Week 4 Sunday: Results and Recap
By John Krolik, @krolikjohn July 11, 2022
And just like that, we’re halfway through the 2022 BIG3 regular season. Let’s take a look at what went down on Sunday:
ALIENS DEFEAT TRILOGY, 50-41
They say good teams have to know how to win ugly. That’s good news for the Aliens, because this game was about as ugly as it gets. The Aliens, who played a beautiful brand of FIREBALL3 until this game, engaged in straight-up trench warfare with Trilogy in Week 4.
Deshawn Stephens was effective when he got the ball in the paint, and Earl Clark’s mid-range jumper was on. Those were the only things working offensively for either team.
Isaiah Briscoe had somewhat of a breakout performance in Week 3, and he may still be the strongest guard in the league, but his shot is a legitimate issue. On Sunday, he went 3-13 from the field, 0-4 from beyond the arc, and just 2-9 from the free throw line. Under BIG3 rules, that means Briscoe left 14 points on the charity stripe.
His teammates weren’t much better. Earl Clark made the team’s only three-pointer. Team Captain James White’s shooting slump continued, and he finished 2-10 from the field. Trilogy, as a team, dished out a grand total of two assists for the game.
Things weren’t much prettier on the Aliens’ side of things. Dusan Bulut shot 2-11 and finished with six turnovers, three of which came on traveling violations. As a whole, the team turned the ball over 17 times. If you need some context, they made 20 field goals.
Ultimately, the game was won on the glass. The Aliens outrebounded Trilogy 44-23, which was too much for the defending champions to overcome. Tomislav Ivosev grabbed 10 boards, Karlis Lasmanis snagged 13, and Deshawn Stephens pulled down a mind-boggling 19 boards, 9 of which were offensive rebounds.
Stephens was really the difference in the game. He controlled the paint defensively and shut down Trilogy’s physical forays to the rim, he was able to convert when he got inside, and he even stepped out and hit the game-winning 3. And seriously, 19 rebounds in a game to 50 is off the charts. (If you’re wondering, the single-game record for rebounds in a BIG3 game belongs to Reggie Evans, who somehow pulled down 25 boards.) For all the well-deserved talk about the Aliens’ trio of European players, Stephens might be the key to the team’s success.
BULUT-STEPHENS LOB COUNTER:
One thing that’s become clear over the first half of this season is that Dusan Bulut loves throwing lobs to Deshawn Stephens. Against Trilogy, Bulut threw two lobs to Stephens. The first one resulted in one of Bulut’s six turnovers, and Stephens successfully threw the second one down.
Rick Mahorn challenged a foul by Stephens on Briscoe. Briscoe banked in a fadeaway just over Stephens’ outstretched hand, BASKET GOOD.
Stephen Jackson challenged a foul by White on Ivosev. White managed to make Ivosev pick up his dribble and blocked his shot, NO BASKET.
Rick Mahorn challenged a foul by Stephens on David Hawkins. Hawkins lost the ball out of bounds, NO BASKET.
2022 Records: Aliens 3-1, Trilogy 2-2
3 HEADED MONSTERS DEFEAT ENEMIES, 52-48
Well, this was an interesting one. 3HM Captain Rashard Lewis, Enemies Co-Captain Elijah Stewart, and both coaches were not present for this game. That meant Co-Captain Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf served as player/coach for 3HM, and Enemies team Captain Nick Young was the acting player/coach for the Enemies.
The 53-year old Abdul-Rauf struggled a bit with his shot early, but he drew up an excellent game plan for the rest of the team. If I had to describe it concisely, it would be “make every shot you look at.” Quincy Miller and Kevin Murphy were red-hot out of the gates, and 3HM entered halftime with a commanding 27-11 lead. The Enemies have a lot of shot-making, but their defense is a concern at this point; they forced a grand total of zero turnovers on Sunday.
The law of averages is, of course, a fickle mistress. Murphy and Miller’s shots began to finally draw iron, and the Enemies, led by Jordan Crawford’s shotmaking, put together a 17-2 run to cut 3HM’s lead to 30-28. Kevin Murphy put his team back in the driver’s seat with some relentless drives to the rim, but Isaiah Austin, of all people, managed to drill a four-point shot to tie the game at 45.
The game ended on our first Bring The Fire game-winner of the year, as Nick Young challenged a foul by Jordan Crawford on Quincy Miller with 3HM leading 49-48 and on game point. In what I call a “LeBron-Ruffin situation,” Crawford blatantly hacked Miller as Miller just as blatantly traveled, and the referees evidently decided that the two violations balanced each other out and that they’d let play continue. Miller got Crawford all the way under the basket and made the game-winner.
It would have been especially poetic if Gilbert Arenas, who was a key part of the game that ended in the LeBron-Ruffin incident, was on the sidelines for the Enemies, but it was a thrilling (and bizarre) ending all the same.
Acting Head Coach Nick Young challenged a foul by Keith Benson on Kevin Murphy. Murphy hit a step-back jumper, BASKET GOOD.
Young challenged a foul by Jordan Crawford on Quincy Miller. Miller hits the layup, BASKET GOOD. (Also, game over.)
2022 Records: 3 Headed Monsters 3-1, Enemies 2-2
TRI-STATE DEFEATS BALL HOGS, 50-44
It feels like these Ball Hogs can’t catch a break. Right after Leandro Barbosa, finally back and at 100%, led them to a victory over the Triplets in Week 3, Co-Captain Jodie Meeks missed Week 4 due to personal reasons. Meeks is essential to the Ball Hogs’ success for a fairly simple reason. Barbosa is as good at getting into the paint and getting the defense to collapse on him as any player in the league, and he’s also an excellent passer.
This means that the ideal game plan for the Ball Hogs can often be as simple as “surround Leandro with shooters and let him cook.” Unfortunately for the Ball Hogs, team Co-Captain Jodie Meeks, perhaps the best pure shooter in the league, was out due to personal reasons.
This meant Kuran Iverson and Stacy Davis were left with the responsibility of keeping the floor spaced for Barbosa. They had trouble finding their shots, and finished a combined 2-7 from three-point range. That freed up Tri State to wall off the paint on Barbosa, who flicked in just two of the eight shots he took from three-point range. (He did manage to sink one of the three four-point shots he took.)
Tri State’s off-ball actions weren’t as clean as we’ve seen them against other teams, but the trio of Jason Richardson, DaJuan Summers, and Justin Dentmon all came to play. They scored all 50 of Tri State’s points, went 9 of 18 from beyond the arc, and provided a balanced inside-out attack that was enough to get them the win.
This was another game that came down to shooting as much as anything else. Tri State made five shots from the free throw line, while the Ball Hogs made just one. As mentioned earlier, Tri State made nine shots from deep. The Ball Hogs made four. Those two factors, combined with the fact Tri State only turned the ball over once, paint a fairly clear picture of why Tri State was able to come away with the victory when Summers hit a contested three to end the game.
2022 Records: Tri State 3-1, Ball Hogs 1-3