With Ron Artest, Danny Artest, Kareem Reid, A-Butta, Africa, The Beast and more all on the floor for this one, it doesn’t take a genius to see why there isn’t a spare seat in the stands. The media pen is also a little more cramped than usual, with an extra four or five camera crews in attendance for this contest. Come the tip-off, the players are anxious to justify the hype, and the first few minutes of the game make it clear why the park is full tonight.
On his first touch of the ball, Ron Artest wows the crowd with a behind-the-back crossover I’d never seen from him before, although he takes a spill seconds later and turns the ball over for an H3 layup. Adrian “A-Butta” Walton takes on the former NBA DPoY on the next trip down the floor, knocking down a three right between the Tru Warier’s eyes. Ron-Ron comes right back at him, icing a long bomb of his own at the other end. A-Butta is unable to hit again, however, although the next highlight isn’t far away, coming when Danny “The Guardian” Artest grabs a board takes off down the court, breaking his brother’s ankles at the halfcourt with a right-to-left crossover that forces him to foul to deny Danny an open path to the basket.
The rest of the half sees more classic streetball, with H3 hitting again and again from the perimeter while the Terror Squad put their muscle to use, grabbing numerous offensive boards for put-backs and second-chance layups. Their diminutive point guard, Kareem Reid, also makes his way inside for hard-fought buckets, including one ridiculous play in which he crosses his man over three times before skipping into the paint for a double-clutch and-one layup that leaves him on his back and the crowd on their feet. Tough layups at both ends keep the score close, with a short jumper by Terror Squad breaking the deadlock just before the half, at which point they lead 35-33.
The second half starts with more dribbling magic from Kareem Reid while Curt Stinson keeps the wheels turning for H3 with back-to-back trifectas and a tricky layup in traffic. The Artest brothers exchange buckets and harsh words before Danny lashes out at Kareem Reid, almost knocking his block off with a violent clothesline. The trash talk continues as Reid waits to receive the ball at the stripe, and his decision to square up with the 285-pound Artest results in his being clocked in the side of the head. The floor is instantly flooded with security and fans, but the scrap is broken up before it can develop into a royal rumble, although it takes a further fifteen minutes before the court can be cleared. Following words from EBC commissioner and CEO Greg Marius, both Reid and Artest are asked to leave the park, and the game restarts in earnest.
With two big names out of the game, A-Butta steps into the limelight once again, hitting a corner three before finding J-High for one of his own. Although H3’s Africa comes alive for the first time in the game, his running and gunning isn’t enough to match the Terror Squad’s relentless work down low, which helps them build a 74-68 lead with little over a minute left. H3 go the intentional foul route from here on out, and although another triple from J-High has them trailing only five with twenty-two seconds to go, Terror Squad are able to hold on for the 79-72 win.