Week 6 Sunday: Results and Recap
By John Krolik, @krolikjohn July 25, 2022
Only two weeks to go until the end of the regular season. Let’s take a look at what happened on the second day of FIREBALL3 action this weekend:
GAME 1: 3 HEADED MONSTERS DEFEAT TRI STATE, 50-33
This game started out as a very entertaining back-and-forth affair, with Jason Richardson and Kevin Murphy trading buckets and defense being little more than a rumor.
In the second half, 3HM pulled away with a game-ending 18-0 run. Some of Tri State’s weaknesses are becoming glaring. They rely on the three-point shot more than any team in the league – they came into Week 6 leading the league in three-pointers made. Jason Richardson had a good shooting afternoon, going 5-10 from three point range. Unfortunately, the rest of the team combined to go 0-5 from three, and Tri State didn’t have a way to get their offense going when their outside shots weren’t falling.
Rebounding also continues to be a major problem for Tri State. They came into Week 6 dead last in offensive rebounds, and they were outrebounded 32-16 on Sunday. Tri State had 4 offensive rebounds to 3HM’s 24 defensive rebounds, while 3HM had 8 offensive rebounds to Tri State’s 16 defensive rebounds.
Finally, Tri State went 1-5 from the line, which is a big no-no in FIREBALL3 – leaving eight points on the line in a game to 50 really stings.
Also, Tri State couldn’t stop Kevin Murphy, but nobody’s been able to stop Kevin Murphy, so I won’t blame that on them. The league’s leading scorer had 31 points on 12-21 shooting from the field, and tore up any defense Tri State threw at him like a wet paper bag. (He also had 10 rebounds for good measure.) Team Captain Rashard Lewis, who is back in the lineup after missing a few weeks, added 9 points, but 3HM’s offense was the Kevin Murphy show. The game-winner came when Jamario Moon found a “mouse in the house” and put a nice spin move on the 6’0 Justin Dentmon in the post for a layup.
3 Headed Monsters Coach Reggie Theus challenged a foul by Kevin Murphy on Justin Dentmon. Murphy stripped Dentmon on his way to the rim, NO BASKET.
Tri State Coach Julius Erving challenged a foul by DaJuan Summers on Rashard Lewis. Lewis missed a floater from the right block, NO BASKET.
2022 Records: 3HM 5-1, Tri State 3-3
GAME 2: POWER DEFEAT ALIENS, 51-43
I really do try and avoid puns, but the Aliens got flat-out overpowered in this game. Royce White had his way with the Aliens in the paint early, Nikoloz Tskitishvili got a little nasty inside and had easily his best game of the season, and Lord of Efficiency TJ Cline went 7-7 from the floor.
In the first half, Power shot 10-11 from inside the paint, 0-1 from midrange, and 1-1 from three-point range, meaning they shot 11-13 (84.6%!!!!!) overall in the half.
Meanwhile, the Aliens could not get anything going offensively. They weren’t able to get into their signature flow, and Power did an incredible job of tagging Deshawn Stephens inside all game long. That meant Rick Mahorn’s team wasn’t able to go to its Plan B, which involves constant pick-and-rolls with Stephens as the roll man.
In the first half, the Aliens shot just 3-8 from inside the paint, and 5-13 overall.
Really, only three things kept this game respectable. First of all, Power made a few overpasses that led to turnovers, which will happen when 16 of your 22 field goals come off assists.
Second, the Aliens had eight offensive rebounds to Power’s 9 defensive rebounds – Deshawn Stephens, the best rebounder in the league, pulled down four offensive boards. Power only managed to grab one offensive rebound all game, but in their defense they only missed seven shots.
Finally, Dusan Bulut put on an absolute shot-making clinic against his former team, and finished with 25 points on 9-15 shooting from the field and 4-6 shooting from three-point range.
