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SBNation.com NBA 3-On-3 Tournament: Conference Finals Set

After three full rounds of SB Nation's NBA 3 on 3 Tournament, the Heat, Lakers and both Leftover squads are headed to the conference finals.

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NBA 3 on 3 Results -- Heat Champs Again!

When you think of the best threesome of NBA teammates, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh almost immediately come to mind. In SB Nation's NBA 3 on 3 Tournament, it was indeed the Three Amigos from Miami who won the title, following up on their NBA Championship from last June.

In the Final the Heat defeated an upstart team of players who failed to make their own squad's 3 on 3 selections. The West Leftover team of James Harden, Zach Randolph and Pau Gasol tore through the Western Conference, upsetting the San Antonio Spurs (Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan) and Los Angeles Lakers (Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard) along the way. But the Leftovers had no more miracles left against the mighty Heat.

In some bizarre, perhaps even petulant voting from our panel of experts, the Heat were barely considered favorites in this series, being given just a 53 percent chance to win any given game. But as has been the case throughout the tournament, the dice were once again very kind to the Heat, as the rolls came back 38 and 15.

In fact, in five series, all of which the Heat swept, only one out of the ten rolls that determined their fate was greater than 50. Which means that the Heat would have won at least four of those series even had they not been heavy favorites (which of course they were).

The old saying goes that it's better to be lucky than good, and in this Tournament the Heat were both. They were favored in every matchup (usually by a wide margin) and they benefited from very friendly dice as well. So although there were many upsets along the way, it's difficult to argue with the eventual champion: the Miami Heat now hold the mythical title of best 3 on 3 team in the NBA.

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NBA 3 on 3 Finals -- Heat vs. West Leftovers

Well, it's finally here. The long-awaited (and I do mean LONG awaited) Final of SB Nation's NBA 3 on 3 Tournament. We started this thought experiment a little over a month ago, and now, after 30 separate meetings between fictitious 3 on 3 teams determined in part by random rolls of dice, we have finally reached the end.

From the east we have the team you think of when you think NBA threesome, the team that won the NBA title last June, the Miami Heat. Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh are theoretically perfect for this theoretical competition, and they marched through the Eastern Conference without losing a single game. They can match up with small teams or big teams because of James' versatility, and in the final, he'll have to be big indeed.

Because their opponent in the Finals is the West Leftovers team. When I created a 16th Western Conference team from the best players available who were not chosen for their own teams, it was really just to fill out the bracket. Obviously I knew that James Harden, Zach Randolph and Pau Gasol could be pretty good -- but this good? Western Conference 3 on 3 champs good? I guess I really know how to pick 'em. Obviously these three have had a little extra (fictitious) motivation -- after being snubbed by their own teams, they have something to prove.

Let's see what our panel of experts has to say.

  • Tom Ziller, SB Nation NBA, Sactown Royalty -- Miami wins 16 of 20
  • Andrew Sharp, SB Nation NBA -- Leftovers win 16 of 20
  • Steve Perrin, SB Nation NBA, Clips Nation -- Miami wins 15 of 20
  • J.R. Wilco, Pounding the Rock -- Leftovers win 13 of 20
  • Adam Francis, Raptors HQ -- Miami wins 11 of 20
  • Probability to win any given game -- Miami 53 percent; Leftovers 47 percent
  • Probability to win series - Lakers 54.49 percent; Leftovers 45.51 percent

Expert Comments:

I'm ready to vote James Harden as tournament MVP, but Lord, a leftover team cannot win the title! LeBron and Wade are just too much, and Miami legitimately have the three best players on the court in this one, assuming Wade's healthy. -- Ziller

Well, they've made it this far... Clearly the Leftovers are working with a whole 'nother level of magic in this alternate universe. So, here in the Finals, Pau dominates Bosh, Z-BO keeps Bron in check down low (and Bron is out of sync on the perimeter), and James Harden redeems himself for the 2012 Finals. Not THAT crazy, right? Not as crazy as this team beating the Lakers? BELIEVE IN THE LEFTOVERS. -- Sharp

