CBS Sports: Triplets, Killer 3’s set to square off for title after impressive Semifinal wins
By BIG3 August 26, 2019
The 2019 Big3 season is down to its final two games, the Championship Game and 3rd Place game, after the league’s four playoff qualifiers squared off in the Semifinals in New Orleans. The top-seeded Triplets, led by MVP Joe Johnson and Coach of the Year Lisa Leslie, will take on the 2nd-seeded Killer 3’s, led by captain Stephen Jackson and coach Charles Oakley. They’re the 5th and 6th different teams to reach the title game in the Big3’s 3-year history, with the Killer 3’s in their first playoff appearance and the Triplets in their first season.
2019 Big3 Season Finale – Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA – Sunday, August 1st – Pregame show on CBSSN at 2:00 PM ET, Games on CBS at 3:00 PM ET
3rd Place Game – 3:00 PM ET
(3) Power vs (4) 3 Headed Monsters
● Rematch of the Big3 Ballout, Monsters won 52-46
Championship Game – 4:00 PM ET
(1) Triplets vs (2) Killer 3’s
● 1st ever meeting between teams
Semifinal 1 Recap – Killer 3’s 50, Power 42
For the second straight week, the Killer 3’s utilized balanced scoring and a relentless team effort on defense to pull away from their opponent in a must-win game. Power led 11-7 early, but the Killer 3’s flipped the score with a 5-point trip (Stephen Jackson drew a foul while draining a 3 and CJ Watson followed with a layup off Jackson’s missed free throw) and never trailed again. An 11-4 Killer 3’s run to start the 2nd Half all but put the game out of reach, and Power never got within 6 again.
Jackson and Donte Greene each scored 13 to lead the victorious Killer 3’s, but C.J. Watson was probably the team’s MVP in the Semifinals. Watson authored several key plays down the stretch as Power tried to mount a late rally – he had a steal which set up Jackson for an uncontested dunk, took Julian Wright to the hole for his own bucket, and was in the right place at the right time for the game-winner after Greene stripped Maggette under the hoop. Watson’s 13 points were 1 off his season-high, marking his 4th double-digit game of the season and first time scoring double-digits in consecutive games (also had 13 in the regular season finale).
The short-handed reigning champs Power endured a cold shooting night from Corey Maggette at the worst possible time, and the 2018 MVP finished with just 9 points – 10 shy of his previous season-low (entered 2nd in the league averaging 19.6 ppg). Glen “Big Baby” Davis was the team’s lone double-digit scorer with 12 in front of a hometown crowd which included over two dozen of his friends and family members. Big Baby’s status was uncertain after going down with a hip injury late in last week’s loss to the 3 Headed Monsters, and he was far from the only banged up member of Nancy Lieberman’s squad – Cuttino Mobley and Chris Andersen both had their seasons ended by injury, and
Davis joined both Maggette and Quentin Richardson among active Power players who were dealing with injuries.
Semifinal 2 Recap – Triplets 50, 3 Headed Monsters 39
Neither team built any sort of cushion in the early going and the Triplets led by 4 following a 1st Half so physical it forced CBS to use a “foul trouble” graphic for the first time this season – 2 members of the Triplets had picked up multiple fouls before the game even went to its first break at 13-11. But it was a different story after the half, with Al Jefferson and Joe Johnson fueling an 8-0 run to start the 2nd Half which pushed the lead to double-figures. The Monsters would cut the margin back down to 5 at 44-39, and had a chance to cut it to one possession at the line, but Reggie Evans missed a 2-point free throw and his team never scored again before Joe Johnson ended it with a 3-pointer to put his team 50 points from the Big3 title.
Joe Johnson left no doubt as to why he’s now MVP Joe instead of Iso Joe, scoring 26 of his team’s 50 points while coming up 1 point shy of his season-high (which was set all the way back in his Big3 debut). The game-winning 3 was Joe’s 5th game-winner this season – that’s more than any other player in the league has since the start of last season despite this being Joe’s first season in the league. Al Jefferson scored 10 after having 4 in each of the last two games. Alan Anderson had 9 points, his 5th straight game with at least 8 and 7th time scoring 8+ points this season.
Gary Payton’s Monsters came in hot after winning their final 2 regular season games to sneak into the playoffs, but they were done in by a lack of firepower that had shown throughout the season. Mario Chalmers led the way with 14 points, his 5th time in double-figures this season. Rio is the team’s leading scorer from week 3 (the first time he played a significant role) on, but his team-high average in that span is just 13.3 ppg. 2017 MVP Rashard Lewis finished with 6 in the loss and hasn’t scored more than 13 in the last 6 games (had 16+ in each of the season’s 1st 3 games). Reggie Evans had 12 for the second straight week, and hasn’t score more than 12 since scoring 20+ twice in the season’s first 4 games.