Bucks Gaming split doubleheader: Lose to Celtics, defeat Magic

LONG ISLAND CITY, NY - JUNE 16: (Photo by Michelle Farsi/NBAE via Getty Images)
LONG ISLAND CITY, NY - JUNE 16: (Photo by Michelle Farsi/NBAE via Getty Images) /

In their first double-header of the season, Bucks Gaming were blown out in the morning by the Celtics affiliate, but recovered to upset the Magic in the afternoon.

Bucks Gaming played twice in Gameweek 5 of the NBA 2K League regular season, and the second game offered the opportunity for them to break their losing streak. Unfortunately, a blowout loss in the first game of the day had to be endured before that.

Game 1: Celtics 84, Bucks 65

In the first quarter against the Celtics, the Bucks struggled to score outside of Meek, who got hot with a couple of mid-range jumpers and a monster transition dunk. Drake, who was moved back to point guard, struggled shooting.

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In the meantime, the Celtics did struggled equally in the halfcourt but had more success getting out in transition. Profusion hit a three at the buzzer to push the Celtics lead to 18-14.

In the second, Peroxide hit the Bucks’ first three of the game off some off-ball screen action, and Drake manufactured a dunk from oLarry on the pick and roll. The Bucks forced a three second violation— but then committed a turnover and gave up a transition three which stopped any progress on the lead. The halftime score was 40-33.

It was more of the same in the third quarter: good play by Meek, a few jumpers by Peroxide to try to stay in it, but the quarter ended 58-51. The Celtics were perfectly willing to trade buckets as they had the lead.

In the fourth, the Celtics broke the game open in the transition, exploiting live ball turnovers and finishing 84-65. The Bucks simply couldn’t get open in the halfcourt, and although they finished a respectable 8-of-21 from three, the misses were all contested — which inevitably produced more Celtics transition points. oFab showed his dominance with 11 points and 22 assists, while Profusion added 22 points on 10-of-11 shooting, and both bigs for the Celtics had double-doubles.

Drake and Meek each had double-doubles; Peroxide and STL combined for 6-of-13 from three, but oLarry was quiet, getting only five shots. oFab’s defense in the pick and roll limited the Bucks’ ability to feed the center. Meek’s points came as transition dunks or baseline 10-footers.

Game 2: Bucks 67, Magic 61

Game 2 against the Magic was a better story for the Bucks, who pulled out a 67-61 win, to move to 2-4 on the season.

The Magic had been on a three-game win streak, but an important strategic change may have been the difference. oLarry’s archetype was changed from Pure Rim Protector to Rebounding Post Scorer. This allowed him to hit midrange jumpers and score more consistently in the paint, while helping the Bucks compete on the glass — they won the battle of the boards by 21-16.

The Bucks also made a more concerted effort to feed the bigs, which cut down on the times they had to take contested jumpers, and slowed the pace of the game to minimize the offensive opportunities of the Magic. Moreover, KontruL, the point guard for the Magic, was not as effective running the offense as oFab had been — only six assists for the game is sub-par in a league where the top five guards average over 11.

The game was close throughout, and the teams went in to the third quarter with the Bucks down 47-44, but in the fourth quarter Milwaukee ratcheted up the defensive intensity and went on a quick 9-2 run thanks in part to a tough layup from Drake, a transition three from STL, and a transition dunk by Peroxide. Although the Magic tied it back up late with a three at 61, Peroxide forced a turnover and found Drake in transition for the go-ahead layup. The Bucks then iced the game with free throws.

This win showed progress for Drake, who was 2-of-8 from three against the Celtics. Eventually he does need to find his stroke, but for now it was good that he focused on distribution and attacking the basket. He had a double-double, as did Meek, and oLarry had 18 points on 9-of-12.

Note: this box score is missing a late layup by Meek, because the 2k League still hasn’t learned to properly present statistics.

Next: Bucks Gaming fall in first round of The Turn to Mavs affiliate, 74-68

The Bucks play next on the 22nd, against Kings Guard. The previous matchup was a 76-78 loss for Bucks Gaming in the Tip-Off Tournament.