Let's call Wade-Harden a slight win for Miami, Bosh-Pau a slight win for the Westovers. But LeBron has a massive advantage against Z-Bo, right? He's got the size to actually hang with Zach on defense, but Randolph can't possibly check Bron when the Heat have the ball. The madness stops today. -- Perrin

There is no force that can withstand the wonder that is the West leftovers team. I will admit that at the beginning, I had denigrated the very idea of Westovers. I called them a lot of names, but It is finally clear to me that the Amalgam of Abomination cannot be stopped, Not even by the world champion three-man team that it seemed as if this tournament was created for.Sorry LeBron, Wade, and the other guy, Maybe next year. -- Wilco

This one's as close as it gets for me. The West Leftovers' size and ability to spread the floor, versus the Heat's multi-skilled threesome, equally able to go inside and out. In the end for me it's LeBron that makes the difference. He's got the size and athleticism to bother Randolph on D, and the quicks and power to go through and around him on O. The rest of the match-ups are a toss-up, but LeBron leads the Heat to the 3 on 3 title. -- Francis

The Bottom Line

OK. Maybe this tournament really has gone on a little too long. Our panel of judges is all over the map on this one. A few have simply decided to give in to the mystical power of the Leftovers, while others are sticking to the conventional wisdom. In the final analysis, Miami is a slight 53 percent favorite to win any single game, certainly the smallest advantage they've had here.

Miami needs the good rolls for really the first time in the tournament -- 53 or lower is a Heat victory, 54 or higher is a win for the Westovers.

What do you think?

The results will be posted at 5 p.m. ET.

For a complete look at the SB Nation 3 on 3 Tournament, check back with this StoryStream.

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NBA 3 on 3 Results -- The Lakers have fallen

From the beginning of SB Nation's hypothetical NBA 3 on 3 Tournament, the suspicion has been that the Miami Heat would face the Los Angeles Lakers in the Finals. After all, what single NBA team could offer a threesome to compete with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh from Miami or Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard from the Lakers? Indeed, no single team could beat the Lakers -- but three players from the different teams did.

At the beginning of the tournament, we created two extra teams, one from each conference, in order to round out the tournament field to 32 and avoid first round byes. Those extra teams were comprised of players that were left off their own teams' three man selections. In the West, that ended up being James Harden of the Thunder, Zach Randolph of the Grizzlies and Pau Gasol of the Lakers. The Leftovers team faced Pau's teammates in the Western Conference Finals and upset the favored Lakers. L.A. was given a 60 percent chance of winning any single game against the Leftovers by our panel of experts, but the random element of rolling dice to determine the winners has produced several upsets in this tournament and it did so once again. With the Lakers wanting rolls of 60 or below, the first roll came up huge -- a 94. Game 2 didn't go much better for the favorites -- an 84 resulted in the purple and gold being swept from the tournament.

I was a little surprised at how relatively close my fellow panelists called this match. In fact, two of the five actually favored the Leftovers. But in the end, not a single panelist rated the Lakers better than a 75 percent favorite, so these rolls would almost certainly have doomed them no matter who was on the panel.

The Leftovers now move on to face the Heat in the Finals of this crazy 3 on 3 Tournament. No threesome from any NBA team could down the Lakers, and none could beat the Heat either. But maybe this trio of leftovers from three different teams is the group that can defeat the NBA champs.

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NBA 3 on 3 Conf Finals -- Lakers vs. Leftovers

Just as in the Eastern Conference, where the superstar-laden Miami Heat faced a team of castoffs in the Conference Final, the Western Conference Final of SB Nation's NBA 3 on 3 Tournament features the superstars of the Los Angeles Lakers versus another team of leftovers. The winner of this one will face the Heat in the Final.

