After a short week in which only three games were played, the BIG3 returned in full force last weekend by descending upon the Chicago area on Saturday and Milwaukee on Sunday. Both of the league's top teams, Power and the Triplets, were in action and did not disappoint. They did it in different ways, but both teams ended up picking up yet another win.
On the other side of the coin, the Ball Hogs remained winless on the season, and are now 1-14 dating back to the start of 2018. Rick Barry's squad has a lot of work to do if they're going to avoid becoming the only team in BIG3 history to finish a season without a single win. After a bye this week, they'll take on a strong Bivouac team in Week 9.
With a couple of familiar teams on top, here are this week's BIG3 Power Rankings.
1. (Last week 1) Power, 5-1
The defending champs picked up right where they left off after a bye week, putting together a workmanlike win over a good Enemies team. Without Cuttino Mobley, Power was led by reigning MVP Corey Maggette, who finished with 16 points -- actually a season-low, which tells you how well he's played this season. Power also showcased its defense, holding Enemies big man Craig Smith to just four points (his previous season-low was 18). Just one win away from locking up a playoff spot, Power is clicking on all cylinders.
2. (2) Triplets, 6-1
The Triplets have a half-game edge on Power and will have their bye this week, but they nearly suffered their second loss of the season on Sunday in Milwaukee. At one point they trailed the 3 Headed Monsters 37-23, but leading MVP candidate Joe Johnson went to work, scoring 18 of his 26 points in the second half including the most cold-blooded game-winner we've seen this season -- a four-pointer while trailing 48-46.
It was the highlight of the year so far, while the Triplets become the first BIG3 team to clinch a playoff spot, and are guaranteed to finish with one of the league's top two records.
3. (10) Bivouac, 4-3
Talk about clutch wins. Bivouac desperately needed a victory to keep pace in the playoff race, and they dealt the Killer 3's their third loss of the season thanks to Will Bynum's BIG3 single-game record 33 points. Bynum's jaw-dropping performance fittingly earned him BIG3 Player of the Week honors, and more importantly kept Bivouac very much alive in the playoff hunt.
4. (4) Trilogy, 4-2
It wasn't the most impressive of wins, but Trilogy got the job done after trailing the winless Ball Hogs, 25-13, at halftime. Led by David Hawkins' 19 points, Trilogy picked up its fourth straight win after dropping the first two games of the season. They also got a massive boost from Samardo Samuels, who dropped 17 points in his BIG3 debut. Trilogy is now in playoff position with a matchup with the Ghost Ballers looming on Saturday.
5. (3) Killer 3's, 4-3
The Killer 3's missed a golden opportunity to separate themselves in the playoff race by losing to Trilogy, but they're still one of the strongest teams in the league. Stephen Jackson led the way with 22 points and 11 rebounds, but the team struggled to put the ball in the basket while having absolutely no answer for Bynum's offensive onslaught. The Killer 3's will have a bye this week and look to regroup.
6. (11) Ghost Ballers, 3-3
The Ghost Ballers got themselves right back into the playoff race with their first win since Week 2 -- a convincing 50-38 thumping of Tri-State. Mike Taylor scored 14 points to lead a balanced offensive attack that saw Ricky Davis finish with 13 and Chris Johnson with 12. Mike Bibby added five assists, as the Ghost Ballers face a matchup with Trilogy on Saturday with huge playoff implications.
7. (7) Aliens, 3-4
Tiny Archibald's squad will likely miss the playoffs, but they put up a big 50-35 win over 3's Company to stay alive mathematically. The big story was Greg Oden, who tied a season-high with 18 points andabout his time in the BIG3. Brandon rush added 17 points, including four 3-pointers, for the Aliens.
8. (5) Enemies, 3-3
The Enemies ran into a buzzsaw Power team, and lost valuable ground in the playoff race with a 50-41 loss. They clearly missed Gilbert Arenas, as the Power defense focused on shutting down Craig Smith, who was held 12 points below his previous season-low. Despite the loss, Perry Jones was a bright spot with 20 points and an impressive windmill dunk.
9. (8) 3's Company, 3-4
Andre Emmett continued his scoring tear with 19 points, but it wasn't enough to give 3's Company a much-needed win over the Aliens. The loss means Michael Cooper's squad will need a miracle to get into the playoffs, even with a potential win in Week 9 to finish the regular season at 4-4.
10. (9) 3 Headed Monsters, 2-4
It was almost an improbable win for Gary Payton's squad, but Joe Johnson put an end to that with his devastating game-winner. Mario Chalmers led the way with 16 points for the 3 Headed Monsters and Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf broke out of his slump with 14 points, but it looks like they'll end up missing the playoffs barring a wild next couple of weeks.
11. (6) Tri-State, 2-4
What looked like a promising Tri-State roster has never been able to put it together, as they fell to 2-4 with a brutal loss to the Ghost Ballers. Nate Robinson put on a show with a couple of fancy moves, but overall it was another disappointing week. Amar'e Stoudemire put up a season-low 10 points while Robert Hite paced the team with 11.
12. (12) Ball Hogs, 0-7
No surprise to see the BIG3's only winless team at the bottom of the Power Rankings once again, but this time they at least looked like they might pick up a victory. It took a furious second-half run by Trilogy to thwart the valiant effort from the Ball Hogs, who received 13 points from DeShawn Stevenson and 12 from newcomer Xavier Silas. The Ball Hogs will have a bye this week, then one more chance to get their first win of the season in Week 9.