We’ve reached the end of the inaugural BIG3 regular season, and it’s certainly lived up to expectations through several weeks of gameplay. Teams such as Trilogy have known they’d be competing past Week 8 at the Staples Center, while others came into Los Angeles needing a few breaks to advance. BIG3 founder Ice Cube pulled out all the stops to entertain the crowd in his hometown, enlisting LaVar Ball to battle him in a 4-point shootout during one halftime and getting Snoop Dogg to perform during another. Check out TUC’s recap of the day’s action below!
Game 1: Tri-State (3-5) v. Power (4-4)
Tri-State came into the game with slim playoff hopes, needing a win against Power as well as losses from 3’s Company and Ghost Ballers to advance. Feeling the urgency, the team jumped out to an early lead in this one, but a furious run by Power evened the gap and eventually put them up 18-10. Tri-State’s Mike James kept his team in the game, sparking a late first half run and then draining a 3 to put them up 25-20 at halftime. Tri-State didn’t look back in the second half, maintaining their lead with hard-nosed basketball on the way to a final score of 51-42.
DeShawn Stevenson put up big numbers for Power, but his 22 points (the most by any player for the day) couldn’t get them the result they wanted. At 4-4, however, his team still moves on to the playoff round as the 3-seed. Mike James led Tri-State with 17 points (including 3-7 from behind the arc), and his team would be anxiously awaiting later results to find out their playoff future.
Game 2: Killer 3’s (2-6) vs. Trilogy (8-0)
Team records would have suggested otherwise, but this matchup proved to be the most entertaining on the day. The game went as expected in the first half, with Trilogy jumping out to a 7-0 lead and taking it to halftime at 26-8. Their high-energy, borderline arrogant style of play didn’t sit well with the Killer 3’s, however, who played them tough the whole way. Brian Cook singlehandedly pulled the Killer 3’s back into the game early in the second half, draining four in a row (including 3 from behind the arc) to bring the score to 26-23. Once he was subbed out, however, his team couldn’t keep up the momentum and quickly found themselves back in a deep hole.
Player-Coach Charles Oakley made his on-court debut in the matchup, but did the Killer 3’s more harm than good with his performance. The legendary NBA rebounder smiled when his career foul stat flashed across the JumboTron, but his four fouls in eight minutes of play were no laughing matter. Tensions nearly boiled over when he smacked Trilogy’s Al Harrington in the face on an inbound play, but a Dion Glover 3 ended the game at 50-41 before things escalated out of control.
“You guys are so used to the softness of the [NBA] that you never really see guys argue on the court without the referees jumping in and calling technicals and flagrants,” Rashad McCants said after the game. “It was more satisfying for us to be able to get that out. That’s our true passion as competitors, it’s just a part of what we do.”
Trilogy completes their undefeated season with the win, and heads into the playoffs as the unquestioned number 1 seed.
Game 3: Ball Hogs (2-6) v. 3’s Company (3-5)
3’s Company needed a win and a Ghost Ballers loss to get to the playoffs, and came out competing hard for the spot. It was a tight game throughout, with the evenly matched teams creating seven lead changes on the day. Al Thornton of 3’s Company hit the first 4-point shot of the day, and finished with 11 points on 4-7 shooting. For the Ball Hogs, Xavier Silas led the way with his 20 points, sinking a 4-point shot of his own to put his team up 48-47 late. As the Staples Center buzzed with excitement, a frantic exchange of passes followed by a Josh Childress lay up earned the Ball Hogs a 50-47 win, eliminating 3’s Company in the process.
Game 4: 3 Headed Monsters (6-2) v. Ghost Ballers (4-4)
The Ghost Ballers needed a win to advance after Tri-State’s win earlier in the day, and knew what they had to do. Unfazed by the 3 Headed Monsters impressive record, the team came out firing and held onto a slim lead throughout the first half. Exiting halftime with a 25-20 lead, the Ghost Ballers pulled away in the second half following a Mike Bibby 4-point shot early on. The former Sacramento King finished with 13 points, and hit the game winning shot from just inside the 3 point line for a final score of 50-33.
It was a true team effort for the Ghost Ballers, with four players finishing in double figures. Ricky Davis tied Bibby for the team high of 13, while Ivan Johnson and Marcus Banks contributed 12 and 10 points, respectively. The win put them in the playoffs as the 4-seed, giving them the chance to face the undefeated Trilogy in the first round up in Seattle. 3 Headed Monsters had clinched the 2-seed before the game was underway, and will go up against Power in the first round despite the loss.
Watch the BIG3 Playoffs beginning next Monday on Fox Sports 1 at 8pm ET/5pm PT.