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Corey Maggette leads Clippers-centric squad into Big3 title game


For four seasons, Corey Maggette and Quentin Richardson were teammates on the Los Angeles Clippers. Then, not long after Richardson left the team, Cuttino Mobley joined the Clippers and he and Maggette were teammates for three years.

All that familiarity has paid off in the Big3 this season as that core — along with Glen “Big Baby” Davis (he came to the Clippers after all the others had left) and Chris “Birdman” Anderson — have lifted Power to the championship game of the premier 3-on-3 league.

The Big3 Championship Game is tonight (Friday) between Power and 3’s Company — led by Dahntay Jones and Andre Emmett — at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. You can catch it starting at 8 pm ET on FOX, with the 3rd place match-up between Tri-State and 3 Headed Monsters first, followed by the championship game.

All season long Power has been the team to beat, having lost just one game (and avenging that loss last week). Last season Maggette played in just one Big3 game due to injury, but healthy this season he was named the league’s MVP and Best Captain not just because of his stats — 16.9 points and3.1 assists per game, both fourth in the league — but also because of his leadership in bringing the team together.

Power is a real team, and it’s not just Maggette’s carrying them. Big Baby Davis has stepped up all season (including hitting the game-winning free throws after attacking the rim and drawing the foul, and Chris “Birdman” Anderson won Defensive Player of the Year behind his 1.4 blocks per game. They have a Hall of Famer as coach in Nancy Lieberman, who also won Big3 Coach of the Year.

Power can beat you inside and out — while Maggette and Mobley will still knock down threes, most of Power’s damage is done inside. Davis is still a load on the block and can hit fadeaways, and Maggette is still strong, knows how to drive the lane and score at the rim. Power can play power ball.

3’s Company has the hottest player in the league in Emmett, who had 25 of the team’s 50 points in the semi-finals and has scored at least 20 points a game in four straight. If 3’s Company is going to pull the upset, it will be because he continues his unstoppable streak.

With him, Jones and Drew Gooden are the primary scorers at this point and get the bulk of the run. The team is coached by Michael Cooper.

The Big3 — co-founded by Ice Cube — has reached more goals in its second season. Television ratings, particularly among the 18-49 crowd, have gone up, and the games are now broadcast life on Friday nights. The buildings have been sold out. And the league added star power such as Amar’e Stoudemire and Nate Robinson this year (both play for Tri-State and will get a warm welcome in New York Friday).

The Big-3 is counting on a crowning moment to end their second season, something that will keep the buzz going and help the league grow heading into next season. Maggette may be the guy to get them one.

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