By Craig Ellenport
When the BIG3 takes over Staples Center in Los Angeles next Sunday for its regular-season finale, there will still be a pair of playoff spots on the line – with as many as four teams fighting for those two spots.
Two teams are sitting pretty at the top of the BIG3 standings after Week 7 victories in Lexington, Ky. In theory, Trilogy and the 3-Headed Monsters have nothing to play for in L.A. – but don’t tell that to the members of Trilogy, who are 7-0 and looking to remain perfect.
By virtue of their Week 2 win over the 3-Headed Monsters, Trilogy has locked up the No. 1 seed for the playoffs, which begin Aug. 20 in Seattle. At 7-1, the 3-Headed Monsters have locked up the No. 2 seed.
Here’s a look at the playoff scenarios heading into the final week of the season:
- TRILOGY (7-0) has clinched the #1 seed
- 3-HEADED MONSTERS (6-1) have clinched the #2 seed
- POWER (4-3):
- Can clinch the #3 seed with a win over Tri-State OR a loss by 3's Company.
- GHOST BALLERS (3-4) can clinch the #4 seed with a win over 3-Headed Monsters OR loss by 3's Company AND a loss by Killer 3s
- 3's COMPANY (3-4):
- Can clinch the #3 seed with a win over Ball Hogs AND a loss by Ghost Ballers AND a loss by Power;
- Can clinch #4 seed with a win over Ball Hogs AND loss by Ghost Ballers
- TRI-STATE (2-5) can clinch the #4 seed with a win over Power AND a loss by 3’s Company AND a loss by Ghost Ballers
** IF Power loses AND 3’s Company wins AND Ghost Ballers WIN, it would create a 3-way tie for #3 seed. I do not know what the tie-breakers would be for multiple teams being tied.
** IF Ghost Ballers AND 3's Company both lose... AND Killer 3s AND/OR Tri-State win, there could be a 3- or 4-way tie for the #4 seed between all of those teams. I do not know what the tie-breakers would be for multiple teams being tied.
Here’s a recap of the Week 7 games:
3-HEADED MONSTERS 50, BALL HOGS 34
On the heels of a double-double from team captain Rashard Lewis, the 3-Headed Monsters won their fifth straight game. Lewis finished with a game-high 17 points and 11 rebounds. The Ball Hogs kept it tight midway through the first half and briefly led, but the 3-Headed Monsters pulled away to take a 13-point lead into halftime and they never looked back. Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf had his fifth-straight double-digit scoring game, with 14 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists.
Derrick Byars (11) and Xavier Silas (9) combined for 20 of the Ball Hogs’ 34 points. The 3-Headed Monsters are 6-1; the Ball Hogs are 1-6.
3’s COMPANY 51, KILLER 3s 48
In a must-win game for both teams, 3’s Company overcame a 5-point halftime deficit to earn their second straight win. Killer 3s co-captain Stephen Jackson opened the game with a 3-pointer and when Mo Evans completed a 3-point play they took a 26-21 lead into halftime. 3’s Company continued to trail well into the second half, until a jumper from Andre Owens gave them a 40-39 lead. Chauncey Billups hit a big 3-pointer to bring the Killer 3s within one at 45-44, then a Billups free throw gave his squad a 46-45 lead. But 3’s Company quickly regained the lead, finally putting it away with a 2-point free throw from Al Thornton, whose 15 points included the game’s lone 4-point shot.
While Jackson led all scorers with 25 points, Owens had another big game for 3’s Company with 20 points, including a pair of threes. DerMarr Johnson, who served as player/coach in Allen Iverson’s absence, poured in 10 points and grabbed 7 boards. Michael Sweetney had 6 points and 8 boards. 3’s Company improved to 3-4; the Killer 3s are 2-5.
TRILOGY 50, POWER 45
Trilogy kept its perfect season intact, but it wasn’t easy. With Trilogy leading 14-13, Power went on a 12-0 run to end the first half with a 25-14 lead. Trilogy stormed back in the second half behind its trio of high-scorers: Rashad McCants (20 points), Al Harrington (14) and James White (12) all scored in double figures and Trilogy started the second half on a 22-2 run. Trilogy led by as much as 15, but then Power went on another 12-0 run to close within three, 48-45. DeShawn Stevenson (19) and Cuttino Mobley (17) powered the Power comeback. But McCants would not be denied – grabbing back-to-back offensive rebounds and finally putting in the game-winning layup to give Trilogy its 7-0 record. Power fell to 4-3.
TRI-STATE 51, GHOST BALLERS 43
In the day’s finale, Tri-State pulled off the upset to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. The Ghost Ballers actually led for most of the first half, but Bonzi Wells – who finished with a game-high 18 points – helped Tri-State reach halftime with a 25-20 lead. Tri-State led by as many as nine in the second half before the Ghost Ballers fought back and tied the game at 34. Tri-State then went on a 13-4 run to put it out of reach. They got the game-winner on a jumper from Lee Nailon, who finished with 12. Dominic McGuire had his best game of the season, with 13 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocks. Ricky Davis led the Ghost Ballers with 15. Tri-State improved to 2-5; The Ghost Ballers are 4-3.
The final day of the regular season tips off at the Staples Center at 2 p.m. PT.