2022 Championship Recap and Analysis
By John Krolik, @krolikjohn August 22, 2022
Well, that’s a wrap on the 2022 BIG3 season. Trilogy are your back-to-back Champions and have won three titles in the five years the league has existed. Folks, we’ve got a dynasty on our hands. Let’s take a look at what we saw on Sunday:
ALL-STAR GAME: TEAM DOC DEFEATS TEAM ICE, 50-44
I was a bit surprised by this game. If a Championship game is a heavyweight prizefight, an All-Star Game is usually more akin to a Will Ospreay vs. Ricochet match. (Without the predetermined outcome, of course.) Both teams are trying to win, but showing off everything they can do is often the priority.
This wasn’t the most physical game, and there wasn’t a ton of defense. Neither team took a free throw. In a typical game of FIREBALL3, it takes somewhere between 45-70 minutes for a team to get 50 points and the win. The All-Star Game lasted 32 minutes.
Still, both of these teams were looking to win. There wasn’t any flash for the sake of flashiness – it was just two groups of players going at each other and trading buckets.
The game was really controlled by Dusan Bulut and Deshawn Stephens. The two are teammates on the Aliens, and they showed off some serious skill and chemistry.
Stephens was dominant inside. He had a game-high 15 points, some spectacular dunks, a game-high eight rebounds, and stepped outside and drained a three to put the cherry on top. After the game, he took home the inaugural All-Star Game MVP Award.
Bulut finished with a game-high four assists, and his shot was falling all game. Team Doc was in control virtually the whole game, and Gerald Green finished things off with a nice pull-up from the baseline to seal the win for his team.
Coach George Gervin challenged a foul by Jeremy Pargo on Dusan Bulut. Bulut missed the turnaround fadeaway, NO BASKET.
Coach Julius Erving challenged a foul by Mario Chalmers on Isaiah Austin. Austin settled for a tough leaner and left it short, NO BASKET.
CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: TRILOGY DEFEATS POWER, 51-35
This was a convincing performance from your back-to-back Champions. Trilogy would get out to a big lead, Power would claw their way back into it, and then Trilogy finally broke Power’s back with one final run.
In my preview, I noted that Power would need to move the ball to be successful and that Trilogy would be unstoppable if they hit outside shots. Well, Power didn’t move the ball, and Trilogy hit some outside shots. Stephen Jackson’s team didn’t exactly shoot the lights out, but Earl Clark and Isaiah Briscoe combined for five made three-pointers. Also Clark, as per usual, was money when he pulled up for a deep two-point shot.
It’s well-known throughout the league that Power Coach Nancy Lieberman prepares her team for their upcoming matchups as well as any Coach in the league. That got Power to the Championship. However, on Sunday, it looked like Power was so concerned with throwing Trilogy off their game that they forgot to play their own.
Power did a good job of taking away Trilogy’s biggest strength, which is their ability to bully their way to the rim. On Sunday, Trilogy shot just 13-31 (41.9%) from inside the arc. That’s a successful defensive effort against the pure force that Trilogy brings.
Unfortunately, Power failed to make their own imprint on the game. They finished with four assists and six turnovers, which is disastrous for a team that normally moves the ball as well as Power does.
Trilogy were indeed able to counter Power’s passing and cutting with their size and speed. Power’s frontline duo of Royce White and TJ Cline combined to go just 5-13 from the floor, and Earl Clark and Amir Johnson finished with a combined seven blocks.
Glen Rice Jr. carried the team to the Finals with his incredible second-half performance in the semifinals. Apparently, the rest of the team thought that was a sustainable strategy, because he took 19 of the team’s 36 field goals and scored 23 of their 35 points on Sunday. The next-highest scorer for Power was TJ Cline, who finished with six points on the day.
Power also got beat up on the boards – Trilogy had 12 offensive rebounds to 15 defensive rebounds for Power.
The breaking point for Power came when the score was 42-35 Trilogy. Royce White forced Earl Clark into a tough turnaround, only to be whistled for slapping Clark on the forearm during his shooting motion.
Part of what makes White so effective is that he always goes all-out when he’s on the court, but the flip side of that is that his passion can boil over into frustration. Furious at the call, White hurled his mouthguard into the crowd, which earned him a quick technical foul. Clark made the technical to give Trilogy a 44-35 lead. He then missed the free throw that came from White’s foul, but Briscoe tracked down the offensive rebound and tossed it back to Clark, who drained the wide-open three to make it 47-35 Trilogy.
It was mop-up work from there, and the game ended when Briscoe blew past White with a beautiful hesitation dribble and flipped in the left-handed layup for the Championship.
It was something of an anticlimactic end to the game and the season. However, it was a heck of a season, the level of talent in the league continues to rise, and Trilogy showed they deserved the Championship.
Personally, I’m already itching for next season to start.
FIREWATCH: Power Coach Nancy Lieberman challenged a foul by Glen Rice Jr. on Isaiah Briscoe. Briscoe posted him up on the left block and tried to get a left-handed shot to fall, but it missed. NO BASKET.
2022 Records: Trilogy are your 2022 BIG3 Champions.