The Lakers team has three MVP trophies, three NBA Defensive Player of the Year trophies, and 28 All Star Game selections between them. Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard seem like an unbeatable threesome featuring a definitive point guard, a definitive scoring wing and a definitive center. They've advanced to the West Final by defeating Golden State, Phoenix and Dallas and they've been heavily favored in each of those matchups.

The West Leftovers have something to prove here. James Harden, Pau Gasol and Zach Randolph have plenty of awards hardware themselves, and they can't be happy with the (fictitious) snubs of being left off their original rosters. Gasol in particular, a player just as important to the Lakers last two championships as Bryant, must relish the idea of playing against Bryant and the Laker-come-latelies rather than playing with Bryant -- at least this way he figures to see the ball from time to time. The real question of this matchup boils down to who defends Bryant and who does he defend. But if Gasol and Bryant end up going at each other, watch out.

Let's see what our panel of experts has to say.

  • Tom Ziller, SB Nation NBA, Sactown Royalty -- Lakers win 15 of 20
  • Andrew Sharp, SB Nation NBA -- Lakers win 15 of 20
  • Steve Perrin, SB Nation NBA, Clips Nation -- Lakers win 13 of 20
  • J.A. Sherman, Welcome to Loud City -- Leftovers win 12 of 20
  • Adam Francis, Raptors HQ -- Leftovers win 11 of 20
  • Probability to win any given game -- Lakers 60 percent; Leftovers 40 percent
  • Probability to win series - Lakers 64.8 percent; Leftovers 35.2 percent

Expert Comments:

I have a weird internally polarizing issue with regards to these Lakers, and it's manifesting in the 3 on 3 tournament. The Kings fan in me wants to pour gasoline onto the team and shove it into Kilauea. But the basketball fan in me honestly cannot wait to see Nash and Howard together. My insides might destroy themselves. -- Ziller

Z-BO and Pau are not going down easy! Sure, they only win five games in this projection, but that's more than just about any other team has won against L.A. in this tournament. Harden could give them problems, and I'm counting on Dwight spacing out for at least a handful of games here. But yes, the Lakers still advance, and now we're all looking ahead to the showdown with Miami. -- Sharp

You know Gasol thought he should have gotten a lot more touches last season, and you know he knows that he's getting even fewer this season. Playing against the 'bigger' three Lakers would be a huge motivator for him. People forget how good he is because he's been so willing to blend in L.A. He won't blend in this one. He makes it close, but the Leftovers can't stop either Bryant or Howard so the Lakers still win. -- Perrin

This is such an enticing matchup because it might prove once and for all if Gasol is better off without Kobe. I could see Gasol coming out super-aggressive against the Laker squad, running high pick and rolls with both Randolph and Harden, forcing LA to switch Howard onto him. Big mistake. That would free up Randolph to batter Kobe down low, and that has to be a formula that Z-Bo dreams of fortnightly. The Lakers would of course be tough to stop on offense, but in the end I think we can all reasonably rely on Kobe to force too many perimeters and shoot his squad right out of the game. Leftovers advance! -- Sherman

This one goes down to the wire. I think the West Leftovers are best suited to knock the Lake Show off by forcing Dwight to guard their stretch 4's on the perimeter, but Kobe won't let his club go easily into the night. In the end though, the Randolph/Gasol combo is too much size for LA to overcome. -- Francis

The Bottom Line

Wow, two of the panelists are picking the Leftovers, without even resorting to the Hack-a-Dwight (or without referencing it at any rate). That's a good Leftover team no doubt, but the Lakers still come out of this process with a 60 percent chance of winning any single game. That's much tighter than any other matchup they've faced in this tournament, and we've certainly seen bigger upsets.

It's all up to the dice now. The Lakers need rolls of 60 or lower to win while the Leftovers will be looking for 61 or higher.

What do you think?

The results will be posted at 5 p.m. ET.

For a complete look at the SB Nation 3 on 3 Tournament, check back with this StoryStream.

