One of the things I've had the most fun following along with in early stages of Swoops are the single day competitions. This morning was the conclusion of the latest challenge, a Chibi Labs sponsored contest to see which player could combine for the most threes made, steals, and blocks, in a 24 hour time span. The 3&D Challenge, if you will. Teams rushed out into the lobbies and after a few thousand games, we looked into the data, and found our winner - Mega McGrady of the Denver Cyber Bombs. McGrady's night is almost worth a post of it's own, but given how incredible some of the single-game performances were during this challenge, it's too fun to not also take a look at three additional Swoopsters who were so close to that #1 spot.
At his rightful position at the top of this article is none other than the champion of the Chibi Labs 3&D Challenge, Mega McGrady.
Coming into this game against Da Bombers, McGrady had only been averaging a shade over 16 points a night for the Denver Cyber Bombs. Not a particularly potent scorer but an excellent defender who averages almost three combined steals and blocks. After three quarters of play, McGrady was up to 33 points, with nine threes and four steals, but the Cyber Bombs were down 74-65 as the rest of the team had been defused Da Bombers. That being said, McGrady has garnered a bit of a reputation for being a big game player. These challenge games are big time games, and winning these contests is a serious feather in the cap of any Swoopster.
Unfortunately for Da Bombers, McGrady took a trip to the haberdashery between quarters and was coming into the fourth looking to pluck a win.
After a serious of defensive stops and bucks to open up the final act of this game, it was a Mega McGrady three pointer that would tie the game 74-74, and on the next Cyber Bombs possession the ball would once again find McGrady who drilled another three to give them their first lead in ages - 77-76.
Da Bombers would make a three to put the game back in their hands at 82-79 with four minutes remaining, and a missed layup from McGrady threatened to give Da Bombers a five point swing as the clock dicked down. Committed to rectifying his mistake, McGrady ran down the court and swatted Swoopster-1352's shot off the glass right into Penny Pixel's hands. The Cyber Bombs would cut it to 82-81 and on the next defensive possession, Swoopster-1352 would step out of the paint and hoist up a three, but out of nowhere McGrady would swat their shot again, right into the hands of Denver's SG Reign Man!
After a bunch of back and forth play, with Da Bombers trying to deny McGrady the ball at all costs, Refresh Russell would sink a mid-range jumper to put the Cyber Bombs up with 24 seconds to go and Denver would be able to hold on for the win.
Mega McGrady's final line was 39 points on 12/24 shooting including 11/17 from three, 7 rebounds, three assists, 4 blocks, and 2 steals. Every bit of those 17 combined threes and stocks were needed for the Cyber Bombs to eek out the win, and would net McGrady the top spot in this contest.
Coming in at #2 is the winner of the first Swoops 24-hour challenge, Doge McDermott.
That first challenge, which was to see which Swoopster could accumulate the most points in a day's time, was dominated by Doge who ended up with 54,838 points. Given Doge's propensity for the long ball, the TRONer's lead scorer was naturally one of the favorites to come away with the win here as well - and boy did he get close.
The Globe TRONers rolled a lobby against the formidable Web3 Warriors, and Doge would be up against a pretty solid defensive unit. Definitely not the team you'd expect to put up a record setting performance against. That being said, on the very first possession Doge McDermott stepped into a three and sank it. The next score for the TRONers? Another Doge bomb, which he was fouled on for a four point play. Two more threes, a block, and a couple more buckets from Doge started to show that this had all the makings of an all-time singular performance.
Any suppositions about that just being a hot quarter were immediately bopped down by Doge, who didn't stop after one quarter, nor two, nor three... Ultimately, unlike McGrady's game, there wasn't too much drama in this one. Doge would finish with 55 points on 17/25 shooting, an unbelievable 13/16 from three, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal, and a block. 16 total threes and stocks and a legendary performance from one of the game's first legendary players as the Globe TRONer's sent the Web3 Warriors back to Netscape Navigator, 103-83.
I'm of the belief that karma exists in the basketball universe. For every make there's a miss, "Ball Don't Lie" is gospel and should be treated as such, etc. My beliefs were, if not confirmed, compounded after Aluminati and the Star Gods took it to Doge McDermott and the Globe TRONers just after McDermott's incredible performance.
Aluminati is most famously known for being the greatest three point shooter in the Swoops Universe. The long-distance specialist boasts an unimpeachable 100 3pt rating and has been making nearly 46% of their shots from distance in season 0.
There truly exists a reality in which he could win this challenge off three pointers alone.
This could have been the night to do it as well, as everything broke the Star Gods way as they went supernova on the Globe TRONers, beating them 107-73 and never coming close to losing the lead.
Aluminati had his third eye open (the one that helps track distance, presumably) and ended the night with 45 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, and a block. He shot an outstanding 16/24 from the floor including 12/18 from downtown, perhaps the most impressive shooting performance of their career to this point.
Despite nearly 50 different teams participating in this challenge, it seems that fate has aligned to keep these top four performers connected somehow. Da Bombers, who were sent careening down to earth by the superior firepower of the Denver Cyber Bombs and Mega McGrady, ended up picking the scraps up and regrouping for a nail biter against Swoops Dreams.
Da Bombers, who have chosen to leave their armaments unnamed, had been getting a big game out of Bomb #13...I mean Swoopster-1350. At the half he had drained a couple threes and picked up three steals and two blocks as well. Despite 1350 and the team holding Swoops Dream's starting SF Clutch to zero points, Da Bombers still found themselves down down three heading into the half 44-41.
In the half they pulled off a refueling, reloaded, and came out with a defensive game plan for the ages. I don't know the ins and outs of it, I wasn't in that hull of a locker room, but my read on it is that they allowed 1350 to go out and play free safety - picking off stray passes that flew through the air, pinning opponents shots to the windshield, and intercepting any loose rebounds that were up for grabs. Da Bombers held Swoops Dreams to 14 points in the third quarter and found themselves up three heading into the fourth.
Da Bombers were on a mission to not allow any miraculous comebacks after their game vs. the Globe TRONers but started the quarter off a little shaky. After matching buckets by both teams, 1350 stole the ball off a free agent but smoked the lay up on offense. A few minutes later, 1350 stole the ball again for his sixth of the night and opted to push the ball down and drain a three in transition. That put the lead to 14 for Da Bombers, who felt free to let off the gas a little bit and glide back to base.
They may have counted their hits before they were home however, as Swoops Dreams were hot on their tail and cut the lead to five with just under a minute remaining. With the game winding down, 1350 had the ball in his hands and nailed a three to push the lead back to eight, a little squeaky rubber on the landing, but they stuck it and got the win.
Swoopster-1350 ended the contest with 33 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists, 6 steals, 3 blocks, on 12/21 shooting and 6/10 from deep. 1350 was the only Swoopster to end up making this list (or the top ten!) with more stocks than threes made, and managed to only commit a single foul in the process. Seriously impressive.
After 1350's 15 combined stocks and threes, four players ended up tied for 5th place. Hustle Westbrook of the Goon Squad, Posty McBuckets of the North Side 416ers, Chef's Kitchen's Wall-E Szczerbiak, and the dominant big man, Big Blue of the Killer Bytes.
Thanks so much to Chibi Labs for sponsoring this challenge and of course a huge congrats to Mega McGrady and the rest of these players and teams on their stellar performances. Make sure you're on the look out for many more challenges in the upcoming weeks. Rumor has it there may be an upcoming prize that could play for your team right now...