By Ian Jackson (@IanNicholas42)
In the wake of a Ballout comes the fallout for the BIG3 with the league’s playoff weekend ready to set up a concluding championship match.
But before the seriousness of deciding a league champion, the league should still do the kind of partying that’s fast becoming associated with BIG3 weekends. There’s few better places to get in a last hurrah than New Orleans, where a final four of 3×3 excellence takes place on Sunday at the Smoothie King Center, a.k.a., Zion Williamson’s new home.
At the end of last Saturday’s wild six-game slate that essentially finished the BIG3 regular season in Dallas, six teams finished their records at 4-4, exhibiting a deep parity in the middle of the league. Separated by a tie-breaker of point differential, the standings left three teams out the mix for this week entirely (Ghost Ballers, Tri-State, Trilogy) while two other teams will play in a meaningless preliminary game (Bivouac vs. 3’s Company).
Of the six .500 teams, only the 3-Headed Monsters technically made the playoffs, as the final team to make it they get the gift of playing the league-leading Triplets (7-1) and trying to keep prohibitive BIG3 MVP Joe Johnson out of the Sept. 1 title game.
Historic milestones were made in Dallas as 3-Headed Monster Reggie Evans claimed his third consecutive rebound title and set a new single season record (88), boosting his previous record from last year by 1. Johnson’s amazing season has seen him set a new league record for points scored in a single season (175) while also tying the single season record for assists with 30.
The defending champions Power got awarded with their championship rings for their successful season last year, but the victorious moment wasn’t enough to inspire a win over Evans’ squad, who were powered by his 12 points and 7 rebounds along with Mario Chalmers’ team-high 19.
Watch out for the 3-Heads in this post-season, especially if they manage to knock-off Johnson and the Triplets this week.
The Monsters are the most successful BIG3 team yet to win a title, having made the league’s championship game in 2017 and the league semifinals last year. Rashard Lewis was the first-ever MVP of the BIG3 and he still provides great floor-stretching ability along with Chalmers and Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf while Evans and Larry Sanders do a lot to contain things in the post area.
Plus, we can’t ever forget their coach, Gary Payton, the reigning (and likely indefinite) Trash Talker of the Year in the BIG3.
Player of the Week: Xavier Silas
Player of the week goes to Xavier Silas, who along with his great stat-line (22 points, 7 rebounds) also made two 4-point shots — including the first ever 4-point foul shot in BIG3 history — to lead the Ball Hogs to their much-needed first victory of this season in their last opportunity to do so.
Play of the Week: J-Rich Still Has The Bounce!
Jason Richardson takes the top play honors, the former NBA Slam Dunk Contest winner showing everyone he still has the hops in action against the Aliens.
Follow WARR Media (We Are Regal Radio) on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram