It was just three weeks ago when Mavs Gaming arrived in New York City for the opening Tip-Off Tournament. After drafting Dimez with the first overall pick in the NBA 2K League Draft, the target was immediately on their back.
And Heat Check Gaming decided to come after them quick by talking trash in the hotel leading up to their opening round matchup. They were so confident in their ability to beat Dallas that it meant a little more to the players and even the head coach Jonah Edwards.
“That game was personal,” Edwards said a few weeks ago. “They were trash-talking for a few weeks now and how they were the best team in the league.”
Mavs Gaming would trounce Miami by 19 points in their first win of the season.
Fast forward three weeks and Heat Check Gaming learned their lesson this time around as they squared off in Week 3 of the NBA 2K League regular season.
“They know better now,” Dimez said of the trash-talking. “They didn’t say a word and didn’t look at us.”
But Mavs Gaming knew they had their sights set on the rematch for the opportunity to get even with Dallas. “We knew they wanted the game bad because of the Tip-Off Tournament,” JLB added.
From the opening tip, one thing was made very clear: Heat Check wanted to stop the pick-and-roll.
“Their defense was focused on DayFri and Dimez,” Seem said.
“We saw their defense. We watched film for hours,” Devillon said. “That is what every team is trying to do, which leaves us open all the time.”
Much is made about the two-man game between Dimez and DayFri, but the supporting cast around them is often times the difference-maker when going against other top teams in the league.
“Our role players are better than role players on other teams,” Edwards said. “Obviously, we have Dimez and DayFri… We think our strength is our role players.”
Seem, Devillon, and JLB combined for 35 points while shooting 11 of 22 from the field and 7 of 14 from behind the arc.
“We all played and showed up,” Dimez said. “Really the main factor was JLB. He guarded their best player in Hotshot and did a great job. That was really the difference-maker.”
After a solid first quarter, Mavs Gaming took a five-point lead into the second half. Heat Check Gaming made a run to the game in the fourth quarter, but after some clutch baskets from Seem, Mavs Gaming pulled away with the victory.
The key to the game for the Mavs was the outside shooting that came as a result from the defensive focus from Miami on the Dimez/DayFri two-man game.
“We knew that we were going to get our threes,” JLB said.
“I feel like we have the best players at what we do,” Seem said. “We don’t have any weak links.”
For Dimez, he once again led the way with 22 points and 12 assists. “Anytime I have a game like that I feel like it opens up the offense,” Dimez added.
The nine-point victory now puts Mavs Gaming at 3-1 heading into a matchup with Jazz Gaming, which also sits at 3-1. Dallas is confident heading into the showdown.
“Only thing that stops us is ourselves,” Dimez said. DayFri echoed that, “As long as we play our game, we should be fine.”
This is the last week of the regular season before the second big tournament and first Mid-Season Tournament of the season. But don’t think Mavs Gaming is overlooking the Jazz before the tournament.
“We need to focus on this game before the big weekend next weekend,” Devillon said. JLB added, “We want to go 4-1 and obviously the Jazz are pretty good.”
If the Mavs do pull off the victory this weekend and head into the tournament with a 4-1 record, they will obtain a top-four seed in the bracket.
You can watch Mavs Gaming take on Jazz Gaming at 9:00 p.m. CT on Friday, June 1. You can watch all games at twitch.tv/mavsgg.