Al Jefferson made his BIG3 debut on Sunday in Indianapolis at his former home arena, Banker’s Life Fieldhouse, and helped his new squad Triplets to a season-opening win.
Big Al scored 11 points and, alongside seven-time NBA All-Star Joe Johnson, the Lisa Leslie coached Triplets were the first to 50, knocking off Aliens 50-40 to start off the season victoriously.
In his first game action since a brief stint in China last year, Big Al acquitted himself well to BIG 3 action. After 14 seasons in the NBA, Big Al officially retired earlier this year, but when he learned he could still compete in the BIG3 in a half-court setting, it was an opportunity that he couldn’t resist.
“When somebody told me I could play half-court basketball at a high level, that was my game,” said Jefferson. “Sign me up.”
A new team in the league, Triplets got off to a slow start while the Aliens started the game hot, building an early 12-2 lead. The Triplets closed the gap slightly before the Aliens eclipsed 25 points, which brought the game to halftime at a score of 26-20 in favor of the Aliens.
However, Big Al and Iso-Joe came out firing in the second half to lead the Triplets back into the game.
It was early in the second half that Al stepped out uncharacteristically to give the Triplets their first lead. After Johnson commanded a double team on a baseline drive, he shoveled out to the Big Fella beyond the arc, and No. 25 drilled a trey to put the Triplets in front 27-26 early in the second half. In addition to the 11 points in his BIG3 debut, Al grabbed four boards and had an assist and a block.
After Al’s triple gave Triplets the lead, they did not look back, and Johnson carried them to the finish line, scoring 27 points in the game, including a game-clinching floater over Oden to give the Triplets 50 points.
Next weekend, the BIG3 shifts to Charlotte at the Spectrum Center, where Big Al and the Triplets will square off against Trilogy, led by Jason Terry and James White. Trilogy lost their season opener to the 3 Headed Monsters 51-46.
Tip-off for the BIG3 next weekend starts on Saturday at noon ET, and coverage can be seen on CBS from 12-2 p.m. ET and on CBS Sports Network from 2-3 p.m. ET.