They called it the “toughest road” for a reason.
After beating Jazz Gaming in arguably the best regular-season game of the year last weekend, Mavs Gaming went into the first mid-season tournament like they wanted: a 4-1 record with one of the top seeds in the tournament.
The bracket came out and they instantly knew they had a hard path ahead of them. Many of them labeled it as the “toughest road” for any of the top seeds.
Up first, Bucks Gaming.
Jonah Edwards, head coach of Mavs Gaming, told me earlier in the week that he believed that Bucks Gaming was one of the best one-win teams in the league. And they proved that early and late on Friday evening.
The Bucks started off with a couple of early baskets and they wanted Dallas to know about it with their trash-talking while standing up. But before they could get back in their seats, Mavs Gaming went on a 12-2 run that was capped off with a Bucks timeout.
Dallas would end the first half on a 22-5 run and a 46-28 lead.
Dimez would have a double-double in the first half and continue the same game plan in the third as they would head into the fourth quarter with a lead of 61-45. But this is when the Bucks proved the praise that Mavs Gaming gave them earlier in the week.
Milwaukee opened up the fourth quarter on an 11-4 run and would eventually cut it to five with under a minute to go in the game. But once again, it was a huge three by Seem that ended up being the dagger to hold off the Bucks. Mavs Gaming won the game 74-68.
— Mavs Gaming (@MavsGG) June 8, 2018
It was a perfect way for Seem to cap off another big time performance for Mavs Gaming.
“Same thing as always…confidence,” Seem said on what led to his big performance. “Just going into games knowing I’m the best shooting guard in the league and proving I do more than just shoot.”
Seem had a game high of 26 points, but only 12 of those points came from outside the arc. From getting out on the fast break to showing off his floater game, Seem is showing the league that he is more than just a sharpshooter.
“Either that is scoring off the dribble or making the right pass, it’s on me and my team believes in me 100 percent to do that,” Seem said.
Dayfri would have another monster performance with 25 points and 14 rebounds. Quite frankly, his MVP-like resume isn’t getting the recognition it deserves. The Mavs “big three” of Seem, Dayfri and Dimez combined for 67 of the 74 points for Mavs Gaming.
Two of the other points came from England native, HazzaUK2K.
The coaching staff for Mavs Gaming made the starting lineup switch prior to the game by swapping out JLB for HazzaUK2K. This would be HazzaUK2K’s first start of the season.
“I was always fighting for any position in the lineup, competing and trash-talking at any point,” HazzaUK2K said about finally getting his opportunity. “I knew I was a better defender and rebounder than most on the team.”
“We all trust Jonah as a coach, and he decided it was time for me to get a start in the lineup,” HazzaUK2K added.
“We decided to start Harry because we felt like he was playing better going into the tournament,” Edwards said. “He definitely had some jitters, but I thought he didn’t do a bad job overall.”
With the win over the Bucks, Mavs Gaming would move on to Saturday as they would matchup with Celtics Crossover Gaming for the third time this year. The head-to-head battle against the top two overall picks, Dimez and oFab, would take place once again.
🍽️ The No. 1 pick is cookin' early 🍽️@DatBoyDimez
— NBA 2K League (@NBA2KLeague) June 9, 2018
With HazzaUK2K still in the lineup, Mavs Gaming got out to a decent start to the game as they took a three-point lead into the second quarter. In the second, Boston took it up a notch by going on an 11-4 run behind a solid first half from oFab.
Then the floodgates opened in the third quarter as the Celtics would outscore the Mavs 23-6 in the quarter. Yes, Dallas scored just six points in the third quarter.
“We knew going into it they would be focusing on Seem, Harry, and myself,” Devillon said after the game. “Neither one of us played well and it caused our offense to become very stagnant and we got frustrated as a team, leading to a horrible six point quarter.”
The third quarter onslaught led to a 23-point deficit for Mavs Gaming heading into the fourth quarter. The lead proved too much to overcome and Mavs Gaming would end up losing the game 77-59.
Seem and Devillon would combine for just 14 points in the game. Dayfri would finish with 14 points and Dimez would finish with 25 points and eight assists. oFab would lead Boston with 23 points and 21 assists.
“I feel like we shut down as a team,” Dayfri said. “They had a game plan so it is what it is. Just have to get back to the drawing board and try to get better next week.”
With the first mid-season tournament being single elimination, the loss to Boston would eliminate Dallas from the tourney. Even though the outcome is nowhere near what they had planned, each player on Mavs Gaming still walked away with $750.
Mavs Gaming will head back to New York next weekend as they take on Cavs Legion GC in their sixth regular season game. Tip is set for June 16 at 5:00 PM CST on twitch.tv/mavsgg.