Week 8 Results and Recap
By John Krolik, @krolikjohn August 7, 2022
And that’s a wrap on the 2022 BIG3 regular season, everyone. The four teams heading to Tampa Bay for the semifinals will be the 3 Headed Monsters, Trilogy, Power, and the Aliens. Let’s break down what we saw:
GAME 1: TRILOGY DEFEATS KILLER 3’S, 50-28
I do feel a little let down by this game. This was to be the battle of Frank Nitty vs. Isaiah Briscoe, and both players came out of the gates at full speed. Unfortunately for the Killer 3’s and the viewing audience, Frank Nitty suffered a leg injury of some kind when the score was 6-4 Trilogy, and did not return until the second half.
Frank Nitty being out meant there was blood in the water, and Trilogy smelled it. No team is as ruthless as Trilogy when they get a lead. Since their game plan revolves around taking the ball directly at their opponents’ throat, they don’t tend to let their foot off the gas pedal once they get a lead.
Isaiah Briscoe was absolutely on one in this game. He took the ball to the rack over and over and over again, and all Charles Oakley’s squad was really able to do was put him on the free-throw and hope Briscoe’s free-throw stroke would abandon him. It did not, as Briscoe went 6-6 from the free throw line.
He scored 11 of Trilogy’s first 13 points, and didn’t really let up from there – he finished with 24 points on 6-12 shooting from the field, drained the one three Trilogy made all game, and had a game-high four assists for good measure. In the second half, Briscoe faked his defender into the air, drew a flagrant, sunk the free throw, and then smoothly drained the aforementioned three-pointer for a five-point possession that put Trilogy up 32-14 and put the first nail in the coffin for the Killer 3’s.
It’s tough not to feel bad for the Killer 3’s, who just looked lost when Frank Nitty went to the bench. He started the second half, but it took a while for him to get going, and by the time he did, it was too late.
Trilogy flat-out overpowered the Killer 3’s to punch their ticket to Tampa Bay. Earl Clark was, as always, a very sharp Swiss Army knife, and gave the Killer 3’s fits on both ends of the floor all game long. (He actually managed to break the single-season steals record.) Appropriately enough, the game ended when Amir Johnson threw down an alley-oop feed from Briscoe to end the game 50-28 and end the season for the Killer 3’s.
Trilogy coach Stephen Jackson challenged a foul by Amir Johnson on Josh Powell. Powell tried a turnaround fadeaway but missed it, NO BASKET.
Killer 3’s Coach Charles Oakley challenged a foul by Donte Greene on Earl Clark. Greene wrapped Clark up and stripped him, NO BASKET.
2022 Records: Trilogy 6-2 (ADVANCE), Killer 3’s 5-3 (ELIMINATED)
GAME 2: POWER DEFEATS ALIENS, 51-43
There was a game within a game here. The Aliens didn’t need to beat Power to advance to the playoffs – they just needed to lose by nine points or fewer. If they lost by 10 or more points, the Killer 3’s would have advanced.
I really have two main thoughts about this game. First of all, Power just might have the Aliens’ number. Second, I think Glen Rice Jr. may have sent two teams to the playoffs on Saturday afternoon.
Just like they did in their Week 6 matchup, Power countered the Aliens’ offensive strategy by anticipating the extra pass and playing the passing lanes instead of over-committing to the player with the ball. The Aliens finished with 11 assists, but they had six turnovers, which is too high of a cost to pay if you want to play winning basketball.
The Aliens also weren’t able to stretch the floor properly, which has been an issue for them all season. They shot 1-9 from three-point range in this game, and it’s frankly incredible that their offense has worked as well as it has this season considering how they’ve shot the ball from the perimeter.
