By Ian Jackson (@IanNicholas42)
After a great turnout in its Week 1 from Detroit and Indianapolis, this week in the Big3 first rolled into Charlotte, North Carolina to build on the excitement.
Saturday marked the first time back that the BIG3 went through the Queen City since Week 2 of the league’s inaugural year in 2017. There were local favorites and former Charlotte Bobcats players showcased in Stephen Jackson, Al Jefferson and Jannero Pargo, plus the highly anticipated new expansion team Triplets (1-0) and the reigning BIG3 player of the week Joe Johnson as well as the Big3 debut of “Agent 0,” Gilbert Arenas.
The first game of the day involved Johnson’s Triplets taking on Kenyon Martin and James White’s Trilogy squad. The goal for the Triplets was to have great ball movement and to look for their best shot, and that’s exactly what they did. It resulted in another winning performance Saturday afternoon.
Johnson lead the way, despite having to work through frequent double teams, to put up another solid performance of 20 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists. Former Charlotte Bobcat and Hornet Al Jefferson helped build upon the Triplets’ inside-out game with 14 points of his own.
Trilogy managed to put on a great effort in the game by shooting 54.8 percent from the field, much of that good shooting coming from key contributors White, who scored 18 points and six rebounds, and Deshawn Stevenson, who put up 14 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals.
The middle game of Saturday’s slate saw the Enemies edge out the Ball Hogs in the day’s closest game. All eyes were rightfully set on the debuting Arenas as this game was a tale of two halves. In the first half, the Ball Hogs were dominating with the play of their big man Will McDonald (27 points, 11 rebounds) held a 26-13 lead.
Heading into the second half the Ball Hogs lost control of things as Craig Smith, who scored 21 points and grabbed four rebounds, and the Enemies put together a 20-2 run to seal the deal for the 50-45 win. Arenas scored 13 points and three rebounds while scoring the game-clinching points for his team. Enemies had huge contributions in the comeback win from Frank Robinson (8 points, 11 rebounds) and Royce White (10 points, 8 rebounds and 2 assists) to seal the deal.
The final game Saturday was the Killer 3’s, who welcomed Captain Stephen Jackson for the first time in 2019 against 3’s Company, led by head coach Micheal Cooper and their captain Drew Gooden.
The bee-striped Killers nailed threes from left and right, living up to their namesake by draining six from long range. They improved to 2-0 behind 22 points from the returning captain and former Charlotte Bobcat, Stephen Jackson, who was 3-of-6 from behind the arc, including a 4-point play. The play-making of CJ Watson should be highlighted as well.
With a dominating close out of the first half to build a 27-19 lead, Killer 3’s head coach Charles Oakley was able to work with his bench and those reserves had little trouble sealing the game for them. Gooden and Andre Emmett each scored 10 points in the their contribution for 3’s Company.
Sunday’s games took the action to the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The day’s first game saw two successful teams from Week 1 match up in the Ghost Ballers against the Bivouac. This game saw a lot of back and forth as the Ghost Ballers had just a little bit more in the tank and utilized their speed and their hustle against Bivouac, powering themselves to a 51-46 win over the expansion team.
Ricky Davis came out hot in the first half, scoring 11 points and ending the game with 20 points. Jamario Moon had a break-out game of his own with a BIG3 career high 21 points and nine rebounds. Josh Smith, who got ejected in the first few minutes of his first game in the BIG3 last week, contributed with 10 points and seven points and Will Bynum scored 17 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists and put on one crazy ankle breaker on Bivouac’s Mike Taylor, but it just wasn’t enough to get the job done.
The second game saw the 3-Headed Monsters led by coach Gary Payton and captain Rashard Lewis take on Aliens led by head coach Nate Archibald and captain Andre Owens. In the first half, the Aliens’ big men Greg Oden and Ryan Hollins were being more physical in the paint then the 3-Heads’ Reggie Evans and Larry Sanders, showing their dominance in a 25-17 lead.
Heading into the second half, coach Gary Payton lit a fire under the team and the team started roaring back into the game with Rashard Lewis’ 18 points (16 in the second half) and eight rebounds. The sharpshooting Lewis also delivered on the game-clincher to complete the comeback as the 3-Headed Monsters won 50-44.
The Aliens were frustrated that they couldn’t close the game out the way they wanted to. Brandon Rush (15 points, 6 rebounds) and Hollins (8 points, 3 rebounds) contributed for the Aliens.
And the final game of the night and the weekend saw defending champions Power, captained by Philadelphia native Cuttino Mobley, taking on Tri-State with absolute Philly legend Julius Erving as coach. In the first half, it was a battle between captains as Amar’e Stoudemire and Mobley were battling it out against each other point for point. In the end Power topped Tri-State 51-43 as Mobley gave everything to get the reigning champs off to a 2-0 start.
Mobley finished the game with 23 points and seven rebounds, he got needed help from Glen Davis in the second half, “Big Baby” finishing the game with 10 points and five rebounds. Stoudemire finished with 18 points and six rebounds along with Nate Robinson’s 12 points.
Another great weekend of 3-on-3 action is now in the books, full of physical contact, anticipated returns and debuts and lethal shooting from each team. Looking forward to what next week has in store for the BIG3 as they invade the South in Birmingham (Saturday) and Atlanta (Sunday).
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