Week one was a wild ride to say the least.
It was the first week the whole Mavs Gaming squad was in the United States. The first trip to New York City. The first time playing on the big stage. It was a week of firsts for the Mavs as they not only played their first professional game together, but ended up playing five games in three days.
It was a learning experience for everyone.
And if week one was about learning, week two was all about growing as a team.
On Monday, the team was finally introduced to the nearly finished, 20,000 square foot eSports facility in Dallas. This is where they will practice, watch film & spend the majority of their time. After taking a team bonding night out to the movies and celebrating Dimez’s birthday later in the week, it was time for the team to get down to business for their first regular season game of the year.
Up first, Raptors Uprising.
“We feel that is a team we can definitely beat,” Jonah Edwards, head coach of Mavs Gaming said earlier in the week. “We can’t go in thinking light of any opponents. We know our back court is better than them.”
As the first week having the whole squad together, Mavs Gaming spent a lot of time watching film and taking advantage of their practice sessions together. In fact, one of their first scrimmages before the Tip-Off Tournament was against Raptors Uprising.
“The first scrimmage we ever had and we ran the press was against the Raptors. We forced like 30 steals,” Edwards said. “They know it is coming. We are not going to let up off the gas.”
And Mavs Gaming brought it early on Saturday.
After the first quarter, Mavs Gaming was up 19-10 as getting everyone involved in the offense was the game plan from the very beginning. It took just a few minutes into the second quarter for all Mavs starters to score.
The second quarter was the turning point of the entire game.
“We were more confident this game,” Seem said. “More confident knowing we had more plays and sets compared to that first game.”
Highlighted by the full court press and two-man game between Dimez and Dayfri, Mavs Gaming went on a 15-4 run that had them up 38-23 at the half. The passionate play of Dayfri led the way with 15 points and seven boards.
“We came in with a game plan to attack the center,” Dayfri said. “He said before the game he was going to lock me up so I took it a little personal.”
There was a play in the second half that resulted in a big play for Dayfri and was followed with a classic Dayfri, passionate response. Is the passion contagious to the rest of the team?
“They love it. They get going by it,” Dayfri said. “When I am hyped, they are hyped.”
Edwards echoed that same thought by saying the team feeds off his energy as a player. As long as he can find the balance between passion and trash talking, he is ok with it.
Mavs Gaming continued their route in the second half as Toronto could never find a way to get back into the game. Dallas took a 20-point lead into the fourth quarter and ended up winning the game by a score of 75-53.
Dimez would finish with another double-double as he recorded 10 points and 15 assists. Dayfri led all scorers with 28 points and 11 rebounds. But after the game, Dayfri credited the big games of Devillon and Seem on the wing.
“This week we actually had some plays,” Devillon said. “We are getting used to how each other plays. Sometimes I don’t have to talk to Dimez because I know where he is going. We are finally starting to get into a groove.”
Devillon went 4/4 from behind the arc and finished the game with 16 points, six rebounds and four assists. Seem shot 7/10 from the field and recorded 16 points of his own in the game.
As Dayfri, Dimez and the rest of the guys like to call them the best wing tandem in the league, Edwards cautions to not get ahead of themselves just yet.
“It is pretty good, but lets not get ahead of ourselves yet,” Edwards said. “They are getting a lot better every day. They are the X factors on our team.”
As a team, Mavs Gaming shot 64 percent from the field and an astounding 87 percent from behind the arc.
For Dimez, it was somewhat of a family reunion on Saturday as two players on Raptors Uprising were former teammates of his. In fact, they were all on the same team that won $250,000 in a tournament last year.
“On the court, I don’t even know those guys. They’re just appointments,” Dimez said. “Off the court it is all love. We won 250K together, nobody can take that away.”
Now, it is back to the drawing board as Edwards has already tabbed this upcoming week as the “toughest week of the season.”
Not only does Mavs Gaming have two games this week, but they come against arguably the two best teams in the league outside of Dallas. One of them being a Celtics team led by the number two overall pick and the other being a Philadelphia team that knocked Mavs Gaming out of the Tip-Off Tournament in week one.
“Sixers got the better of us last time so we are going in with a bigger chip on our shoulders,” Dimez said.
“They are riding a high right now,” Edwards said of the Sixers. “They have won six straight. Longest win streak in the league. They are riding this wave, but hopefully we can stop this streak. If we can take one of two, we are in a good spot.”
You can watch Mavs Gaming take on Celtics Crossover Gaming at 10 a.m. on Saturday May 19. They play 76ers GC at 5 p.m. later that evening. All start times are central time and can be watched at twitch.tv/nba2kleague.