The Game-Winner was probably my favorite play of the week. Remember last week, when I pointed out that the Aliens ran a perfect play involving a fake UCLA screen and later Coach Lieberman called an “Aliens” set out of a timeout, which involved TJ Cline setting a fake UCLA screen and cutting to the basket?
Well, this game ended with a baseline out-of-bounds play out of a timeout where TJ Cline pretended to come up to set a screen, only to cut to the rim for the game-winning layup. After the game, Coach Lieberman said in her interview that she calls that set “Richmond,” after a play Cline used to run when he played college ball at Richmond. It’s not like the Aliens invented slipping screens, but this was still a really cool play, and was made even better with the added context.
Power Coach Nancy Lieberman challenged a foul by Nikoloz Tskitishvili on Dusan Bulut. Bulut went to a spin move and missed the layup but a foul was called, BASKET GOOD.
Aliens Coach Rick Mahorn challenged a foul by Tomislav Ivosev on TJ Cline. Cline hit Ivosev with a right-to-left cross into a spin back to the right side of the basket for a layup, BASKET GOOD.
2022 Records: Aliens 4-2, Power 3-3
GAME 3: KILLER 3’S DEFEAT BIVOUAC, 51-49
Well, all of Bivouac’s losses haven’t come by three points anymore – this one came by two points. It’s tough to see Bivouac coming out of this game with a 2-4 record considering the level they’ve played at this season. They’ve actually scored exactly the same amount of points as their opponents have this season, but they’ve just caught some tough breaks.
This was a back-and-forth game with some weirdness to it. Gerald Green scored just 11 points on 10 shots, and missed the only three-point attempt he took. Garlon Green took floor-spacing duties for Bivouac, and scored 11 points of his own on 4-6 shooting from the field and 3-4 shooting from three–point range.
On the Killer 3’s side of things, the sharpshooting duo of Dominique Johnson and Donte Greene both went cold, and combined to go 2-13 from the field and 1-7 from three-point range. Fortunately for the Killer 3’s, Franklin “Frank Nitty” Session hit some outside shots the defense was extremely willing to give him, including some big 3-pointers down the stretch.
I do want to draw attention to the final sequence. Garlon Green hit a three-pointer to make the score 49-46 Bivouac, putting them on game point. With the score still at 49-46, Frank Nitty blew right past his man and fed it to Josh Powell for what would have been a wide-open layup. Corey Brewer came over and committed the foul, which prevented the layup.
I hate that it was Corey Brewer who did this. I already picked on him for making a play that showed a lack of familiarity with FIREBALL3 rules way back in Week 2. Corey Brewer is a good player, and a smart player, and has made the only game-winning baskets for Bivouac since 2019. Unfortunately, he keeps giving me really good examples of what makes FIREBALL3 unique.
In any other league in the long history of basketball, giving the foul to prevent the gimme layup is the right play in this situation, and Brewer is a 13-year NBA veteran. However, FIREBALL3 punitively punishes teams who foul while the other team is in the bonus, which the Killer 3’s were. If your team is in the bonus and you make the foul shot, your team gets the ball back. This leads to some thrilling stuff, like Kevin Murphy winning the game for 3HM with a six-point possession last week.
In this case, letting Powell make the layup would have made the score 49-48 Bivouac, with Bivouac having the ball and another chance at a game-winner. Instead, Powell made the free throw and the Killer 3’s retained possession. Gerald Green fouled Dominique Johnson on a three-point shot, and he made the “three-throw.” Five-point possession, Killer 3’s win 51-49. Every week, we get a new reminder of what makes FIREBALL3 so special.
Acting Killer 3’s Coach Franklin “Frank Nitty” Session challenged a foul by KJ McDaniels on Gerald Green. Green missed the pull-up jumper, NO BASKET.
Bivouac Coach Gary Payton challenged a foul by Jeff Ayres on KJ McDaniels. McDaniels drove left, spun back right, and laid it in. BASKET GOOD.
2022 Records: Killer 3’s 4-2, Bivouac 2-4