For the first time in the league’s short history, the BIG3 took its talents to the Windy City and Chicago did not disappoint. Native Chicagoans Will Bynum, Corey Maggette, and Quentin Richardson all left Chi-Town with wins and bolstered their teams’ positions as the playoffs approach.
In the first game, the Ghost Ballers faced Tri-State as both teams sat at 2-3 outside the playoff race and looking in. After starting 2-0, the Ghost Ballers had dropped three straight prior to arriving at Allstate Arena. Hoping to right the ship, the team made a couple of roster moves during the bye week. After waiving Carlos Boozer, the Ballers trade Jamario Moon to the Triplets in exchange for Chris Johnson. The trade proved beneficial as Johnson made his presence felt immediately scoring 12 points on 4-for-7 shooting as the Ballers defeated Tri-State 50-38. Former Chicago Bull Nate Robinson returned to the lineup for Tri-State after suffering an eye socket injury two weeks ago in Brooklyn and added 7 points. At the end, it was not enough to overcome 14 points from Mike Taylor, 13 from Ricky Davis, and the balanced inside-outside attack that the Johnson acquisition has given the Ghost Ballers. Amar’e Stoudemire led Tri-State with 10 points and four rebounds.
The second game saw the defending champion Power taking on an Enemies team that looked to put another game in the win column after last week’s bye. The Enemies were without captain Gilbert Arenas and stuck in a multi-team tie for third in the standings. Cuttino Mobley was out, but it was the first game with Carlos Boozer who was picked up after being waived by the Ghost Ballers. The Enemies started strong but eventually, the mismatches created by Lieberman and company took their toll. Power has a strong Chicago connection with half their roster, Julian Wright, Corey Maggette, and Quentin Richardson hailing from the Windy City and Carlos Boozer having played there as part of the Bulls. Maggette led Power with 16 points and six rebounds while Richardson added 12. Enemies’ Perry Jones led all scorers with 20 points and nine rebounds while Royce White added 10 points and five rebounds. Craig Smith, who was the league’s third leading scorer, was held to just 4 points. Power moved to 5-1 while the Enemies dropped to 3-3.
Aside from Power and the Triplets, this weekend was a must-win for pretty much the rest of the league. The Killer 3’s, once tied for first place, suffered their second straight loss. Meanwhile, Bivouac is poised to make a strong end of season run after a couple of early losses. Chicago native Will Bynum was back in the lineup after missing two weeks due to a rib injury and he made his presence felt. In front of friends and family, Bynum broke the BIG3 single game scoring record, torching the Killer 3’s for 33 points. After the game, Bivouac coach Reggie Theus joked that Bynum needed 60 tickets so he had to show out. That is an understatement. Bynum went 12-for-20 but also led the team in rebounds with eight boards. To add icing to the cake, Bynum scored the game winning bucket to move Bivouac to 4-3; the same record as the Killer 3’s. Stephen Jackson scored 22 points and pulled down eleven rebounds for the Killer 3’s while Josh Smith added 11 points for Bivouac. Both teams are off next weekend before finishing up the regular season in Dallas.
Half of the league is off next week but the Ghost Ballers, Trilogy, Enemies, 3 Headed Monsters, Tri-State, and Power all head to the Sunshine State to battle it out in Miami with each game holding playoff implications.