 30 seconds to go, Dallas forced a turnover that resulted in Cleveland committing a clear path foul. After knocking down two free throws, Dallas was down by one point while inbounding the call.
“We still had a chance to win at the end but we weren’t on the same page,” Dayfri said.
After a disagreement on whether a timeout should have been used or not, Dallas got the ball to HazzaUK2K in the final seconds that resulted in a huge blocked shot by Cavs Legion. The game was over. Cleveland won by one point.
“We did draw something up,” Edwards said. “It just doesn’t always work as planned and they made a good play. I can’t blame the game on that play though.”
Dimez led the way with 22 points and 12 rebounds on 10-of-15 shooting. Although it was a nice statistical game, Dimez admits that he can’t turn the ball over at the clip he did on Saturday.
“I had eight turnovers, which is completely unacceptable,” Dimez said.
Seem added 13 points while Devillon finished with seven points. For Dayfri, it was his worst statistical game of the season. He would finish the game with just four points and three rebounds on just five shot attempts.
“I would have been just fine scoring four points if we won the game,” Dayfri said. But he didn’t play a “bad” game according to his head coach.
“It looks that way statistically,” Edwards said. “I don’t think he played that bad. He played his role.”
Edwards would go on to praise the complete player that Dayfri is and how he can impact the game in every area. “He always finds a way to make big plays,” Edwards said. “He is just that guy… He finds a way to impact the game even when he is not stuffing the stat sheet.”
On a positive note, this was the best game of the season for HazzaUK2K as he finished the game with 20 points and 10 rebounds. “We always knew as a team I had it. I have always been an inside scorer,” HazzaUK2K said on his big game.
“We have to learn from that to never underestimate a team,” HazzaUK2K added. “Everyone’s heads are locked in now.”
It was a game they should have won and they know it. Now, it is time to move on and focus on a very good Pistons team, a club that now holds the 2-seed in the standings after losses by Dallas and Philadelphia over the weekend allowed them to hop up.
“Pistons are now the number two seed. So if we can beat them, we will own the tiebreaker and be back in the driver’s seat,” Dayfri said.
Known for their slower pace and tough defense, Detroit will test the potent offensive game plan from Mavs Gaming. “As long as we are able to score the ball, we can beat this team,” Dimez added.
With three teams sitting with a 4-2 record and four teams sitting with a 3-3 record, a loss for Dallas would hold critical weight on their season. They believe they are one of the top three teams in the league and this week is an opportunity to prove it.
“Being 4-3 is a hell of a lot different than being 5-2,” Edwards said. “We are looking at being a top-three team.”
You can watch Mavs Gaming take on Pistons GT on Saturday, June 23 at 12 P.M. CT. All games can be watched at twitch.tv/mavsgg.