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Winner stays.

That’s the norm on the playground http://www.chargersauthorizedshops.com/authentic-justin-jones-jersey , where a team playing pickup ball remains on the court until it is beaten.

And that’s the way Ice Cube insisted it had to be in the BIG3.

Win a championship, come back the next season with the team intact to defend the title.

”To me it goes back to the essence of 3-on-3, king of the court mentality,” Cube said.

The question is whether it’s fair to Trilogy, the undefeated champion from the inaugural season of the entertainer’s 3-on-3 league of former NBA players.

It wouldn’t work in major professional sports. But in the BIG3, back come Kenyon Martin, Al Harrington, Rashad McCants, James White and Dion Glover, who guaranteed themselves a job for this year by winning the title. They have the chance to defend their title against rivals that have bolstered by an influx of former NBA champions, All-Stars or Olympic gold medalists.

”We are at a disadvantage because we have kind of been exposed to what we have and what we’re capable of, going 10-0, so everybody’s done their homework Mike Hughes Color Rush Jersey ,” said the 33-year-old McCants. ”They know who we are. There’s a scouting report now, so it’s going to be a lot more difficult this year than it was last year.”

All the players in the league – other than those on Trilogy – who weren’t captains or co-captains went back into this year’s draft pool, with no promise of getting picked with the added talent that was available this year: Amare Stoudemire, Ron Artest, Carlos Boozer, Baron Davis and Nate Robinson signed on. It is unclear what players’ salaries are; the league has not publicly disclosed that information.

The only move for Triology coach Rick Mahorn was the addition of Dahntay Jones when rosters were expanded to six players. The 6-foot-4 McCants, last year’s No. 1 overall pick and leading scorer in the championship game, was promoted to a co-captain.

Cube doesn’t know if job security for the winners was a motivating factor for players who came aboard when he founded his league with entertainment executive Jeff Kwatinetz. McCants, who played four years in the NBA, a few more overseas and knows how hard it is to have a career playing basketball, takes pride in the gimmick even while acknowledging that it doesn’t work in his team’s favor.

”It’s a refreshing aspect to the league where you have bragging rights to say, `Hey, you guys got to go back into the combine and go through the draft all over again because you didn’t win Chase Edmonds Color Rush Jersey , and the winners prevail,”’ he said.

And then in pro sports sometimes they then break up practically the moment the victory celebration is over. Free agency is a benefit for players but at times a detriment to teams.

”We felt like fans are weary of, you get behind a team, they win it, and you don’t know if that same team is going to come back or not,” Cube said. ”You don’t know who’s going to leave, and I just think fans are sick of that. So to me, fans are not really getting into teams as much as they’re getting into players. So that’s the reason why I think there has to be a happy medium between what exists now in sports, which is free agency kind of run rampant, and a balance of what the fans really want.

”So there’s got to be something, so in our league we just eliminate that.”

Cube envisions a 12-team league playing twice a week in NBA arenas next season if the BIG3, trying to capitalize on the popularity of 3-on-3, which debuts in the Olympics in 2020 – is successful. That would make even more teams to beat for whoever wins this season’s title. But he believes not changing up the champ is the best approach.

”Like yo Daniel Castro Colorado Rockies Jersey , if you win it, you’re the champion, there’s no reason for you to make any changes,” he said. ”And the rest of the league has a measuring stick to draft because everybody goes back to the draft pool pretty much if you don’t win the championship, so you have to reorganize your thinking of your team to figure out how to beat this standard. So it just, to me, works better.”

Playing the Winnipeg Jets is exactly why Nashville coach Peter Laviolette wanted home-ice advantage in the NHL playoffs.

Even if it’s a round – or two – earlier than anyone really wants.

Laviolette’s Predators play Winnipeg in the Western Conference semifinals after turning in their best season in franchise history to grab the right to start and end a series in the place called ”Smashville.”

They edged out their Central Division rival by a mere three points for the Presidents’ Trophy, and this will be just the fifth series since 1990 between the NHL’s top two teams in the regular season.

”They wanted divisional battles, got them,” Laviolette said. ”This should be a big series.”

It’s the second straight postseason that division foes and the league’s top finishers meet in this round. Pittsburgh, which wound up beating Nashville in the Stanley Cup Final, advanced to the Eastern finals by downing the Capitals in Game 7 in Washington.

Winnipeg and Nashville played so well that this series has been anticipated for weeks, so good it could be a Cup Final despite the Predators winning the regular-season series 3-1-1. Nashville defenseman P.K. Subban dismissed such talk Thursday Chris Herndon Color Rush Jersey , noting this round remains a long way from the Stanley Cup Final.

A thrilling series with lots of speed and goals? That the Jets and Predators can provide.

”The thing about winning, and I’m sure you ask anybody who’s won a Cup, is the steps that it takes to get there,” Subban said. ”You have to go through some thick walls, and this is definitely one of the thickest walls that we’re going to have to get through to get there.”


Winnipeg goes against the defending Western Conference champs coming off the franchise’s first postseason series victory after relocating from Atlanta in 2011 with 10 Jets making their playoff debuts against the Wild. Winnipeg center Bryan Little says that makes the Jets the underdogs by just a little bit.

”It’s going to be a really tough series and a tight series, so I think that’s why everyone’s so excited about it,” Little said.

Some things to know before Game 1 on Friday night:

VEZINA FINALISTS

Goalies for both the Jets and Predators are finalists for the Vezina Trophy with Nashville veteran Pekka Rinne looking to win the award in his fourth try.

Connor Hellebuyck made his postseason debut, shutting out Minnesota twice with a 1.94 goals-against average and .924 save percentage. Rinne’s numbers weren’t nearly as glitzy against Colorado, but he tightened up over the final three games with a 1.34 GAA and .951 save percentage, including a shutout in the series clincher.

HOME AND ROAD

Nobody was better in the NHL at home than the Jets who went 32-7-2, and they have won 12 straight in Winnipeg, including all three in ousting Minnesota. The Jets haven’t lost at home since Feb. 27 – to Nashville. The Predators were the league’s best away from home (25-9-7). The Predators won twice on the road in the first round, including clinching in Colorado in Game 6.

OFFENSIVE FIREPOWER

Even with Rinne and Hellebuyck in net DaeSean Hamilton Color Rush Jersey , these teams combined for 42 goals in five games in the regular season with Nashville outscoring the Jets 22-20. It was the most goals the Jets scored against any team, while they also gave up the most goals to any opponent. The Jets also ranked second in the regular season for both most goals (273) and average goals per game (3.33)

SHUT DOWN WHO?

Nashville’s top trio is nicknamed the ”JOFA” line for Ryan Johansen, Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson. But the Predators’ top scoring line against Colorado was their third line of center Nick Bonino with Austin Watson and Colton Sissons, who combined for 19 points. The Jets can match Nashville’s scoring depth with seven players scoring at least 43 points in the regular season led by Blake Wheeler (91 points) and Patrik Laine (team-high 44 goals).

SO DEFENSIVE

Nashville has four of the NHL’s best defensemen in Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis, Subban and Mattias Ekholm. But the group that led the league with 55 goals only had one goal in the first round, and that came in Game 6 from Ekholm. Subban says defending comes first for a team that ranked second in the regular season in allowing both the second-fewest goals (204) and average goals per game (2.49).



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