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NBA 3 on 3 Results -- Heat Advance to Finals, duh

To the surprise of exactly no one, the Miami Heat emerged from the Eastern Conference to advance to the Finals of SB Nation's NBA 3 on 3 Tournament. The Heat, after all, won the real NBA title last year playing 5 on 5, and they did that with three dominant players and no much beyond those three. So how great would they be at 3 on 3?

Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh did have their first close game of the entire tournament however. Playing against the East Leftovers team comprised of Brandon Jennings, Gerald Wallace and Roy Hibbert, the Heat were given a 75 percent chance of winning any given game by our panel of experts. As you know, once the odds are set, 10 sided dice are rolled to randomly determine the winner of each game according to the odds. Through three rounds and six games, the Heat had been both good and lucky, entering each game as a heavy favorite and never seeing a roll greater than 49 (big rolls equal upsets). Against the Leftovers, the first roll came up 44, continuing the trend and giving Miami Game 1. But the second roll was a 74 -- close but no cigar for the Leftovers, as a 76 or higher would have meant a Miami loss. Just for grins, I rolled the dice again to see what would have happened in a Game 3 and it came up 92 -- the Leftovers would have won Game 3 and advanced had a couple of judges given them just a game or two more in their predictions.

But no, it's the Heat moving on, and really, it wouldn't be right if if were anybody else. We'll find out tomorrow who their opponent will be in the Finals, whether we'll get the long-anticipated Heat-Lakers showdown or if the West Leftovers can pull off the upset the East Leftovers could not.

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NBA 3 on 3 Conf Finals -- Heat Vs. Leftovers

Everyone expected the Miami Heat's big three to make it deep into SB Nation's NBA 3 on 3 Tournament. But no one expected their Eastern Conference Finals opponent to be a bunch of castoffs.

The Heat have avoided all the upsets with their made-for-this-tournament lineup of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. James is the league's reigning MVP and capable of playing any position from the 1 to the 4, while Wade and Bosh are two of the most versatile and talented players at their positions. This team has talent and versatility galore, and it's no surprise that they are waltzing through this thing. It's actually too bad that they haven't faced stiffer competition in the East; Chicago's trio might have pushed them, it would have been interesting to see Boston's Big Three against them, and Philadelphia would have presented some difficulties with Bynum. Instead the Heat have breezed past Washington, New York and Detroit to get to this point.

The East Leftover squad was created to fill out a 16 team Eastern Conference bracket. The team was built from the best of the leftover players not selected for their own teams. That ended up being Brandon Jennings from the Bucks, Gerald Wallace from the Nets and Roy Hibbert from the Pacers. Hibbert is the only other player in the East after Bynum capable of presenting a true matchup challenge to the Heat, and if he can dominate Bosh inside the Eastovers might make this interesting. But even if Hibbert is great it would seem that the Heat have too much. The Leftovers defeated the Sixers, and then upset the Bulls and the Celtics to get to this point, so it's not as if they came in the back door.

Let's see what our panel of experts has to say.

  • Tom Ziller, SB Nation NBA, Sactown Royalty -- Miami wins 15 of 20
  • Steve Perrin, SB Nation NBA, Clips Nation -- Miami wins 14 of 20
  • Frank Madden, Brew Hoop -- Miami wins 13 of 20
  • CA Clark, Silver Screen and Roll -- Miami wins 18 of 20
  • Adam Francis, Raptors HQ -- Miami wins 15 of 20
  • Probability to win any given game -- Miami 75 percent; Leftovers 25 percent
  • Probability to win series - Miami 84.38 percent; Leftovers 15.62 percent

Expert Comments:

Hibbert is the first player so far to present Miami's Three Amigos with any challenge, but LeBron and company are still way too good. -- Perrin

The Cinderella story must end! I cannot have Brandon Jennings and Roy Hibbert winning this thing. That's way too indie. -- Ziller

I'm not sure how the Leftovers got this far, but even in a halfcourt game the Heat's Big Three have too much firepower for the scrappy 'overs. -- Madden

It's time for the charade to end. Miami is the perfect 3 on 3 team and the leftovers are not a threat. -- Clark

Hibbert should give the Heat a few problems, but in this 3-on-3 setting, I just don't see the East Leftover collective winning the lion's share of these matches. Miami marches on. -- Francis

The Bottom Line

For a team that has been given no worse than an 87 percent to win any given game in this tournament so far (against the Knicks in the second round), 75 percent is positively uncomfortable for the Heat. We've seen big rolls come up on several occasions eliminating favorites along the way. The panelists seem to think the Hibbert factor warrants a handful of games for the Leftovers here and there, and that might be enough to produce the upset.

