Tuesday, August 6, 2019 2:30 AM | CBN
By: Liam Blutman
It’s already week 7 of the BIG3’s third season and boy oh boy the playoff race is really heating up as you have eight or nine teams that are contending for the four spots. We already know that Power and Triplets will be playoff teams, that’s a given. But who will occupy spots three and four? This week we saw three games at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois which neighbors Chicago. Then we saw three games in Milwaukee at the Fiserv Forum.
The week began with a date between Tri-State and Ghost Ballers. The disappointment from Tri-State continued in the 50-38 loss. Amar’e Stoudemire scored 10 and snagged 4 boards, one of his more underwhelming games. And hey, I get it, NBA teams were flirting with signing him all summer but that opportunity never came and now he’s having to carry a Tri-State team that sits right above dead last in the league. For Ghost Ballers it was a rare game where they received solid scoring efforts from more than just three players. The newest member of George Gervin’s team, Chris Johnson, scored 12 and hit two 3’s in the win. Mike Taylor scored a cool 14, Ricky Davis got his 13, and Mike Bibby contributed with 4 points, 5 assists, and 3 boards. Those four points did come from a 4-point heave! This win puts Ghost Ballers at 3-3 with next weeks game against Trilogy being HUGE for the team in purple as a win would slide Trilogy out of the top four and possibly propel Ghost Ballers into the top four. As for Tri-State, they sit at 2-4 with no hope of making the playoffs and they play rival Power next week. A win against Power could ease the disappointment off some of the previous losses this season, but nonetheless it was a campaign that fell short of expectations for Tri-State.
Next game up, Power and Enemies. The consistently great Power and the red hot Enemies, a battle that many anticipated, a battle that finally went down. Power walked away with a 50-41 win against Enemies as Corey Maggette poured in 16 and added 6 boards. Quentin Richardson had a really good game too, Q hit two 3’s en route to scoring 12 and snagging 4 boards. Carlos Boozer made his Power debut and he scored 6 and rebounded 6. Then you had a heck of a game from Julian Wright, 8 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals! When you receive multiple great performances like that it’s hard to lose and that’s why Power will always be the #1 threat in the BIG3. Sorry Triplets. But Power just beat Enemies without Cuttino Mobley, that’s impressive. This was a disappointing loss for Enemies because they came so close and just couldn’t overcome their misfortune. Gilbert Arenas was unable to play and Craig Smith had his worst game of year. Two critical factors that were felt in the loss. Craig managed just 4 points in 13 minutes but I fully expect him to terrorize the opposition in his next game out. The bright spot was Perry Jones as he scored 20 and corralled 9 boards. It was super fun to see Perry thrive as he was the BIG3 rookie I was looking forward to watching most this season. Despite the tough loss for Enemies, they can still make the playoffs and should if Perry can continue playing well in addition to Craig Smith raining buckets. The 3-3 Enemies will face 3 Headed Monsters next week while 5-1 Power will see rival Tri-State next time out.
The final game in Rosemont was spectacular. Not because of the 51-42 final score in favor of Bivouac over Killer 3’s but because of Will Bynum and just Will Bynum. Ok ok, not to slight Stephen Jackson, he was great with 22 and 11 for Killer 3’s but Will Bynum was ELITE. In fact the Chicago born Bynum set a BIG3 record for points in a game. Bynum scored 33 in the win, that’s 64% of his teams points today. Golly was he good. His handles were mesmerizing, I find myself slowing down the highlight videos just to try and see how he pulled off the moves that he did. Like, the move he showcased on his game-winner was incredible, I wish I had the ability to dance with the basketball the way Bynum does. It’s really cool to see a guy like Will Bynum come into the BIG3 with not many expectations but absolutely thrive and become a star. I believe Bynum is a star in the BIG3 as he’s always churning out highlight reel plays, most via a filthy crossover, he’s grabbing the attention of plenty of fans that see these moves and think, oh hey the BIG3 isn’t just a pickup game, they got guys putting on a show. Will Bynum added 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and hit just two 3’s in his 33-point outburst. Take a bow in front of your hometown crowd Will, you just had the best BIG3 performance of all time. Congrats. Lost in the sauce of Will Bynum’s record day... Bivouac has won two straight and sits at third in the standings. Finally! I don’t look so bad for pegging Bivouac as a playoff team after week one now eh? 4-3 Bivouac is set to play Ball Hogs after a bye week. You have to win that game and secure a 5-3 record and some things need to fall your way but all you can do is play your hardest and beat the worst team in the league. Do that and you should be in the playoffs. Killer 3’s drops to the 4th spot with a 4-3 record, they’ll play Enemies to end their season after next weeks bye week.
