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BIG3 Adding the ‘Fireball’ Along with Other Rule Changes for the Upcoming Season

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It feels like yesterday when Ice Cube first announced the formation of his new basketball league, the BIG3.

Yet here we are with the league having already been around for three full seasons and they are now heading into year four.

Ahead of their fourth season, the BIG3 has announced some new rule changes that are sure to get viewers fired up for the upcoming season.

The biggest of these changes is the adaption of the “Fireball”, which will get NBA Jam fans everywhere excited to watch the BIG3.

For those who may not have played the classic arcade game, when a player got hot in NBA Jam, the ball would literally catch fire and would turn your player into a superhuman version of themselves.

Now the BIG3 is going to try to incorporate that level of excitement into their game, although I don’t believe they will actually be setting basketballs on fire.

Instead teams will be able to challenge a foul call by going to battle with a one-on-one possession where the winner gets the ball.

Along with that rule change, the promo Ice Cube released indicates that they may try to incorporate that fireball into their television broadcasts.

The BIG3 is also removing some restrictions on their player pool, by allowing players without previous professional basketball experience to try out. They are also lowering the age limit from 27 to 22, to remove the stigma that the BIG3 is just a retirement league.

All of these changes should be interesting to watch unfold, as the BIG3 continues to try evolve as a league over time.

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Basketball

Toronto Raptors Defeat The Atlanta Hawks Despite Trae Young’s Big Performance

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Simply put, Trae Young needs more help in Atlanta.

The star point guard put together another stellar performance with 42 points, 6 rebounds, and a season-high 15 assists, but his Atlanta Hawks still fell to the Toronto Raptors 122-117.

Young was unbelievable yet again, but his heroics and flashy plays couldn’t make up from the lack of production from his other Hawks teammates.

Atlanta was winning for most of the contest, but the Raptors took back control in the second half with Norman Powell leading the comeback effort with 27 points, including 17 in the fourth quarter alone.

Raptors point guard Fred VanVleet rounded out Toronto’s scoring efforts with 20 points, and forward Pascal Siakam contributed 18 points, with the duo also both making plays on the defensive end.

With Atlanta currently having the second-worst record in the NBA at 10-34, the victory was expected for Toronto, who has now moved to third place in the Eastern Conference standings.

However, the biggest takeaway from the game is another alarming example that the Hawks must give Young reinforcements.

In only his second year in the NBA, the Oklahoma product has repeatedly taken over games with his incredible shooting stroke and passing ability, just to have his efforts go to waste due to the lack of veteran talent on Atlanta’s roster.

If the Hawks want to get serious about their future, big moves will have to be made so the franchise doesn’t waste Young’s All-Star caliber talent.

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Basketball

Houston Rockets Waste Russell Westbrook’s Historic Triple-Double, Blowing Lead Late to the Thunder

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Russell Westbrook made history on Monday night, putting together a great performance against his former team, the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Westbrook recorded his eighth triple-double of the season, scoring 32 points with 11 rebounds and 12 assists.

In doing so, Westbrook joined LeBron James as the only players in NBA history to ever record a triple-double against every team in the league.

Behind Westbrook’s great play, the Rockets appeared to be cruising towards another victory at home.

Going into the fourth quarter, Houston held a 87-71 lead over the Thunder. But OKC is one of the best fourth quarter teams in the NBA and they showed it by stunning the Rockets in the game’s final period.

Oklahoma City outscored Houston 41-20 in the fourth quarter, with Dennis Schroder and Danilo Gallinari leading the charge.

Gallinari scored 12 points, draining three three-point shots, meanwhile Schroder led the team with 15 fourth quarter points.

In the first half of the game, it was Chris Paul that carried the Thunder, keeping them afloat when the rest of their offense was stagnant.

Paul led the team in scoring with 28 points, but 27 of those points came in the first half.

As the game progressed, the Thunder were able to creep back into it because of some really bad shooting by James Harden.

Harden scored 29 points, but struggled mightily behind the three-point line, as he shot an atrocious 1-17 from beyond the arc.

Houston has now lost four-straight games, dropping the last three of those contests at home.

The losing streak has dropped the Rockets to the sixth seed in the Western Conference, where they currently sit just two games ahead of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

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Basketball

Trail Blazers Trade Kent Bazemore to the Kings in Exchange for a Package Headlined By Trevor Ariza

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The Portland Trail Blazers have gone through a very disappointing season after reaching the Western Conference Finals last year.

Halfway through the season, Portland is just as close to being in the lottery as they are to being in the playoffs.

Now in a move that helps them not only shake up their roster, but also save money, the Trail Blazers have traded a few key pieces of their rotation to the Sacramento Kings.

Portland traded Kent Bazemore and Anthony Tolliver to Sacramento, in a move that saves them $12.3 million on their tax sheet.

Bazemore and Tolliver make a combined $21.8 million, whereas Trevor Ariza, Wenyen Gabriel and Caleb Swanigan make just $15.7 million. When factoring in the luxury tax costs, this is a huge money-saver for the Blazers.

They also receive a solid defensive wing in the process, as Ariza remains a solid defender, even at 34 years old.

While Ariza is playing good defense, the rest of his numbers are down across the board, as he is averaging just six points per game. He is also averaging less than 25 minutes per game for the first time in a decade.

Still, Ariza is the type of prototypical 3-and-D wing that the Trail Blazers need. Despite his diminished scoring stats, Ariza is shooting 35% from three-point range.

Ariza is also just a year removed from averaging 14.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game for the Washington Wizards.

Meanwhile the Kings probably landed the best player that is involved in this trade, as Kent Bazemore is closer to his prime than Ariza and is a more effective scorer.

Still, Sacramento is looking like they are heading to the lottery yet again and adding the two second round picks was likely the primary motivator for the rebuilding Kings.

Another benefit of this deal for Sacramento is that they clear Ariza’s near $13 million contract off the books next year and pick up two expiring contracts in Bazemore and Tolliver.

It would not be surprising to see more deals made by both of these teams ahead of the deadline, as neither looks to be making a legitimate run at a title this year.

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