LOS ANGELES-The Drew League likes to go by the mantra of “No Excuse, Just Produce.” Sunday, in front of a pack gymnasium at Los Angeles Southwest College, Casper Ware Jr. probably had that phrase in mind when he dialed into that shooting zone that shooters sometime find themselves in.
The great ones have all been there: Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Larry Bird, and Jerry West have all experienced the zone. The Drew League, in its 43 years of existence, has seen scoring onslaughts before.
This is a regular occurrence for the pro-am summer basketball league.
Paul Pierce, James Harden, Brandon Jennings, DeMar DeRozan, and Durant, among others, have erupted with crazy scoring binges. But no one has lit up a Drew League game in one quarter quite the way Ware did against #JUGLIFE.
The first half of the Drew League championship game between Baron Davis’ BB4L squad and the Nick Young, JaVale McGee-led #JUGLIFE team was pretty pedestrian for Ware. At intermission, with former NBA guard and coach and now basketball analyst Mark Jackson sitting in attendance with a front row seat, Ware had an ordinary first two quarters of play with four points notched on the scorecard.
Those are not exactly numbers to write to write home about. But what Ware did in the third quarter of the ballgame is worth remembering. After struggling to get past LAUNFD by a not-so-comfortable 84-77 win, BB4L became the first team since 2007 to go undefeated throughout the season after its 103-76 takedown of #JUGLIFE in the title game.
It would not have happened if Ware, who signed a training camp deal with the Washington Wizards, had not caught fire in the pivotal third quarter. And that would be an understatement. BB4L had a slight cushion of 10 points (45-35) when Ware went on his scoring tear. Dropping one 3-point shot after another, Ware scored 27 of his 31 points in the third quarter to blow open the game for BB4L.
Along the way, Ware took the heart out of the #JUGLIFE team with his trey-making onslaught. There was nothing that Young, McGee or anybody else could do about it. Ware finished the game connecting on eight of his 13 3-point attempts.
The Drew League Finals MVP was directly responsible for BB4L outscoring #JUGLIFE 39-19 in the third period as he rained down five consecutive 3-point buckets to punctuate his dominating quarter.
Ware proved to be the biggest star on the court that was laced with NBA talent. Besides Young, McGee (Dallas Mavericks), and Davis (LA Clippers, Golden State Warriors, Charlotte Hornets), Detroit Pistons guard Stanley Johnson and Toronto Raptors swingman Terrence Ross were all on the floor to witness Ware’s scoring eruption.
No one had a bigger game, or had a bigger moment than Ware. McGee finished the game with 25 meaningless points. Johnson scored 22 points, while Ross chipped in 14 for BB4L. Clearly, though, it was Ware’s day in the sun.