It took a strong fourth quarter, but Mavs Gaming prevailed in their first-round TICKET matchup against Pacers Gaming, claiming a 67-61 win on Friday.
This game might be defined by both team’s interesting lineup decisions. Despite earning the designation as the league’s No. 1 overall pick in the inaugural draft as a point guard, recent archetype changes have seen a team’s primary ball carrier shift over to small forward, with Dimez being no exception to the rule. That gave way to perhaps an even more curious decision, with nominal star big man Dayfri opting to take over the point guard position. Despite the lineup changes, the two-headed Mavs Gaming attack kept to its status quo, as Dimez and Dayfri combined to tally 49 points. Dimez in particular excelled in his slashing forward archetype, finishing the game with 34 points on 15-of-25 from the field. Even when Pacers Gaming sagged off the No. 1 overall pick, Dimez would find just enough breathing room to drive into the paint, often times dribbling back outside for a mid-range jumper.
It was obvious both Dayfri and Dimez were uncomfortable with their roles despite the high amount of production, as the offense faltered on a number of occasions throughout the opening three quarters. Pacers Gaming was all too happy to take advantage of the experimentation as WoLF 74 and company actually boasted a five-point lead heading into the final frame. It was obvious Pacers Gaming wanted to match their opposition strength for strength, with WoLF taking over at point guard in an effort to stop what was widely assumed to be a Dimez point guard play, but the move backfired. Generally one of the better scorers on Pacers Gaming, WoLF’s archetype change never gave him the opportunity to create his own shot, resulting in the team’s scoring leader finishing with just seven points on 3-of-7 shooting while the rest of his teammates all scored in double figures. Two critical turnovers in the fourth quarter which jumpstarted an 11-2 run by Mavs Gaming will highlight what figures to be a low-point game for WoLF this season.
The win nets Mavs Gaming a pivotal quarterfinal matchup against Cavs Legion GC on Saturday, with the winner poised to make a run at THE TICKET’s main prize – a chance to lock themselves in the playoffs.