The Heat need rolls of 75 or lower to win while the Leftovers will be looking for 76 or higher.

What do you think?

The results will be posted at 5 p.m. ET.

For a complete look at the SB Nation 3 on 3 Tournament, check back with this StoryStream.

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NBA 3 on 3: Previewing the Conference Finals

We began SB Nation's NBA 3 on 3 Tournament, a hypothetical competition among 3 on 3 teams chosen from NBA rosters by NBA bloggers, three weeks ago with 32 teams. We are now down to just four, and the Conference Finals will get under way on Monday. If you're just joining us, you can head back to the beginning of the article stream to get the whole story, but to sum up, the NBA bloggers of SB Nation selected their teams for a 3 on 3 Tournament, we added a couple of extra teams made up of players who were left off of other squads to round out a 32 team field (little did we know how important those teams would prove to be), and we're squaring them off one by one. To add an element of randomness, after establishing a probability for the teams in each matchup, we're using dice to determine who actually wins the games, best two of three to advance to the next round.

There's remarkable symmetry to the four teams remaining. In a tournament that has been rife with upsets, two super teams that everyone suspected (some might even have dreaded) would meet for the championship are indeed still alive. Meanwhile, two teams that almost literally should not be here, those two after thought teams we needed to round out the bracket, are the other participants in the conference finals.

Here are the seedings and rosters for the four teams still alive:

West

East

3. Lakers - Nash, Bryant, Howard

2. Miami - James, Wade, Bosh

9. West Leftovers - Gasol, Harden, Randolph

9. East Leftovers - Jennings, Wallace, Hibbert

and here is the bracket heading into the fourth round, the conference finals:

3_on_3_tourney_bracket_medium

The great news about this particular quartet of Conference Finalists is that it proves rather conclusively that the results really are random. For while there does seem to be a pattern to the four teams, honestly, in their right mind would manipulate results to get to this foursome? As impressive as Miami and the Lakers are, don't you suppose that most fanbases would love to see them upset and eliminated? As for the leftover teams, they don't even HAVE fanbases. If the goal was to build interest in this tournament, you couldn't do a lot worse than to have two teams that everyone already knew would be there and two teams that no one owns comprise your final four. So yay random dice rolls!

Can these pesky leftover teams actually fend off the inevitable Heat-Lakers Final? Can they continue the string of upsets that have brought them this far? Or will the privileged super teams meet in the final? We'll find out next week. Be sure to follow along on the SB Nation NBA 3 on 3 story stream.

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NBA 3 on 3 Tournament Results -- Lakers Move On

The Conference Final field for SB Nation's NBA 3 on 3 Tournament is now complete as the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Dallas Mavericks to fill the final spot.

The Lakers All NBA trio of Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard were rated a 72 percent favorite in any given game against Delonte West, Elton Brand and Dirk Nowitzki of the Mavericks. Sometimes the dice have a different plan though, and when the first roll came up 91, the Mavericks took a 1-0 lead in the best two of three series. The Lakers had to win two straight to advance, and got those wins with rolls of 30 and 45. The Lakers now move on to face the West Leftovers (and odd-Laker-out Pau Gasol) in the Western Conference Finals next week.

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NBA 3 on 3 Conference Semis -- Lakers vs. Mavs

There's only one spot left in the Conference Finals of SB Nation's NBA 3 on 3 Tournament. That spot will go to the winner of today's series between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks.

