3-on-3

The BIG3 is coming to Houston

The 3-on-3 half-court basketball league returns to Toyota Center on Friday night. Big3/Facebook

The BIG3 is coming to Houston and will feature some of the most competitive summer basketball in the world. Commissioner Clyde Drexler appeared on The Blitz to talk about his involvement with The Big3 and how the competition has significantly heated up in just its second year. The BIG3 was founded by actor and musician Ice Cube and entertainment executive Jeff Kwatinetz. “Those guys are incredibly addicted to the sport of basketball,” Drexler says of Ice Cube and Kwatinetz. 

Ex-NBA players such as Al Harrington and Amar’e Stoudemire will play half-court, 3-on-3 basketball. The eight teams will be coached by Hall of Fame coaches like Nancy Lieberman and Gary Payton. “We’ve got more Hall of Fame coaches than any other professional league in the world,” Drexler notes. “It’s a groundbreaking league,” he says. “We’re breaking barriers.” In its second season, the league will have plenty of new names to fill their rosters. “The BIG3 is here to stay.” The BIG3 not only makes stops around the country to put on a unique and entertaining show for basketball fans, but also gives back to the communities that they travel to.

Its Young3 program allows young basketball fans to play in tournaments while also making a difference in the communities that host the league. You won’t want to miss this opportunity to see what Drexler describes as “the best basketball being played around the world.” Week 1 will take over the Toyota Center on Friday, June 22. Game 1 begins at 6:30. Games will also be broadcast on Fox or FS1 each Friday night.

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Houston can win series on Sunday

Timely hitting helps Astros edge out D-backs to even series

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The Astros had two losses over the last 24 hours; one a game against the Diamondbacks in the series opener on Friday night, the other the news that their recovering ace, Justin Verlander, announced Saturday afternoon that he is opting to undergo Tommy John surgery. The decision and surgery will likely sideline Verlander through 2021 when his current contract with Houston ends.

With that, the Astros headwinds continued to increase, meaning a win to even the series with Arizona on Saturday would be a much-needed pick-me-up. Here's how they did:

Final Score: Astros 3, Diamondbacks 2.

Record: 26-26, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Enoli Paredes (3-2, 2.84 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Luke Weaver (1-8, 6.51 ERA).

D-backs score two on Javier who is pulled early

Kole Calhoun, who drove in four runs, including a home run in Friday's game, would start the scoring on Saturday with a solo home run off of Cristian Javier in the top of the second, giving Arizona an early 1-0 lead. Javier allowed another run in the top of the third, giving up a leadoff single that would move to third on a groundout then score on a sac fly, doubling the lead to 2-0.

Javier finished the third and tossed a 1-2-3 fourth, but whether it be due to a pre-determined pitch count or other situation, he would not go any further, ending his night there on just 77 pitches. His final line: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 1 HR, 77 P.

Astros grab a lead in the sixth

The Astros were able to cut the lead in half in the bottom of the third, getting a leadoff single by Josh Reddick, who would move to third after a walk and fielder's choice before scoring on an RBI-groundout by Jose Altuve, making it 2-1. Enoli Paredes was first out of Houston's bullpen, taking over for Javier in the top of the fifth and retiring six straight batters for two perfect frames.

Houston would get to Luke Weaver in the bottom of the sixth, getting a leadoff single by George Springer, who would score from first on an RBI-double by Altuve to tie the game. Altuve would come around as the go-ahead run later in the inning on an RBI-single by Kyle Tucker, knocking Weaver out of the game as the Astros took their first lead of the game, 3-2.

Houston evens the series and moves back up to .500

Josh James was the next reliever for Houston in the top of the seventh, and despite getting into a jam by issuing a one-out walk and hitting the next batter, he was able to get out of it. It was thanks to a great play by Michael Brantley, who started a double play by catching a lineout and throwing a runner out at second to end the inning.

Brooks Raley had the eighth and erased a one-out walk by retiring the next two batters to maintain the one-run lead. After a scoreless bottom of the eighth, the Astros turned to closer Ryan Pressly to get another save and finish the one-run game. Pressly would do so, as Houston would move back up to .500 and even the series 1-1 heading into the rubber game on Sunday.

Up Next: The finale of this series between Houston and Arizona, and Houston's last regular-season home game of 2020, will get underway at 1:10 PM Central on Sunday. Madison Bumgarner (0-4, 8.53) ERA will be on the mound for the D-backs, while Jose Urquidy (1-1, 2.70 ERA) will start for the Astros.

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