Game No. 1 / Raptors Rising GC
After an impressive performance during THE TIPOFF Tournament to open the season, T-Wolves Gaming went 1-1 in Week 1 of the regular season, picking up a win against Lakers Gaming but losing to a red-hot Bucks Gaming team. Benefitting from a bye last week, the T-Wolves were certainly looking to come out of the gates hot this week against a team that has struggled a bit so far this season.
Raptors Uprising GC dropped both of their games against Cavs Legion GC and 76ers GC in Week 1 and had lost four in a row dating back to THE TIPOFF. The Raptors didn’t necessarily play poorly in the game against the Cavs, but struggled with fouls early in the game and were unable to control the ball, leading to eight turnovers. However, they also enjoyed a bye in Week 2 to regroup and were sure to be just as motivated as the T-Wolves as they tried to snag their first regular season win of the year.
With both teams being well rested and motivated in their own regards, only one team was able to translate that into on-court performance early in this matchup. After a quick start for Mihad “FEAST” Feratovic, the T-Wolves went cold, succumbing to the Raptors absolutely smothering defensive effort.
Raptors Uprising GC jumped out to a 20-11 lead after the first quarter with Kenneth “Kenny Got Work” Hailey hitting a couple of deep 3s towards the end of the quarter, Trevion “All Hail Trey” Hendrix adding five points of his own, and the team’s full-court press caused three turnovers in the first five minutes, and a total of four in the first quarter alone.
The T-Wolves struggles continued into the second quarter, with tensions flaring up with about 3:37 left in the half. The team took a much-needed timeout after falling behind 28-13 and the players starting hounding on each other for their individual efforts on the defensive end. Coach Shawn Vilvens stepped in to settle everyone down, reminding them to simply play their game and work together as one.
Forcing a couple of quick turnovers out of the timeout, the T-Wolves were able to cut into the Raptors lead a little bit, but still trailed 34-21 heading into the second half.
Things got interesting in the third quarter when a couple of clutch buckets by Brandon “Hood” Caicedo and “FEAST” grabbed a plethora of rebounds. With about a minute left in the quarter, a deep three-pointer by Josiah “JoJo” Oetjen brought the T-Wolves within five points, causing a bit of a stir between the two teams who reveled the opportunity to chirp back and forth with one another.
The T-Wolves were able to continue their hot streak into the fourth quarter, even bringing the deficit down to just one point with about three minutes left in the game. However, “All Hail Trey” got loose a couple of times and drained a few quick 3s, and Seanquai “KingQuai614” Harris continued the stifling defensive effort, and Raptors Uprising GC cruised to a 64-59 victory.
Although the T-Wolves lost, impressive performances by Hood, JoJo and FEAST were a key part of their second-half comeback, and the communication between all five players was stellar. They clearly understood that they couldn’t let the Raptors dictate the pace of the game and that they couldn’t let the Uprising continue to dominate from beyond the arc, deploying multiple defensive efforts of their own on the fly in an attempt to stop them.
Unfortunately, the shots just kept going in, and their inability to control the ball, ending the game with 11 turnovers, made it very difficult to dig themselves out of the early hole they found themselves in, resulting in their first loss of the night.
Game No. 2 / Magic Gaming
For their second game of the night, T-Wolves Gaming was matched up against Magic Gaming, who pulled out an impressive win against defending-champions Knicks Gaming in their first game of the night, effectively avenging the pair of losses they suffered in Week 1 to Cavs Legion GC and Nets GC.
The T-Wolves were looking to regroup after a tough first game of and were certainly looking to play hard early, fix up some of the shortcomings they had in the first matchup, and head back to Minnesota with a split record for the week.
Unfortunately, the exact same issues that dug them into such a deep hole early into their game with Raptors Uprising GC were apparent straight from the tipoff against Magic Gaming.
Despite a monumental effort by FEAST scoring eight points on 4-of-5 shooting with three rebounds, the team coughed up the ball three times in the first quarter, allowing Daniel “DT” Tlais to score 10 points by himself — and the first eight of the game for Magic Gaming — resulting in a 19-12 deficit after the first quarter.
The T-Wolves were able to hold Magic Gaming scoreless through the first three minutes of the second quarter, and “DT” without a point for the entire quarter, but even with that, sloppy play continued to plague the T-Wolves and they ended up with an additional three turnovers bringing their first-half total to six and falling behind 26-21 heading into the third quarter.
Both teams came out firing in the third quarter, with “Hood” and “DT” trading buckets early. “Feast” got in on the action as well, grabbing multiple boards in what would ultimately lead to a double-double for him, but after back-to-back turnovers by the T-Wolves which led to a wide-open three and a wide-open dunk, Magic Gaming pushed their lead all the way up to 14 points.
Despite the large deficit heading into the fourth, T-Wolves gaming did not give up. In a sequence that included a pair of free throws by Michael “BearDaBeast” Key, a deep 3-pointer by Christopher “TURNUPDEFENSE” Anderson, and an impressive block by “Hood,” and a few forced turnovers, they brought the Magic’s lead down to just four with less than three minutes left in the game.
But, once again, sloppy play with the ball led to a few more turnovers by the T-Wolves, who finished this game with another 10 turnovers, allowed Magic Gaming, with the help of “DT” & Cameron “KingCamRoyalty” Ford, put to T-Wolves away for good on route to a 58-47 win.
Once again, despite some extremely sloppy play, T-Wolves Gaming was able to keep it interesting late into the game, and there are some pretty solid takeaways that can be found in this game.
More solid performances by “FEAST” & “Hood” as well as six assists from “BearDaBeast,” are great places to build from heading into their games next week. Additionally, communication was once again a key factor in their second-half resurgence, and you can tell the team is becoming more familiar and comfortable with each other. Building chemistry is a huge component of being successful in this league, and T-Wolves Gaming are showing signs of improvement each and every game.
T-Wolves Gaming will be back in action next week with another Wednesday night doubleheader on May 1. First up is a 6:00 p.m. matchup against Celtics Crossover Gaming, and then at 8:00 p.m. they will take on Mavs Gaming. Both games will be streamed live on Twitch & YouTube!