For games four, five and six, we were directed to Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee for some more BIG3 basketball. The first game of the day featured 3’s Company and Aliens. This is a red hot 3’s Company team that finds themselves a game out of a playoff spot with a 3-3 record as they ride a 3-game winning streak. So, maybe trailing 26-21 at half to Aliens isn’t very ideal... It was evident early and it’s evident often, 3’s Company can not defend Greg Oden. Oden finished the game with 18 points, 9 rebounds, and two swats. I say it every single time he thrives... I’m so happy to see him play at a high level after his NBA career didn’t go his way. Despite injury, he has fought all the way back to become a top name in the BIG3. How about Brandon Rush today? He was a HUGE part in the Aliens 50-35 shellacking of 3’s Company. Rush drained not one, not two, three? Nah, and not four, but five 3’s in the win. Rush totaled for 17 points, 7 boards, and 3 assists. Have a game B-Rush! For 3’s Company it was all Andre Emmett. Andre scored 19 in the loss, nobody else scored in double digits for his team. The 3’s Company 3-point woes were back too with just two makes from deep, a huge reason why they fell 50-35. Credit to 3’s Company for coming all the way back from 0-3 but 3-4 with just one game left... We can all but eliminate 3C from the playoffs. Both teams sit at 3-4 and have a bye week next week, Aliens will end their season with Tri-State, while 3’s Company has a chance to ruin Trilogy’s season.
Game five saw 3 Headed Monsters do battle with Triplets. ahhh, the ever so disappointing 3 Headed Monsters. Gary Payton had high expectations for this team as did I. I saw a playoff team and potential championship team. Instead this talented but underperforming team sits at 2-3 with three games left against arguably the best three teams in the league. Triplets, Enemies, and a finale with Power. Win out and you’re likely in the playoffs. Drop one and your seasons over. If there’s one team who can rattle off three straight against the three best teams in the league, it’s 3 Headed Monsters. So, who led at the half in this one? 3HM 25-15 thanks to Mario Chalmers scoring a cool 12. I was very surprised to see Reggie Evans quiet, just 2 points and 0 boards for the rebounding king. They’ll need Reggie in the 2nd half and in their final two games. So, 3 Headed Monsters were sitting pretty, up 37-23, needing just 13 points to end the game whilst Triplets needed 23. That’s a huge advantage in your favor. You can’t blow that right? Enter... Joe Johnson. The MVP. It’s all but confirmed that Joe Johnson will be your BIG3 Season Three, MVP. Joe scored 26, corralled 5 boards, and dished 3 assists. Oh yeah... How about that game-winning four-point bomb to cap off the unreal comeback!? He posted up Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf at the 3-point line and stepped back to the 4, let it fly, and called ball game. Lisa Leslie was skipping around with pure elation as the entire Triplets team mobbed Joe. A moment of sheer joy for Triplets and an abysmal meltdown that ends 3 Headed Monsters season. Triplets are now 6-1, sitting atop the standings and they’ll face Ghost Ballers after a bye week. For 3 Headed Monsters, they are now 2-4, play Enemies next week and their chance at making the playoffs is over.
The final game of the weekend saw Brian Scalabrine return to Chicago with the Ball Hogs who were playing the red hot Trilogy. You’d think I was lying if I told you the halftime score was 25-13 in favor of Ball Hogs. Scalabrine hit a three, DeShawn Stevenson scored 10, Xavier Silas with 8, and the best player they’ve had all year, Will McDonald had just 1 rebound and 0 points. A dream half for Ball Hogs, shocking the world. But we’ve seen this before... Week 2, a 26-13 lead at half over Enemies ends in a 50-45 loss. It could’ve been the first time they’ve had a 50% Win/Loss rate ever. But no. Will they hold on this week? Short answer? No. Trilogy owned the 2nd half as they scored 38 and won 51-43. More heartbreak for the Ball Hogs as they continue to be a horrific 2nd half team. David Hawkins led the way for Trilogy with 19 and he cashed out three times from three as well. Hawk added 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 4 steals! Samardo Samuels, Trilogy’s newest player, scored 17 and rebounded 7 in his debut. I’m eager to see how Samuels plays in the next two Trilogy games as he could be their secret weapon come playoff time. Trilogy moves to 4-2 with their 4th straight win and will battle Ghost Ballers next week. Ball Hogs slide to 0-7 and close the year with Bivouac. Will Ball Hogs be a new look team next year? Will Rick Barry still be their coach? Can’t wait to find out!
That’ll do it from Chicago and Milwaukee. The BIG3 heads on to Miami, Florida for three games next week. Best of luck to all teams vying for a playoff spot!