There have been upsets galore in this tournament, but even so the two teams that everyone thought would meet in the Finals are still on that collision course. The Heat reached the East Finals with their win yesterday, and the Lakers can match that feat with a win here. The Lakers threesome is beyond impressive -- Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard have all defined their positions in the NBA during their careers. Nash and Bryant may not dominate their positions like they once did after 16 years in the league, but still, this is an incredible assemblage of talent. The Lakers defeated the Warriors and the Suns to reach this stage.

Dallas will send Delonte West, Elton Brand and Dirk Nowitzki to battle the Lakers and their MVP-types. The mismatches make the situation volatile, and certainly the Lakers have no one who can stop Nowitzki, but the Mavericks will have even more trouble stopping Kobe. Brand can't really stop Howard either, but at least he can foul him. If Dallas actually cared about winning this imaginary tournament, the hacking strategy would make Mark Jackson and Gregg Popovich blush. The Mavericks defeated the Rockets in the first round and then upset the Thunder in the second round to get here.

Let's see what our panel of experts has to say.

  • Tom Ziller, SB Nation NBA, Sactown Royalty -- Lakers win 15 of 20
  • Andrew Sharp, SB Nation --Lakers win 14 of 20
  • Steve Perrin, SB Nation NBA, Clips Nation -- Lakers win 13 of 20
  • Frank Madden, Brew Hoop -- Lakers win 13 of 20
  • Adam Francis, Raptors HQ -- Lakers win 17 of 20
  • Probability to win any given game -- Lakers 72 percent; Dallas 28 percent
  • Probability to win series - Lakers 80.87 percent; Dallas 19.13 percent

Expert Comments:

Too bad the Mavericks waived Brendan Haywood, given that he's been the only person to stop Dwight Howard in the past five years. (You know, because he forced him to have back surgery.) -- Ziller

IN DIRK WE TRUST. For six out of 20 games, at least. The Mavs would go hard here to make things competitive, and between Delonte and Dirk they've got enough firepower to steal a few games. But let's not get too crazy here: The Lakers are on a collision course with Miami in this imaginary tournament, and nobody--not even Dirk--can do a damn thing to change that. -- Sharp

Who does Kobe guard and who guards Kobe? It's got to end up being Kobe v. Dirk, right? THAT would be fun to see. -- Perrin

On talent alone you'd expect Nash, Kobe and Dwight would win even more convincingly, but with no foul-outs you'd expect the Mavs to simply employ a hack-a-Dwight strategy to keep L.A. from establishing any rhythm. And considering that offensive efficiency will presumably rise in a 3-on-3 format, the cost of having a sub-50% on your roster is even more pronounced than usual. I can't see L.A. winning it all (at least in our little 3-on-3 world) for that reason alone. -- Madden

I just don't see this one being close. None of the Mavericks can consistently contain Dwight, and while the Lakers might have a tough time with Dirk, Brand and West just doesn't pose enough of a threat to counter Kobe and Captain Canuck. -- Francis

The Bottom Line

Can anything derail the inevitable Lakers-Heat final? The experts give the Mavs a 28 percent chance to win any one game, which equates to an almost 1-in-5 chance to advance. That's not an impossible task -- we've seen the dice produce one upset almost as big in this tournament already (when Chicago was a 71 percent favorite against the East Leftovers but lost).

The Lakers need rolls of 72 or lower to win while Dallas will be looking for 73 or higher.

What do you think? Can Dallas pull off the upset?

The results will be posted at 5 p.m. ET.

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NBA 3 on 3 Tournament Results -- Heat Move On

The Eastern Conference Finals in SB Nation's NBA 3 on 3 Tournament is now set and it will feature the East Leftovers against the Miami Heat after the Heat easily defeated the Detroit Pistons Wednesday.

