Monday, June 24, 2019 1:03 PM | CBN
By: Liam Blutman
Summer is here and with it the BIG3 has returned! After a long wait we finally got to see visionary, Ice Cube’s innovative 3 on 3 league back in action. Week 1, Day 1 of Season 3 went down in Detroit at Little Caesars Arena where we saw a rematch of the two BIG3 championships. We were treated to the 2017 final Trilogy and 3 Headed Monsters, as well as the 2018 final featuring the Power and 3’s Company. After those two contests we saw two new squads as the Bivouac faced off against the Enemies.
First things first, and before we break down the games we have to give recognition to the Young3 for doing another awesome thing. At a commercial break of the Bivouac/Enemies game, several kids were blessed enough to go on the court, show off their dribble moves and put up some shots. The impact on those kids was huge as it was in front of thousands of people. Truly an experience that these young children will never forget. Who knows that one moment could be the very thing that pushes one of the kids to pursuing a career in basketball. That’s what the Young3 is all about. Looking to influence the lives of young boys and girls in a positive way which is one of the most amazing things you can do.
As for the games, we’ll talk in detail about Trilogy and 3 Headed Monsters. 3HM won the contest by a score of 51-46 with their 26-19 halftime lead and a monster performance from Reggie Evans propelling them to victory. Trilogy caught fire late and David Hawkins heaved up a four-pointer down 3… The shot looked money, but unfortunately For Hawkins and his teammates, it bounced around the rim and fell out. Reggie Evans ended up sealing the game with a layup. Now let’s talk about Reggie… This man, no this monster put up 22 points and 23 rebounds. Reggie was instrumental in the 3 Headed Monsters success because you see, as Gary Payton put it, “We played terrible tonight!” Well yes... they really did. You look at the final score and see a five point win but what if I told you that Gary’s team out-rebounded Trilogy 37-17... You dominated the glass in a 3 on 3 game only to win by 5? No man, that is not acceptable. This 3HM team exudes talent but what they‘ll need in the long run is for Larry Sanders and or Tre Simmons to step up and contribute. I’ll give Larry a pass for tonight and throw him a big congrats on getting engaged as the big man proposed to his girlfriend at halftime! Payton also stated that while he’s disappointed and disgusted in tonight’s performance, he is very, very excited about his team for the upcoming season. They had one player show up and make an impact tonight as Reggie put the team on his back and single handedly carried them to victory. Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf and Rashard Lewis had rare off games. Yes, Rashard had an off game, he knows it, Gary knows it, I know it. I don’t care that the box score said he had 18 and 11, the season one BIG3 MVP played decent enough tonight in his first game back from a season ending injury last year, but was somewhat rusty as expected. My favorite play from Lewis tonight was a nice little step back two which saw him create space with that slight push off and drain the shot. I’m telling y’all, 3HM might just make another championship game appearance as this team has plenty of talent suited to the BIG3 game. My quick thoughts on Trilogy were as follows… They attacked the right side of the floor a lot tonight and that is something to monitor in the next few weeks. I’m thinking there was a matchup they liked and tried exploiting, I truly hope that this team isn’t dominant to the right side and simply can’t make anything happen from the left. We shall see. Also, Jason Terry didn’t play much tonight, didn’t score many points, but I was impressed with one thing in particular. Jason played relentless defense on Mahmoud in the opening minutes of the game. He forced three or four turnovers early and I was impressed.
The next game was between Power and 3’s Company which was a rematch of the season two finale. Power was dominant, nothing new as they won 50-38 without Corey Maggette. Yes, this team is crazy, one of the most fun teams to watch in basketball, period. Cuttino Mobley was brilliant tonight, Cat had 28 points to go with 6 rebounds and 4 assists, lest we forget the five 3 balls. Last year he sunk the game winning shot in the championship and he kept that hot streak going tonight. My analysis on Power won’t be about anything you see on the floor as I want to speak upon the team that I’ve seen in the locker room after games, at the hotel, in the community, and tonight at the press conference. I don’t know if I’ve seen a team that has such amazing chemistry as Power. NBA teams would seriously envy the cohesion of this BIG3 squad. Why even call them a team though? They are a FAMILY and all credit goes to Nancy Lieberman. From day one she has orchestrated the perfect game plan, keeping in touch with her players, sending out plays to every player, scouting the opposition with film. No other team in the BIG3 does this. Cuttino and Quentin both spoke to that very fact and put it out there that nobody is going to dethrone this team as long as Nancy’s coach. BIG3 fans, y’all better appreciate the greatness that Nancy Lieberman is, because she will not be coaching in this league much longer. Nancy should very well be on her way to coaching in the NBA and I’m not talking about being an assistant coach. She deserves to be at the helm and be the first female head coach in the NBA. I have not one negative thing to say about her nor do her players or anybody in this league. Nancy is a perfect players coach and any NBA team would be fortunate to have her. Here’s what Nancy said her team will be doing this week in prep for next weeks showdown with Tri-State, “Staying focused, working as a team and building on the good we did against 3's Company.”
To close the night, we saw two expansion teams take the floor as Enemies matched up with Bivouac for the Detroit finale. There were fireworks right away as Royce White and Josh Smith were both ejected after a slight fight a minute and thirty seven seconds into the contest. Ugh. It’s really unfortunate for the fans to see two great players and new faces to the league ejected after a minute or so but it was the correct decision to kick them out the game. We can’t be having that happen out here. The two players may not like each other but they are brothers who share the same goal of trying to help this league take off. Need to put your differences aside and talk about it like men sometime after the game. I, like so many others, was super excited to watch Royce play basketball again. He’s a great guy, very misunderstood and was anxious to get back to playing the game he loved and it was sad to see Josh Smith instigate the fight and take Royce out of the game. Royce will be back and dominate next week in Philadelphia. I say he drops 20+ on Ghost Ballers. As for the game, Bivouac won 50-43 as Will Bynum dropped a cool 22 points in his Detroit homecoming. Straight up, Bynum had the much bigger and much more physical Perry Jones on him but Bynum made him look silly all night long as Will created with a multitude of crossovers and dribble moves to keep Perry on skates. For the Enemies, it was Craig Smith who led the way with 26 points and 11 boards with Frank Robinson adding a neat 10 rebounds. Enemies were missing Gilbert Arenas tonight as well as suffering the loss of Royce. They’ll be a very good team if Smith and Robinson continue to contribute when Royce, Arenas, and Perry Jones all get comfortable in the 3 on 3 game. I’d like to finish by stating that I thought Reggie Theus and his players were very comfortable with each other. Reggie seems like a very good players coach and I love that about this league. So many of these coaches can relate to their players and have great relationships with them.
Day two took place in Indianapolis, Indiana. The games were played at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Unfortunately we weren’t able to attend these games as we flew back to our home bases. I landed to see Joe Johnson scored 27 and accumulated 16 boards. There’s not a better way to start your BIG3 career. The Triplets beat the Aliens 50-40. Game two looked insane with the Killer 3’s winning 54-52 after trailing much of the game. Franklin Session, Drew Leagues Finest, put up 12 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 dimes in his BIG3 debut! In the final game of the day, Jamario Moon led the way with 20 points and 7 rebounds as Ghost Ballers won 50-39. Jamario is proving all the doubters wrong after going undrafted in this league the first two years. Jam was excellent in his short stint with 3 Headed Monsters last year and I expect another strong campaign.
Next week the BIG3 makes its way to Charlotte, North Carolina and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Hope to see you there!