Week 2 Saturday: Results and Recap
By John Krolik, @krolikjohn June 26, 2022
GAME 1: TRI STATE DEFEATS 3’S COMPANY, 51-35
What a difference a week and a Captain can make.
I caught up with Jason Richardson (who missed Week 1 due to COVID protocols) after Friday’s practice session, and he told me two things. One of them turned out to be precinct, while the other turned out to be a bit misleading.
The first thing Richardson told me was that the better-prepared team has the better chance of winning. On Saturday, Tri State certainly looked like the more prepared team. They were constantly setting on-and-off ball screens for each other, rarely fought the clock, and consistently setting each other up, with DaJuan Summers and Justin Dentmon scoring 30 combined points on a healthy diet of open spot-up looks.
Meanwhile, 3’s Company seemed more willing to isolate and settle for contested jumpers late in the clock, and had a tough time getting anything going. Michael Beasley’s Week 1 Player of the Week performance didn’t quite carry over, and he went just 3-10 from the floor before exiting the game with an injury in the second half.
Then there was the misleading part of what Richardson said to me. When I asked him about his transformation from a high-flyer in the early part of his career to a prolific shooter later in his career, he said he “realized his athleticism wasn’t going to last forever.” Saturday’s game was a decent argument against that point. Richardson went just 1-5 from beyond the arc but went 8-8 on shots from two-point range, including two thunderous dunks.
Tri State was in control all game long and ended up with a 51-35 victory, with Justin Dentmon officially bringing the proceedings to an end with a free throw.
FIREWATCH: No challenges made.
2022 Records: Tri-State 1-1, 3’s Company 1-1
GAME 2: TRIPLETS DEFEAT ALIENS, 50-33
What happens when your Captain and best player goes 3-13 from the floor, your Co-Captain is in Latvia playing in the 3×3 World Cup, and the team you play against has the reigning two-time MVP and a pair of brothers who make everything they look at? The answer, as the Aliens found out the hard way on Saturday, is nothing good.
I still really like the way the Aliens play. Early in the game, they were moving the ball effectively and getting good looks from both inside and outside. Unfortunately, the ball just wouldn’t go in for them. With Co-Captain Karlis Lasmanis out, Coach Rick Mahorn was forced to go with a double-big lineup for much of the game, which didn’t suit the Aliens’ movement-heavy game plan. In the second half, Captain Dusan Bulut tried to force the Aliens back into the game, but things just went from bad to worse. Bulut finished with an extremely uncharacteristic 3-13 shooting line from the field, and five turnovers against just three assists.
On the other side of the ball, the Pargo brothers absolutely rained sulfur on the Aliens. Sometimes the shots were open, sometimes they were contested, sometimes they were borderline impossible. What they had in common was that they all went in.
Jeremy Pargo opened the game by scoring the Triplets’ first 14 points. Two of his baskets came from two-point range, two more came from three-point range, and the BIG3’s resident king of the four-pointer naturally swished one from the circle.
(I asked Jeremy about his love of the four-pointer on Friday, and he said it’s a comfortable shot for him because, in his words, “he’s shot it a lot, even in places where there was no four-point shot.” He said he prefers an open shot from deep instead of a more contested shot from closer in. He also says he doesn’t ever see the four-point shot becoming a regular part of a team’s offense, but time will tell on that one.)
Joe Johnson scored the next four points for Triplets, and then Jannero Pargo came off the bench to score the team’s final eight points on 3-4 shooting from the field and 2-3 shooting from beyond the arc.
When Johnson scored the final basket of the game on a contested mid-range fadeaway (his second game-winner of the year), the Pargo brothers had combined for 35 points on 12-19 shooting from the field, 7-10 shooting from three-point range, 1-1 shooting from four-point range, and 1-1 shooting from the free-throw line. Johnson wasn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination – he finished with 13 points on 12 shots and a team-high seven rebounds and four assists.
However, on Saturday, it was Iso-Go, not Iso-Joe, that secured the victory for Lisa Leslie’s squad.
FIREWATCH: 2nd Half – Rick Mahorn challenged a foul by DeShawn Stephens on Ryan Hollins. Stephens got the stop.
2022 Records: Triplets 2-0, Aliens 1-1
GAME 3: GHOST BALLERS DEFEAT BALL HOGS, 50-43
Even though Leandro Barbosa’s shot was off in his first BIG3 game of the season, the return of their Captain had a noticeable effect on the Ball Hogs. Barbosa finished with a game-high eight assists, and the pressure he put on the Ghost Ballers’ defense with his speed and passing freed up Jodie Meeks and Kuran Iverson to put in 27 combined points, with most of them coming right at the basket or on wide-open threes.
However, the Ghost Ballers’ odd couple of Mike Taylor and Chris Johnson was enough to get them the victory. Johnson can be a bit mercurial, but is ludicrously talented. Case in point: Johnson finished the first half with 0 points on 0-3 shooting, one rebound, and 0 assists. In the second half, he had 17 of the Ghost Ballers’ 30 points, eight rebounds, and a team-high three assists. Coach George Gervin mentioned to me on Friday that he likes to use Johnson as a giant-sized wing, with the ultra-solid Darnell Jackson at center. On the last play of the game, when Johnson got a mismatch with a helpless Jodie Meeks on the inbounds and scored right over him in the post, it wasn’t hard to see why “The Iceman” likes to use Johnson as a player who works from outside-in rather than inside-out.
Meanwhile, Mike Taylor isn’t the most physically gifted player in the BIG3, but if there’s a player in the league with more confidence, I haven’t seen him. He finished with a game-high 19 points, and played every second of the game on both ends like his hair was on fire. They go about their business in different ways, but Johnson and Taylor are the pillars of the 2022 Ghost Ballers and a delight to watch.
FIREWATCH: 2nd Half – George Gervin challenged a foul by Mike Taylor on Leandro Barbosa, Taylor got the stop.
2022 Record: Ghost Ballers 2-0, Ball Hogs 0-2