The Heat, with Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh, were clearly one of the favorites, if not the favorite, coming into this tournament. But still it figured that they'd get tested in the East by the likes of the Pacers or the Bulls or the Celtics. Instead, those teams were upset before they could reach the conference semis, meaning the Heat instead faced a Pistons team with Rodney Stuckey, Jonas Jerebko and Greg Monroe. Not exactly Rondo, Pierce and Garnett, you know? Our panel of experts gave the Heat a 96 percent chance to win any given game, meaning that Detroit needed a couple of huge rolls -- it didn't happen. Rolls of 22 and 4 meant this one wasn't even close and the Heat, like the dice, keep on rolling.

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NBA 3 on 3 Conference Semis -- Heat Vs. Pistons

The bracket for the Conference Finals in SB Nation's hypothetical NBA 3 on 3 Tournament is half full, and the East Final will be set after Wednesday, when the Miami Heat play the Detroit Pistons. Gee, I wonder who will win this one?

Do you know how you can tell that this tournament really is random and not rigged in any way? Because if I was rigging it, I sure as heck wouldn't have the Heat playing the Pistons in the conference semi-finals. And I certainly wouldn't have had the Clippers getting eliminated in the second round. The dice were intended to add a random element to the competition, which is exactly what happened. But the upsets that have happened just were never the ones that I wanted. And that's how you know this is not rigged.

The Heat's team needs no introduction. Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh took their talents to South Beach just so that they could play in this fictional tournament. The amazing thing about this threesome in a 3 on 3 setting is the versatility. James is the reigning MVP in large part because he has the size of a power forward but the skills of a point guard. There are no bad matchups for the Heat, because LeBron is the ultimate bad matchup. It doesn't matter whether they face a big team or a quick team -- Miami is likely to be bigger and quicker. The Heat have beaten the Wizards and the Knicks to arrive to this point -- where they are facing the 11 seed.

And how did Detroit get here? They needed a bit of luck. This is actually not a bad 3 on 3 team -- Rodney Stuckey is a scoring point with size, a good profile for 3 on 3. Jonas Jerebko is a versatile combo-forward, and that versatility helps in this setting. And Greg Monroe is a solid young player with very advanced skills for a big man. Like I said, a nice enough team. But they got lucky in the first round to draw an Orlando team that was truly awful in the wake of the Dwightmare, and then they got some random luck in the second round when big dice rolls helped them defeat the Pacers. Can their luck hold out against this Miami juggernaut?

Let's see what our panel of experts has to say.

  • Tom Ziller, SB Nation NBA, Sactown Royalty -- Miami wins 20 of 20
  • Andrew Sharp, SB Nation -- Miami wins 19 of 20
  • Steve Perrin, SB Nation NBA, Clips Nation -- Miami wins 19 of 20
  • J.A. Sherman, Welcome to Loud City -- Miami wins 18 of 20
  • CA Clark, Silver Screen and Roll -- Miami wins 20 of 20
  • Probability to win any given game -- Miami 96 percent; Detroit 4 percent
  • Probability to win series - Miami 99.53 percent; Detroit 0.47 percent

Expert Comments:

Detroit got this far because the dice are quite obviously loaded. -- Ziller

Greg Monroe on LeBron? Jerebko on Bosh? Stuckey on Wade? This seems like a cruel joke. But as we said last round, there's no shame in getting obliterated by the champs. They were quite literally built for this shit. -- Sharp

I see here that the odds have been set at about 200-to-1 against the Pistons advancing; and, um, yeah, that seems about right. -- Perrin

It is tough to see how Detroit can pull this one out. If any one Piston player gets hot, we could easily see Miami just shift LeBron over to him until he cools off. Meanwhile, you might be surprised to hear this, but nobody for Detroit can match up against LeBron, and he should be able to get into the paint often enough to rip apart any defensive strategy the Pistons might attempt. -- Sherman

The Pistons only made it this far on account of being in easily the weakest bracket in this entire fake tournament. They don't deserve even a puncher's chance. -- Clark

The Bottom Line

It does not get much more decisive than this where our panel is concerned. This is the most lopsided rating since Miami faced the Wizards in the first round -- and frankly that Wizards team was a little better than this Pistons team.

