In a game billed as potentially the best matchup to take place during Week 4, Mavs Gaming (4-1) narrowly beat Jazz Gaming (3-2) by a score of 62-59 to conclude Friday’s games.
This contest certainly lived up to the lofty expectations set by many, as the back and forth affair wasn’t decided until the final moments of the game. Mavs Gaming appeared to have control of the battle early on, relying on a steady dose of transition buckets, either off missed shots or turnovers, and ratched up the pressure in the first half to earn a 35-27 lead.
That advantage evaporated in just three minutes, though, as Jazz Gaming began the third quarter on a 13-2 run, punctuated by multiple three pointers from small forward Smoove. Similar to how Dallas earned their first half advantage, Utah feasted on a plethora of missed shots and turnovers, picking on No. 1 overall pick Dimez each time he touched the ball. Fortunately for Dallas, first half stalwart BallLikeSeem managed to stop the bleeding near the end of the third frame, scoring five points to help Mavs Gaming draw even heading into the fourth quarter.
Both teams continued to trade baskets and turnovers throughout the fourth quarter, with neither gaining a definitive edge for the final six minutes. A pivotal three pointer from BallLikeSeem helped Mavs Gaming earn a one-point lead with under 40 seconds to play, but it was a pair of critical mishaps by Jazz Gaming that ultimately sealed the game. Relying almost exclusively on a low post offense in the final two minutes, particularly from center MrSlaughter01, who led all scorers with 26 points, Jazz Gaming forced the ball down low to their big man one more time, only to be denied by Mavs Gaming power forward Dayfri. The expert positioning forced MrSlaughter01 to carry the ball out of bounds, causing a backbreaking turnover which Utah would never recover from. One intentional foul later and it was deja vu all over again, as an incredible defensive team effort by Dallas wouldn’t even allow a game-tying three to go off. Unable to cleanly inbound the ball would create the second, and final, crucial turnover by Jazz Gaming to occur in the final 40 seconds, sealing Utah’s fate.
Surrounded by certifiable stars in Dimez and Dayfri, BallLikeSeem has been far and away the biggest impact on Mavs Gaming for two consecutive weeks. Surpassing his career high in points, a mark he set last week, the shooting guard finished with 25 points on 8-of-10 shooting, converting on a number of fast break layups as well as two timely threes. He might not have the same name recognition as his cohorts at the moment but, if BallLikeSeem continues to perform at this level during the Mid-Season Tournament, it won’t be long before the fourth-round pick is mentioned in the same breath as some of the other top flight SGs in the NBA 2K League.