Week 6 Saturday: Results and Recap
By John Krolik, @krolikjohn July 24, 2022
Well, we’re coming down to the stretch run for the 2022 BIG3 regular season. Here’s what went down on an exciting day of FIREBALL3 in Texas:
GAME 1: GHOST BALLERS (3-3) DEFEAT TRIPLETS (2-4), 50-42
It’s possible the wind could have been taken out of the Triplets’ sails by what BIG3 viewers learned just before the game started – Joe Johnson is not coming back to the Triplets this season, or any season after that. The greatest player in BIG3 history has retired.
With Johnson out, the best Coach Lisa Leslie could hope for was for the Pargo Brothers to get hot from the outside. They combined to go 2-15 from three-point range. That’s less than ideal. The Triplets also struggled to get the ball moving, and finished with 3 assists on 17 field goals. At 2-4, the chances of the Triplets making the playoffs this season are extremely slim, and they’ll have a lot of work to do in the offseason to try and fill the void left by Johnson.
On the Ghost Ballers’ side of things, they played with the urgency of a team who needed to win the game to remain in the playoff hunt. Mike Taylor went back to being the tip of the spear for George Gervin’s team, scoring a game-high 20 points. When the Ghost Ballers play off of Taylor’s energy and shot-making, you can see the intensity pick up.
On that note, Chris Johnson ventured inside the 3-point arc on Saturday. Six of his 11 field goals came from three-point range, but he finally mixed in some forays to the basket. He went 3-5 on shots inside the paint.
Darnell Jackson didn’t see the floor on Saturday. It certainly looks like George Gervin is making the adjustment from running a two-big lineup with Johnson playing the role of an oversized wing and instead having Johnson play the role of a big man with the ability to stretch the floor. Also, Jermaine Taylor’s deadeye shooting has forced Coach Gervin to give him more minutes, and he finished with 11 points on 3-5 shooting from beyond the arc.
The game-winner came when Jermaine Taylor drained a three from the left corner to win it 50-42 for the Ghost Ballers.
Triplets Coach Lisa Leslie challenged a foul by Jannero Pargo on Mike Taylor. Taylor worked his way in for a floater and sunk it, BASKET GOOD.
GAME 2: TRILOGY (4-2) DEFEAT ENEMIES (2-4), 50-38
For the second week in a row, the Enemies were unable to deal with the physicality of their opponents. If you need the game summed up in one number, here you go: Trilogy had 9 offensive rebounds on Saturday, while the Enemies had 7 defensive rebounds. That’s not something that can happen.
Elijah Stewart did return to the lineup after his time with the Pelicans’ Summer League team. However, it looks like he needs some time to adjust. He finished with 3 points on 1-6 shooting from the floor.
Isaiah Austin is still just being thrown the ball in isolation situations and asked to make the best of things. He finished 4-9 from the field, which is not what you want from a player that big and that talented. He also somehow finished with just one rebound, although he did have three blocks.
Trilogy struggled to get their own offense going out of the gates. This was due in large part to Isaiah Briscoe, who consistently hit from outside Week 5, wanted to see if his shooting touch would carry over. It did not, and Trilogy wasted a fair amount of possessions on Briscoe missing perimeter shots the Enemies were more than willing to concede.
Briscoe actually did find his outside stroke down the stretch, which was all Trilogy needed to pull away. The game officially ended when Earl Clark hit a three to give Trilogy the 50-38 win.
Enemies Coach Gilbert Arenas challenged a foul by Keith Benson on Isaiah Briscoe, Briscoe scooped in a lefty layup, BASKET GOOD.
GAME 3: 3’S COMPANY (3-3) DEFEAT BALL HOGS (1-5), 50-47
Two interesting things about this game. First of all, it was certainly a tale of two halves. In the first half, 3’s Company looked like they were picking up where they left off in Week 5. They were moving without the ball, keeping the floor spaced, and making the extra pass – Michael Beasley finished with a game-high eight assists. (He also had 16 points and 12 rebounds, meaning he was just two assists away from a triple-double.) The Ball Hogs, playing without Captain Leandro Barbosa, couldn’t get anything going. At the half, it was 25-6 in favor of 3’s Company.
In the second half, 3’s Company stopped moving the ball and settled for outside shots. Meanwhile, the Ball Hogs’ Jodie Meeks got so hot he started emitting gamma radiation. He finished with a game-high 29 points, including five threes and one four-pointer. The Ball Hogs actually managed to tie the game at 47, and on the very next possession Mario Chalmers pulled up from three and hit the game-winner. An impressively Sisyphean performance for Rick Barry’s team, who simply have not been able to catch a break this season.
The second thing that was interesting was that 3’s Company used the four-point circles as a part of their game plan in a way I haven’t seen before. In the first half, Michael Beasley was working on the right side of the court, then tossed it to Chalmers, who came from the weak side to the center circle for a four-point shot, which he drained. Later, in a no-clear situation, Chalmers went straight to the four-point circle on the right side of the floor. He got the ball, and drained it again.
3’s Company only took one four-point shot over the rest of the game, and they missed it, but every time they approached the circle the Ball Hogs had to come all the way out to contest the possible shot, which gave 3’s Company acres of space to work with offensively. Really interesting stuff.
3’s Company Coach Michael Cooper challenged a foul by Michael Beasley on Jodie Meeks. Meeks got Beasley to bite on an up-fake, kept his pivot foot down, and got a look at a wide-open bunny, which he somehow missed. NO BASKET.
Ball Hogs Coach Rick Barry challenged a foul by Jodie Meeks on Julian Wright. Wright went into his bag, slithering towards the rim with a series of spins and between-the-legs dribbles, and eventually got into position to spin and put home a layup over Meeks. BASKET GOOD.
3’s Company Coach Michael Cooper challenged a foul by Michael Beasley on Caron Iverson. Iverson put his head down, got his right shoulder into Beasley, and was able to sink a lefty layup. BASKET GOOD.