Tri-State’s win marked a triumphant return to Philadelphia for the team’s coach, Julius Erving. That win came at the expense of the other Philly favorite. And while Iverson was at the Wells Fargo Center to coach 3’s Company, he did not play. On Sunday afternoon, Iverson posted a video on his Instagram account to explain:
“To all my fans out there, based on advice from my doctor I will not be playing in the game tonight for the BIG3. I will be there to coach my team … I’ll be interacting with all my fans and we’ll have a great time. We’ll see some great basketball. I want to thank all the fans for supporting me all the years up to today. I’ll see you when I get there.”
While Iverson didn’t play, he was on the court to coach his team, and the sold-out crowd welcomed him back with a rousing ovation.
“I’m glad I had a chance to come back home,” Iverson told the crowd. “Ain’t nothing like this relationship we have. I love you for supporting me throughout my career.”
Ironically, on a night that fans didn’t get to see the most recognizable player in the BIG3, several of the league’s lesser-known players had breakout games. No less than 19 players scored in double figures Sunday night, including Lee Nailon, who had a team-leading 18 points for Dr. J’s Tri-State squad.
Big3 is a new concept, but it’s an old story,” Erving said before the game. “It’s about playing ball the way we all learned how to play ball out in the playground, like the playgrounds all around Philadelphia.” Here’s a recap of all four games:
POWER 51, GHOST BALLERS 44
Cuttino Mobley scored 20 points and DeShawn Stevenson his five of his 10 3-point tries to finish with 17, as Power improved to 3-1. The lead changed hands seven times in a very evenly fought first half, and then a Stevenson three gave Power a 26-21 halftime lead. Mobley opened the second half with the second of his two 3-pointers to give Power an 8-point edge. While the Ghost Ballers hung tough, they never came all the way back. After climbing back to within two at 33-31, Stevenson hit another 3-pointer and Power never looked back. For the second time this season, Stevenson hit a 3-pointer for the game-winner.
Jerome Williams had a double-double for Power, with 12 points and 13 boards. Ivan Johnson led the Ghost Ballers with 14 points. Ricky Davis had 12 and Mike Bibby had 11. The Ghost Ballers fell to 2-2.
TRILOGY 50, BALL HOGS 43
Trilogy moved to 4-0 as Rashad McCants showed everyone why he was the BIG3’s first overall draft pick. McCants finished with 20 points, including 2 threes and one 4-pointer. McCants scored Trilogy’s first 10 points as they jumped out to a 10-5 lead, though the Ball Hogs stayed within reach thanks to a pair of 3-pointers from Xavier Silas. Silas, who was acquired from Tri-State late last week in the BIG3’s first-ever trade, had a coming-out party in his Ball Hogs debut, scoring a team-high 17 points.
Trilogy, however, took a 25-19 lead into halftime and they never relinquished that lead in the second half. They got 10 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists from last week’s BIG3 Player of the Week Al Harrington. Jannero Pargo had his best scoring day in the BIG3, hitting a pair of threes and finishing with 10. Derrick Byars had 10 points and Josh Childress had 8 points and 6 rebounds for the Ball Hogs (1-3).
3-HEADED MONSTERS 51, KILLER 3S 46
Rashard Lewis took over the BIG3 scoring lead last week. If his Week 4 performance is any indication, he has no plans to give it up anytime soon. Lewis became the first BIG3 player to score 30 in a game, and he also pulled down 10 boards to complete the double-double. Lewis and Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf (17) combined to score 47 of the 3-Headed Monsters’ 51 points.
Lewis opened the second half with a 4-pointer that gave the 3-Headed Monsters a 30-17 lead. Lewis would score his team’s first 17 points in the second half – but he was equaled by Killer 3s co-captain Stephen Jackson, who scored 17 of his team’s first 19 second-half points to stay within reach. Jackson finished with a team-high 24, while Reggie Evans (10 points, 9 rebounds) and Brian Cook (8,6) helped bring the Killer 3s to within three at 47-44. An Abdul-Rauf free throw made it 49-44, then a Cook free throw made it 49-46. That’s when Lewis hit a game-winning jumper that improved the 3-Headed Monsters to 3-1. The Killer 3s fell to 1-3.
TRI-STATE 51, 3’S COMPANY 44
Tri-State’s trade of Silas meant more playing time for Lee Nailon – and he took full advantage of the opportunity. Nailon scored 10 of Tri-State’s first 16 points and Tri-State jumped out to a 12-point lead at halftime, 25-13. Tri-State led by as many as 16 early in the second half, getting big buckets from captain Jermaine O’Neal (10 points, 9 rebounds) and co-captain Bonzi Wells (12,3).
But 3’s Company mounted a comeback and the surprise leader of that comeback was Al Thornton, who finished with 20 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals. Andre Owens chipped in with 9 points and 7 boards, and 3’s Company closed to within 5 at 45-40. After each team scored four more, Wells hit the game-winning jumper. Tri-State and 3’s Company are now both 1-3.