Every week of the BIG3 league has been sold out and week five was no different when Chicago, IL hosted at the UIC Pavilion. Fans filled outside of the stadium hours before the game to watch players warm up and get pictures. The day was filled with impressive scoring performances and guest appearances off the court. Most notably from Chicago native Chance The Rapper. Actress Taraji P. Henson was also in attendance and Rapper DMX, who even surprised the audience with a performance during half time of the third game.
Game 1: Power def. Ball Hogs 51-34
Power controlled this game from essentially the first possession all the way until there 51st point. Cuttino Mobley led Power with a strong scoring output with 21 points and Deshaun Stevenson poured in 11 points including three shots from long range. One of the most important things in this league is having a specific skill and being able to rely upon that on a consistent basis. “ I utilize my first step a lot,” said Power player Kendal Gill. “Because if you beat your man you can get to the basket easily for a bucket.” Power took a five to zero lead to start the game and would not relinquish it until they notched their fifth week win.
Game 2: Trilogy def. Tri State
Rashad McCants led Trilogy to a win with a stellar performance scoring 27 points including three, three –point shots. McCants scoring outburst started early. He scored Trilogy’s first nine points as they lead the game nine to zero. The second half gave the crowd much of the same except for a ten to two run that was led by Tri State’s leading scorer for the day, Mike James. He poured in 22 points including three three-point shots. Triolgy’s captin, Kenyon Martin also made his first appearance sine suffering a week one injury and contributed four points in the win.
Game 3: 3 Headed Monsters def. 3’s Company 51-32
Game three started as the most anticipated game of the day. The crowd was the loudest they had been all day when Basketball Hall of Famer Allen Iverson name was announced. Although he didn’t play he surely was able to keep the crowd’s attention as it was clear this was the most engaged the crowd had been all day. The game started of quite close but this didn’t last long at all. 3’s Company could have most certainly used Iverson’s talent today.
Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf and Rashard Lewis led their team to a convincing victory with 19 and 16 points respectively. Two players having double digits is something that is expected with a team like this with the way they share the ball. “ We run a lot of pick and roll to try and get easy baskets”, said Rashard Lewis. The offense was the most notable but the lead grew due to strong defense.“You’ve got to play defense in this thing”, said Coach and Basketball Hall of Famer Gary Payton. “ It’s more of a one on one thing. In the game you could see Mahmoud and Andre Owens, when Andre Owens was trying to post him up what did Mahmoud do, he held him up and played one on one basketball and made him take tough shots and then we are able to help and then when they kick it out we rotate.” This is a recipe that should continue to pay dividends for the 3-Headed Monsters going forward.
Game 4: Ghost def. Killer 3s 50-46
After Allen Iverson appearance’s the crowd did thin out a bit but to their own dismay. The last game turned out to be the most thrilling and competitive game with Ghost over coming a 10-point deficit at the half to win a close one. Mike Bibby hit the only four point shot of the day for Ghost late in the second half. “ I shot two early,” said Bibby. “Marcus told me I have to get one foot forward and put a little push into it and I tried to do that the next shot and it went in.”
The two teams produced a high quality game where you almost forgot you were watching a three on three-basketball game but that’s because they know how to play basketball says Ghost coach George Gervin. “ Three on three basketball is about making adjustments out there,” said coach Gervin. “You can’t run any plays you just have to make adjustments out there, you play off each other. If you got guys that know how to play basketball and know how to play off each other then you have a good three on three basketball team and that’s what I think I have right there.”