Ten weeks of intense, physical basketball led to the Staples Center in Los Angeles as both the Killer 3’s and Triplets battled to take home the Julius Erving Trophy as 2019 BIG3 champions. In their first season, expansion team the Triplets boasted both the Coach of the Year in Lisa Leslie and MVP in Joe Johnson. Meanwhile, Stephen Jackson and the Killer 3’s are a pesky bunch who don’t mind the extra grit it takes to win a championship.
Championship Sunday kicked off with the 3 Headed Monsters taking on the defending champion Power in the third place game. Although without league rebound record-holder Reggie Evans, the 3 Headed Monsters came out swinging and did not let up. Holding a double-digit lead most of the game, the Monsters spoiled the party for Power’s Corey Maggette who announced over the weekend that this would be his final season. Three Monsters finished the game in double digits as Larry Sanders led the way with 14 points, while Rodney Carney added 11, and Mario Chalmers finished with 10 points, including two early 4-pointers. On the Power side of the ball, Jeremy Pargo led the way with 18 points, while Maggette added 9 points and four rebounds in his farewell game.
Both Power and the 3 Headed Monsters have had their share of ups and downs throughout the season en route to Saturday’s game. Power experienced a rash of injuries losing both Chris Andersen and Cuttino Mobley for the season. In addition, Maggette and Quentin Richardson also missed time due to injuries.
After a 2-0 start, the 3 Headed Monsters went on to lose four straight before making a late season push to make the playoffs by way of tie-break. At the end of the regular season, the Monsters were in a six-way tie due to their 4-4 record. A favorable point differential made the difference, setting the stage for the Monsters to finish in 3rd place for the 2019 season with a 50-42 win.
The marquee game of the day drew a number of famous faces including LeBron James, Metta World Peace, Snoop Dogg, Terrell Owens, Jeanie Buss, Shareef O’Neal, and Neicey Nash to name a few. The matchup between the Killer 3’s and the Triplets did not disappoint. The sharp shooting of the Joe Johnson and Alan Anderson proved too much for the scrappy Killer 3’s. The score hovered at 41-39 before the Triplets went on a 9-0 to claim the 2019 title. Johnson, this season’s MVP, hit his sixth game-winner of the season as he sank a 3-pointer to end the game. Johnson’s 28 point performance comes after a week that saw him work out for a number of NBA teams.
“That’s the beauty of it. Me staying focused is not a hard thing. I knew what I got into this league for. I wanted to compete and play hard and play at a high level, and possibly win a championship. We had that opportunity and didn’t wanna blow it so although I had workouts for you know, NBA teams, I still wanted to stay focused.”
In addition Johnson’s 28 points, Alan Anderson and Jamario Moon each added 11 points while crashing the boards finishing with 8 and 9 rebounds, respectively. Stephen Jackson put up 19 points in a valiant effort as the Killer 3’s also got 8 points and four assists from CJ Watson. The Triplets finish their inaugural season at 9-1 while the Killer 3’s finish in second place at 6-4.