LOS ANGELES — The 2015 regular season at the Drew League came to a close after 11 weeks. The final playoff spots needed to be decided, along with figuring out the first round matchups.
But everyone will be talking about M.H.P. SF Nick Young’s (Lakers, USC) game-winner of the summer in his team’s win over Problems.
In double overtime, Problems SF “Money” Mike Efevberha (Cal State Northridge) hit a game-tying three to give him a game-high 45 points. With time running out and the score tied at 104, Young took the inbounds pass, sent Gerry Blakes (Arizona State) sliding away with a behind-the-back dribble, and pulled up for a three-pointer at the buzzer.
When it went in, pandemonium ensued, and M.H.P. had won 107-104. Young, who finished with 22 points, raced back to the locker room in celebration along with DeMar DeRozan (Raptors, USC), who finished with a team-high 31 points and 13 rebounds.
Unfortunately for Problems, they needed to win this game to make the playoffs. With the loss, they dropped to 4-7, missing the playoffs for the first time in 15 years.
Problems wasn’t the only team to miss out on an opportunity to make the playoffs. In fact, if it weren’t for Tradition losing 66-60 to C.O.A., then Problems wouldn’t have even had a chance on Sunday. Despite having SG Seth Curry (Kings, Duke), Tradition couldn’t get the job done against a C.O.A. squad just playing out the string. Curry scored 26 points, but he didn’t score in the 4th quarter, while his Tradition teammates made only 13-of-50 FGs (26 percent).
PF Sherman Gay (Loyola Marymount) led C.O.A. with 19 points and eight rebounds, as last year’s runner-up finishes this season at 4-7. The Clozers, who finished 5-6 after a 68-57 win vs. Reapers, will get the eighth seed in the Russell Brown division.
The Drew League was shut down on Sunday for the M.H.P. vs. Problems game, and it was also on lockdown Saturday during the BB4L vs. ICEO contest. BB4L lined up with Baron Davis (UCLA), Casper Ware (Cal State Long Beach), and Keith Closs (Central Connecticut State). ICEO added PF Derrick Williams (Arizona) to a lineup that had already featured Stanley Johnson (Arizona), Solomon Hill (Arizona), and C Andre Drummond (Connecticut) in recent weeks.
This was a chippy battle, with the physical intensity requiring the officials to call technical fouls in the first quarter just to get control of the game. But despite all of the current and former NBA players on hand, the most impressive performer from this game was ICEO SG Katin Reinhardt (USC), who led ICEO to a 75-69 win.
Reinhardt, who had 18 points and eight rebounds, had multiple moves in the game that had the crowd’s attention.
“It’s just everything I do when I work out,” Reinhardt said about his ability to elude and lose defenders on the way to buckets. “I work out every single day … this is the stage where you can show it.”
BB4L struggled mightily shooting the ball, missing 26 of 28 three-pointers. Ware and Davis took 24 of the threes, missing 22 – a fact that wasn’t lost on players, coaches, or fans who were baffled by the excessive dose of jump shots.
The defending champions, Hank’s Houdini’s All-Stars, clinched the top seed in the Russell Brown division with a 76-63 win against NWA on Saturday.
Citi Team Blazers bounced back from their first loss of the season last week with a 91-74 beating of Sky Ryse on Sunday to finish 10-1 and clinch the top seed of the Keith Anderson division. The Blazers will face Metta World Peace (St. Johns) and his eight-seed Pandas, who got a game-winning jump shot from SG Aubrey McAlpine (Robert Morris) to defeat Hank’s Bulldogs 60-59 on Saturday to make the playoffs.
Author Law Murray is a USC Annenberg graduate, who writes for the ClipperBlog on the ESPN TrueHoop Network.