Editor’s note: Josiah is stepping in for Will tonight on this.
Welcome to Late Night Notes. We’ll be recapping every night’s matchups in a more casual style than our previews. These will be stream of consciousness ramblings about the games as they happen: snap judgments, quickfire analysis and little (note from Josiah: very little) editing. Let’s get to it.
Magic Gaming (1-2) 48, Knicks Gaming (0-2) 47
Last time we saw these two teams, the Magic won on a last-second dunk in double-overtime way back in the Tipoff Tournament. Now, entering week three, the Magic are 0-2 and the Knicks 0-1. Both have made lineup changes: the Knicks put Hazzaa in for Yeynot at lock, while the Magic subbed in TuckerLocksUp for KingCamRoyalty, with DT moving to center. The bye week seems to have helped iamadamthe1st, as he’s shooting the lights out. Reizey, across the stage, is not; he’s playing very cautious, not turning the ball over but not driving up the score. Hazzaa has played a part by closing out quickly and talking trash. At the half, the Knicks are up a triple and Adam has a game-high 15. Reizey has 0, but TuckerLocksUp has 13 for Orlando.
Halftime: Knicks Gaming 28, Magic Gaming 25
Remember that center substitution? It’s been back and forth. Goofy is inhaling rebounds—he’ll finish with 18—and DT has picked it up offensively while Tucker has cooled down. The Magic are struggling to communicate effectively in the pick-and-roll, paving the way to some wide open dunks, but that’s offset by UCManny’s stellar defense on Adam. Man, Reizey is a cold man on leaners. He was 1-9 from three at some point, but he’s making gutty shots from way beyond the arc. But this game is all about the ending. Just watch:
Player of the game: DT; 14 points, 8 rebounds, 3 blocks, 7-8 from the field
Raptors Uprising GC (1-2) 64, T-Wolves Gaming (1-2) 59
Hello, new lineup. Kenny’s in at the 1, Trey at the 3, with Slim moving to the 4. First-round pick Doza is sitting this game out. It’s a slow adjustment to point guard for Kenny, but he’s compensated for it by draining some exceedingly deep shots. The T-Wolves are struggling to implement any overloaded horns sets, and the Raptors are getting energized off their takeaways and treys. KingQuai on the Pure Glass is pure rebounding power.
Halftime: Raptors Uprising GC 34, T-Wolves Gaming 21
The second consecutive great game of the night. The T-Wolves make an adjustment—one of the adjustments of the year—that gets them back into the game after being down 13 at the half: a full court press! They storm back, with Bear and Hood playing well and Hood earning a takeover. Raptors Uprising aids the comeback by pulling up for three in transition without success. Feast is such a good offensive rebounder that the comeback seems inevitable, but some clutch shooting from All Hail Trey—does anyone in the league have a faster release?—and composed free throws give the Raptors the win.
Player of the game: All Hail Trey; 25 points, 2 assists, 10-16 from the field
Mavs Gaming (4-0) 53, Lakers Gaming (1-3) 50
It’s showtime! Or something. The Mavs are 3-0, coming into this game, but they’re struggling to put up points early on. And it actually looks a little like sowtime, as the Lakers—just 1-2 on the season—are throwing alley-oops, talking, and screaming at the Mavs. Maybe they’re right and the Mavs are rattled. It’s a Lakers Gaming lead at halftime despite just throwing alley-oops up the wazoo; even mixing in some plays, including horns, hasn’t slowed them too much.
Halftime: Lakers Gaming 32, Mavs Gaming 27
Well, the Mavs climbed back to win after going down 39-27 to start the second half. Let’s look at some positives for the Lakers, though. Mootyy greened a trey to close the third quarter on a pure glass. The Lakers finished with four players scoring in double digits. Most importantly, Kev has been an absolute revelation after being selected in the second round; he might be the best rookie shooter in the entire league. But at the end of the day, the Mavs forced enough turnovers and got Kontrul of a late cold run, winning on the strength of some very impressive ball movement.
Player of the game: Mo; 17 points, 4 assists, 5-8 from three
Magic Gaming (2-2) 58, T-Wolves Gaming (1-3) 47
DT opened this one with an 8-point scoring run of his own. The T-Wolves should be desperate for a win, sitting at 1-2 after losing earlier in the night, but they start out slowly. Does JoJo hit more lightly contested shots than open shots? It’s been a grind-it-out half, exactly like Magic Gaming likes it, and the T-Wolves are quiet and disengaged. I thought they’d be better coming out of a bye week, with extra time to implement their plays and sets, but at halftime, it’s not the case.
Haltime: Magic Gaming 26, T-Wolves Gaming 21
What the Magic did really well—among many things—was capitalizing on matchups that they themselves manipulated. Realizing that the T-Wolves like to switch, the Magic got the ball to KingCamRoyalty, guarded after the pick-and-roll switch by Turnupdefense, and let him go to work. They cut off ball. They hit their shots. They ran the T-Wolves off the three-point line, much to coach Jonah’s delight. While the T-Wolves, who are admittedly a good claw-back-into-it type of team, cut the deficit to 4 with three minutes to play, the Magic closed on a 10-3 run to seal their second win of the season.
Player of the game: KingCamRoyalty; 8 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists
Heat Check Gaming (3-1) 44, Lakers Gaming (1-4) 39
The first half didn’t really make sense. Lakers Gaming led by six at the end of the half. The Heat were quiet; the Lakers were loud; the Heat, consequently, were frustrated. The Lakers kept the dunk show from their first game of the night going in this, the nightcap, and they equaled it on the defensive end with some solid team defnse. Mootyy has been tremendous so far. He’s the player we saw after Kings Guard cleared the paint for him by moving Worthingcolt to point guard. But Detoxys, while a good player, has not been a big plus at point guard. He’s not a minus, but a JoJo-type stretch 4 would be perfect for this team.
Halftime: Lakers Gaming 25, Heat Check Gaming 19
Ugly. That’s the message the Heat sent after the game, an ugly grind that saw the Heat win by 5. Lotty can really shoot at the lock; a sharp in a previous life, he led both teams with 17 points on the night. The tide turned with an 18-8 third quarter, but the Heat needed a last-minute cold-ring miss from Kev—who shot 1-11 in the worst game of his career—to finish the deal. It wasn’t pretty, but the Heat defense never stops swarming, and thus the team rarely stops winning.
Player of the game: Lotty; 17 points, 6-7 from the field, 1 turnover