If there was an award for the best game of the regular season, Mavs vs. Jazz on Friday night would be the winner.
It was the weekend before the first mid-season tournament and both Mavs Gaming and Jazz Gaming headed into their matchup with a 3-1 record, both eyeing a top seed in the bracket.
For Dallas, the game didn’t start as well as they would have liked.
Utah jumped out to a quick 8-0 lead and they wanted Dallas to know about it through their intense trash-talking from the opening tip. “They got on me early,” Dayfri said. “I guess that was their gameplan. For me, I like it when people talk to me. It makes me play better.”
“They are a loud team,” Dimez added. “They try to scare the other team. We don’t feed into that.”
His teammates didn’t feed into it either as they finished the first quarter only down by one point. In fact, Dallas didn’t hit its first 3-pointer of the game until a couple of minutes into the second quarter.
Mavs Gaming would outscore the Jazz 19-10 in the second quarter and take an eight-point lead into the half.
The second half was a different story as Utah opened the half on a 13-2 run. Mavs Gaming was taking their share of bad shots and the Jazz was capitalizing. Dimez said the team as a whole took a lot of bad shots in the third quarter, but praised their effort in tying the game heading into the fourth . Dayfri and the guys never counted themselves out.
All even at 53-53 as we head down the stretch!
— NBA 2K League (@NBA2KLeague) June 2, 2018
“I never thought we were out of the game,” Dayfri said.
The fourth quarter was probably the best frame of basketball to watch from a viewer’s standpoint. Both teams traded baskets and turnovers until the final minute came, and Dallas was down by one with under a minute to play. Instead of going for two, Mavs Gaming ran a play for a 3-point shot for Seem that he naturally drained in typical Seem fashion. It was a huge moment in the game as it put Dallas up by two.
“That is a play we do a lot for me,” Seem said.
The last two possessions of the game for Utah were two massive defensive stops for Mavs Gaming. Utah would have two more chances to tie the game in the final 40 seconds, but both resulted in turnovers going out of bounds.
For a team like Dallas that is built around its scoring, coming up with two big defensive stops to seal the game meant a lot to the players. “We have definitely gotten a lot better defensively and that is a lot of credit to Chuck, our assistant. He is a big defensive guy,” head coach Jonah Edwards said.
— NBA (@NBA) June 2, 2018
It was an instant classic for the viewers, but for Mavs Gaming, they would prefer something a little more comfortable.
“That game was hell,” Dayfri said. Dimez echoed that same statement, “It was a hell game. That is what we call them in the 2K community.”
Seem used the word “nerve-racking” to describe the game while Edwards said he was stressed the entire time.
Mavs Gaming won the game by a score of 62-59. Seem led the way with 25 points on 8/10 shooting. Dimez added 13 points and 10 assists while Dayfri added 16 points and seven rebounds.
As for the player the coaching staff can rely on to help keep the team collected in those close fourth quarter games, Edwards had a surprise answer for some.
“Believe it or not, it is becoming Seem,” Edwards said. “He is our calm personality in the game. Seem is always the level one. He practiced so well this past week and it translated on stage. Seem is becoming our fourth-quarter killer.”
Does Seem care about getting the recognition he deserves across the league? Not exactly. “I don’t care about all that recognition stuff as long as we win,” Seem said.
Dallas did its job this week, and now all the attention turns to next week as the bracket has already been released for the seeding of the first mid-season tournament of the NBA 2K League.
Check out the bracket for THE TURN!
— NBA2KLeague (@NBA2KLeague) June 4, 2018
“I think we have the toughest draw of any top team in the league,” Edwards said. When each of the players saw the bracket for the first time, they all had a similar thought about the seeding. “We definitely have a hell side,” Dayfri said. “We probably have the toughest road, but if any team can do it we can.”
The Mavs play a Bucks team in Round 1 that they believe is the best one-win team in the league. If they win that game, they will face off against the No. 2 overall pick in Fab and the Celtics or the same Jazz Gaming team they just finished an instant classic with.
If they win their first two games, they could face off with a Sixers squad that is also 4-1 on the season and handed Dallas its only regular-season loss of the year a few weeks ago.
From a preparation standpoint, it is a whole different ball game for the coaching staff. Accustomed to one opponent and one game per week, Dallas now heads into the weekend knowing it could possibly have up to four games with opponents not yet set in stone.
Edwards says the team will have scouting reports for each team on hand in New York ready to present to the team once they find out who they will play. But even with scouting reports on hand, their road to the championship will be the hardest road of any of the top teams.
“If we pull this off, we better be No. 1 on every power ranking.” Dimez said.
As for if Mavs Gaming gets the respect from people around the league as one of the best teams, hardly anyone would say they do.
“We definitely don’t,” Dayfri said. “Team-wise, I don’t think we get the respect because we have the No. 1 pick and everyone expects it out of us.”
“It is actually absurd. We are 4-1,” Dimez added.
They deserve and want the respect, but money talks and getting those prize earnings mean more than a person sharing their “rankings” on social media.
“It is what it is. If we come out with that money, I don’t care,” Dayfri said.
If the Mavs win their first game of the tournament, each player on the team will receive $750. If they win all four of their games and come out of the tournament on top, each player will receive $9,700.
And if you had to pick a team to be the early favorites of the tournament, Edwards believes Mavs Gaming is clicking at the right time.
“I think we are the scariest team heading into this tournament,” Edwards said. But if you aren’t believers in the Mavs now, don’t think the guys aren’t keeping track of the doubters who jump on board the bandwagon once they start winning.
“If you didn’t rock with us then, don’t rock with us now,” Dimez said.
Mavs Gaming will take on Bucks Gaming on Friday, June 8. Start time has yet to be announced. All games can be watched on twitch.tv/mavsgg.