On Power’s side of the ball, they didn’t play their typical game. There were a few nice big-to-big passes and cuts, but they mostly put their fate in the hands of 2022 BIG3 #1 draft pick Glen Rice Jr. He sliced into the lane at will and made shots from just about every conceivable angle. It honestly looked like he was playing an open run at Rucker Park, where Coach Nancy Lieberman (as well as Tri State Coach Julius Erving and too many other legends to mention here) made her name, instead of in a high-stakes professional basketball game.
Fortunately for the Aliens, the law of averages caught up with Rice, and he ended up forcing a number of shots and stagnating Power’s offense. Power was on the verge of a blowout victory, but gave up a 16-2 run that cut Power’s lead to 44-41. Tomislav Ivosev really went to work inside – he got good position, showed some nice post moves, and ended the game with a team-high 18 points on 8-12 shooting from the field.
There were really two game-winners in this one. The first one came when Deshawn Stephens put home a tip-in on a no-clear situation to make the score 49-43 Power. If he didn’t make that basket, a Power game-winner would have given them a 10-point win and ended the Aliens’ season. If Power was in a petty mood, they could have attempted to send the Aliens home with a four-pointer, but the game instead ended with Rice hitting an absolutely impossible floater over Stephens to send both Power and the Aliens to the playoffs.
Aliens Coach Rick Mahorn challenged a foul by Deshawn Stephens on Glen Rice Jr. Stephens then fouled Rice during the Bring the Fire Challenge, BASKET GOOD.
Mahorn challenged a foul by Tomislav Ivosev on Cuttino Mobley. Mobley got fouled while going up for a turnaround jumper, BASKET GOOD.
Power Coach Nancy Lieberman challenged a foul by Royce White on Deshawn Stephens. Stephens was forced into a turnaround fadeaway, which he airballed. NO BASKET.
2022 Records: Power 5-3 (ADVANCE), Aliens 5-3 (ADVANCE)
TRI STATE DEFEAT 3 HEADED MONSTERS, 50-38
This was essentially a moot game. The 3 Headed Monsters came into the game with a playoff spot already clinched, and Tri State was already eliminated from playoff contention before the game began. Also, there was a bit of a game within a game going on here as well, as Kevin Murphy needed 25 points to tie Joe Johnson’s single-season points record and 26 points to break it.
I don’t know if Murphy was playing for the record, but it certainly seemed like it – even though he didn’t have his best shooting game, he took 14 of 3HM’s 26 shots from the field, and a lot of them seemed forced. Unfortunately for him, he finished with 24 points, leaving him one point shy of tying the record. He actually had a free throw for the record late in the game, but missed it just before Tri State ended the game and the regular season.
Tri State came into this game on a three-game losing streak. Their biggest problem had been poor outside shooting – they lived by the three when they started the season off 3-1, and died by it when they fell to 3-4 and out of playoff contention.
Naturally, Tri State was absolutely scorching hot from outside in this game. They made 10 of their 14 3s. That’s 30 points on 14 shots. If they’d gone 14-14 from inside the arc, it would have been less efficient.
The hero for Tri State was Ray Nixon, who came from out of nowhere to score 22 points on 8-10 shooting from the field and 6-7 shooting from three-point range. Six threes is the BIG3 single-game record, which Nixon now has a share of, so that’s some seriously high-level stuff. He also hit the game-winning three, which allowed Tri State to end their season on a high note.
Tri State Coach Julius Erving challenged a foul by DaJuan Summers on a four-point shot by Kevin Murphy. Murphy went into his bag and got the layup to go after multiple pivots, BASKET GOOD FOR FOUR POINTS. This was the second week in a row a foul on a four-point shot was challenged, and the second week in a row it backfired.
Erving challenged a foul by DaJuan Summers on Quincy Miller. Miller lost the handle, NO BASKET.
2022 Records: 3 Headed Monsters 6-2 (ADVANCE), Tri State 4-4 (ELIMINATED).
So we’ve got our Final Four – Trilogy, the 3 Headed Monsters, Power, and the Aliens. It’s going to be an exciting final two weeks of the season.