Jae Crowder, small forward for the Boston Celtics, made a special guest appearance this week at the Houston Summer Pro League as week four tipped off.
Game one of the evening featured this week’s top team Baseline Houston (3-0) against 832 (0-3). Baseline looked to continue their three-game win streak, but Monday’s game was a must-win for 832, as playoffs are quickly approaching.
Former New York Knick Touré Murray came out strong for Baseline snatching four back-to-back rebounds. Myron Allen took control of the pace of the game with seven points and two assists to give Baseline an early lead in the first quarter.
They continued to maintain their lead throughout the second quarter until the last two minutes of the half. 832 cut Baseline’s lead to two, going down at halftime 28-26.
First half leaders were Kasey Shepherd (832) with 10 points and two steals and Allen, who scored no additional points in the second.
832 came out strong to begin the second half earning their first lead of the night with 9:36 remaining in the third quarter. They would go to have an 8-0 run for the next four minutes.
With consistent errors coming from his players, Coach Watkins called a quick timeout to talk things over with Baseline. In the huddle, he stressed the importance of getting the next defensive stop to not allow the game to get away from them.
However, even with tight defense from Baseline, 832 still found a way to score and maintain their eight-point lead, 52-44, going into the final quarter of regulation.
If you recall, Baseline Houston has been in this situation before. Last Wednesday, the team came back from an 11-point deficit to defeat Houston Flight in the fourth quarter, after a dominating performance in the second half from Corey Brewer.
With the top spot in the league on the line, Baseline picked up the intensity to begin the fourth quarter, as Coach Watkins immediately ran full-court pressure defense. This led to two back-to-back steals and easy buckets for Baseline.
The pressure continued to mount for 832 to maintain their lead when key defensive threat Shawn Williams fouled out of the game with two minutes remaining. He finished the night with a double-double of 16 points, 17 rebounds. Williams also had three blocks and two steals.
832’s defense certainly felt the effects of not having Williams under the basket.
With 21 seconds left in regulation, Allen pulled out a critical shot under the basket to tie the game at 62.
Xavier Roberson had possession of the ball for 832 in the final seconds. With no timeouts remaining, his last-effort shot at the buzzer would not fall, and the league was headed into its first overtime this summer.
The teams battled back-and-forth throughout the two minute OT with Baseline seeing its first lead since early in the third quarter.
However, it would not last.
Roberson and 832 made two key defensive stops to put them at a solid lead of four with 10 seconds remaining in the first OT.
Allen traveled across the court, scored an easy layup opportunity and was fouled during the play as he had a chance to bring the team to within one.
But, Baseline had other plans.
Allen would intentionally miss the free throw, and just as planned, Pat Sullivan grabbed the rebound for the put back at the buzzer, which tied the game at 71 for a second OT.
With only one minute in the final OT, each possession was critical for the teams.
After trading leads for the next four shots, Allen was fouled with under one second on the clock.
He missed the first shot, which would send the crowd into an uproar as a third OT seemed inevitable, but after taking his time on the second attempt, Allen made the basket.
Baseline Houston defeated 832 in a tough match, 76-75. Allen scored 17 of the last 28 points for the team, as he finished with 28 points, three rebounds and two assists.
Final scores for the last two games of the night were:
Flight 713 - 76, It’s Jus Us – 59.
Competitive Choice – 79, BA Sports Ent. – 63.
photo credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images