While the real-life Wizards are in full offseason mode preparing for the upcoming NBA draft, the virtual Wizards took home some silverware.
With half a million dollars on the line, Wizards District Gaming turned to their No. 1 selection when it mattered most. And Jack “JBM” Mascone delivered.
Mascone scored the team’s first 26 points and produced 46 overall to carry his side to a 70-55 Game 4 Finals-clinching victory to secure their first title in the league’s third season in existence.
Following the biggest upset of the season to reach the Finals – defeating the first-ever undefeated playoff team in the Raptors Uprising GC – Wizards District Gaming won their first NBA 2K title in the best-of-five Finals series against the Warriors Gaming Squad.
JBM and Ryan “Dayfri” Conger led the way for WDG, propelling the eSports franchise to join an ever-growing list of teams to grace the District of Champions.
This is how it all went down.
Wizards Down 0-1: Slow start, lack of offensive cohesion leads to Game 1 loss for the District
The District fell to a 14-2 deficit in Game 1 early in the first quarter and ultimately couldn’t get back into it as Warriors stayed in control en route to a 65-53 win. The Wizards got within nine points in the second when they made it 34-25, but failed to get it any closer. Not even the NBA 2K’s all-time winningest player got in enough of a rhythm to start a comeback.
Newdini’s glue-guy qualities didn’t result in the wins he’s become so accustomed to in this league, but he remained focused not to let that get to him the rest of the series. Washington Mystics forward and popular Twitch gamer Aerial Powers hoped for a comeback, but it never came to fruition.
In between Game 1 and 2, WDG got a spark in the form of Rookie of the Year JBM’s. As the No. 1 pick, he felt no pressure heading into the Finals and continued his scoring prowess in the opener. With 28 points, the rookie point guard carried the offense throughout as only one other player scored in the double digits.
Big fourth-quarter push helps WDG tie series at 1-1
After getting dominated by CB13’s 40-plus performance in the opener, the Wizards District Gaming held the dynamic guard to just 19 points this time around and capitalized more on the other end to pull out a 60-50 win. JBM put up another impressive display with 25, while center Dayfri notched an important 18-13 double to get the first win of the Finals.
It was a back-and-forth affair throughout, as it was just a one-point contest at the half. It wasn’t until late in the fourth quarter when WDG pulled away with lockdown defense and efficient transition offense. An authoritative Dayfri dunk in transition with just over two minutes left on the game clock sealed the win as they pulled 10 points in front.
Game 3 win gives WDG momentum heading back to virtual D.C. at 2-1
WDG outlasted a Warriors comeback away from home to win Game 3, 64-59. Some terrorizing and hectic defense from WDG knocked the Warriors Gaming Squad off their horses to start the game. They were flying around and constantly double-teaming CB13, who found little help from his gamer teammates.
The District’s grind-it-out offense in the first half was deliberate and slow, shooting deep in shot clock practically every time down. This methodical approach was coupled with some flashy 3-pointers, going 4-for-7 from deep in the first half.
The most impressive performance came from Dayfri, as usually their commanding first-half lead originates from guard play, but this time it was the imposing center who got his way down low on both good ball movement and offensive rebounds. He finished with 21 points and 11 boards.
The Warriors came back in the second half thanks to some hot microwave shooting from CB13 in the final moments to create some nervy tensions for WDG. The highlight of the game, though, came from…you guessed it: JBM throwing down a monstrous dunk to end the third quarter up double digits.
It was a decisive Game 4 that would crown the District Gaming atop the 2K.
Incredible performance from JBM carries Wiz to 2K Title
WDG’s buzzer-beating layup in the first quarter tied it at 12 and was foreshadowing of the good things to come. Despite a hot start in the next frame, JBM became heroic as he was everywhere on the floor – getting steals, getting to the bucket and assisting teammates to cut the halftime deficit to two. His 26 points – of the Wizards’ 28 – in the opening half was more than he had in the previous three games. Later, ReeseDaGod hit a 3-point buzzer to give the Wizards a six-point lead heading into the fourth.
The second half was no different. On both ends of the floor, Mascone was a menace that proved too difficult to cope with for the Warriors.
Welcome to the District of Champions, WDG.