The first game of the 5th week of Big 3 action featured the Power against the Ball Hogs. This game would be neck and neck for one half but all Power in the second. A physical tone was set early and often, as Xavier Silas of the Ball Hogs and Deshawn Stevenson of the Power were chirping at each other for much of the first half. The Power would see themselves hold a 26-20 advantage at the end of the first, and it would only grow from there. Cuttino Mobley and Jerome Williams of the Power would continue to dominate in the second half. Mobley, showing off some excellent footwork in the post, torched the Ball Hogs for 12 second half points. He would finish with 21 points on 10-15 shooting. Williams also made his presence known, hawking down 8 rebounds and converting some easy second chance points. His efforts led to a 30-10 rebounding advantage in the game for the Power. Rasual Butler would carry the Ball Hogs throughout the contest but was not nearly efficient enough in the second half to keep them within striking distance. Butler would find his three-point range, nailing two late game triples. however, it would be a case of “too little, too late”. Deshawn Stevenson would ice the game with a triple from the top of the arc, giving the Power a 51-34 victory. The loss bumps the Ball Hogs to a measly 1-4 while the Power boast an impressive 4-1 records after the win.
The second game featured Trilogy, who came into week 5 as the only remaining unbeaten team in Big 3, and Tri State. Unfortunately for Tri State, the outcome would not change that fact. Rashad McCants and James White would be the high scoring men for Trilogy. McCants got to the cup with ease early in this one, scoring 5 out of his team’s first 7. He would finish with 27 points on 11-17 shooting with 8 rebounds. White was also incredibly efficient from the field, pouring in 16 points on 5-6 shooting. For Tri State, a failure to convert at the rim is what did them in. Mike James did his best to convert from the perimeter, putting in 22 points but on 8-19 shooting. No one else scored more than 6 on his team. The crowd really got into this one when Mike James and James White went chest to chest for a few minutes in the first half. In the end, cooler heads would prevail. Trilogy would put James into a series of pick and rolls, wearing him out and putting him in bad mismatches defensively. The dagger would come from none other than Mr. White, as Kenyon Martin, aka “K-Mart”, threw him a nice baseline alley-oop pass that White flushed home for the win. Trilogy remains unbeaten at 5-0 while Tri State drops to 1-4.
Up next would be 3 Headed Monsters against 3’s Company (these names just get more and more fun, don’t they?). Allen Iverson, coach of 3’s Company, would receive a monstrous ovation from the Big 3 crowd on hand at the UIC Pavilion. For 3 Headed Monsters, their name would fit them perfectly today as they were led by a 3-man effort in Kwame Brown, Rashard Lewis, and Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf. Brown would deliver a double-double for his team, putting in 11 points and snagging 12 boards. Lewis would also get hot from the field, scoring 16 while also nabbing his fair share of rebounds with 9. The star of the game would be Abdul-Rauf, as the shortest guy on the court would grab 8 rebounds and drop 19 points, including the game winning jumper to secure the win for his team. 3’s Company, who after only trailing by 3 at the half, were totally dominated in the second half as they would suffer a defeat of 51-32. Andre Owens was the high scoring man for 3’s Company as he put in 13 points in the losing effort, as his squad drops to 1-4. 3 Headed Monsters advanced to 4-1 with the win.
The last game of the evening was arguably the most exciting, despite the thinning crowd at this point in the day. This contest featured the Ghost Ballers and Killer 3’s. There was a lot of dribble drive action in this one as both teams were aggressive in their offensive strategies, getting to the line a combined 21 times during the game. Despite the previous 3 games being decided well before the final few possessions, this one went down to the wire. Down by 5 late in the game, Mike Bibby of the Ghost Ballers canned a 4-point shot to cut the deficit to 43-42. Killer 3’s would respond with a 3-point shot, but Ricky Davis of the Ghost Ballers would even things right back up with a monstrous slam and a beautiful up and under move, driving baseline on both occasions. Bibby would sink another free throw (worth 2 points in Big 3 play) to make it 48-46. Davis would once again find the bottom of the net, this time sealing the win on a mid-range jumper from the left wing giving the Ghost Ballers a 50-46 victory. Stephen Jackson played point guard most of the game (due to Chauncey Billups’ injury) and poured in 22 points. Reggie Evans also aided him despite the losing effort, achieving a double-double with 12 points and 11 boards. Ivan Johnson of the Ghost Ballers played the role of stat-sheet-stuffer, scoring 20 points, nabbing 6 rebounds and dishing out 5 assists. Ricky Davis and Mike Bibby scored 15 each. The Ghost Ballers advance to 3-2 on the year with the win while the loss drops Killer 3’s to 1-4. Afterwards, Ghost Ballers coach George Gervin was able to talk to the media a bit. He acknowledged how fun it is being able to coach guys that have been around the game their whole lives. “These guys all know how to play basketball, they already know”, said Gervin. “It’s 3 on 3 so there really are no plays, just 1 on 1 or 2 on 2 attacking situations, which makes it fun”.
All photo credits go to WZIP’s own Isaiah Houde.