Do the Pistons still have a chance? Sure, but the odds are very long against them. There are four winning rolls out of 100 for Detroit -- they need to see a 97, a 98, a 99 or a 100 (really a 00 if you want to nitpick). And they need to see that roll twice out of three rolls to advance. There's less than half a percent chance of that happening.

Dare I even ask who you think would win this one?

The results will be posted at 5 p.m. ET.

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NBA 3 on 3 Tournament Results -- Leftovers Again

The first two teams to reach the Conference Finals in SB Nation's NBA 3 on 3 Tournament are both made up of players who were never supposed to be here. To fill out the Tournament bracket, Tournament Organizers (that is to say, pretty much me) added two extra teams to bring the field to 32. The extra teams, one per conference, were comprised of teams left off their own teams' 3 on 3 rosters.

And now James Harden, Zach Randolph and Pau Gasol become the first Western Conference team to advance to the conference finals, a day after Brandon Jennings, Gerald Wallace and Roy Hibbert did the same in the East. The West Leftovers were considered very slight favorites (53 percent to win any give game) over a very good Minnesota Timberwolves team featuring Ricky Rubio, Andrei Kirilenko and Kevin Love. The Leftovers swept the two games on dice rolls of 37 and 46 ending the Wolves' Cinderella run and prolonging their own.

The West Leftovers will next face the winner of Thursday's meeting between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks.

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NBA 3 on 3 -- Timberwolves Vs. West Leftovers

The SB Nation NBA 3 on 3 Tournament has entered the Conference Semi-Final round. So far one team has advanced to the Conference Finals, and it's not one that anyone would have expected, nor really that should even exist. To round out the Eastern Conference field, we created an extra team from leftover players left off of their own teams. The conversation went something like this:

"Should we just give the number one seeds a bye?"

"No, what fun is that. We'll make an extra team. It's not like they'll impact the outcome of the tournament significantly."

Well, the conference East Leftovers are now two wins away from the title, and the West Leftovers are still alive as well, in action today against the equally surprising Minnesota Timberwolves.

The West Leftovers, the 9 seed coming into the tournament, are actually the better seed for the first time. They dispatched 8 seed Utah in the first round and then upset the top seeded Spurs in round two. The decision to include this team in the tournament was hotly debated, but now that they're here, it's not really shocking that they've done well -- not with reigning Sixth Man of the Year James Harden joining All Star bigs Zach Randolph and Pau Gasol. This is a very talented squad that presents major matchup problems for the opposition. They don't have a true point guard, but in many ways Harden is a better playmaker than his Thunder teammate Russell Westbrook, and Gasol is perhaps the best playmaker at the power forward position in the league. This team is trouble for any opponent.

The Timberwolves on the other hand are the worst seed still alive in the tournament at 13, but like the Leftovers, they are not here by pure dumb luck (though that does help). The squad features Ricky Rubio, Andrei Kirilenko and Kevin Love and that's a trio that can cause problems for anybody. Rubio proved last season before his injury what a tremendous talent he was, and with wide open passing lanes in 3 on 3 he could be spectacular. Kirilenko may not have been in the NBA last year, but he proved in the Olympics this summer what an impact player he still is, especially when he's asked to do a bit of everything for his team, as he would have to in 3 on 3. Meanwhile, Love is Love, one of the most statistically dominant players in the entire league.

Let's see what our panel of experts has to say.

  • Tom Ziller, SB Nation NBA, Sactown Royalty -- Leftovers win 11 of 20
  • Andrew Sharp, SB Nation -- Minnesota wins 13 of 20
  • Steve Perrin, SB Nation NBA, Clips Nation -- Minnesota wins 12 of 20
  • J.A. Sherman, Welcome to Loud City -- Leftovers win 13 of 20
  • Adam Francis, Raptors HQ -- Leftovers win 14 of 20
  • Probability to win any given game -- Leftovers 53 percent; Minnesota 47 percent
  • Probability to win series - Leftovers 54.49 percent; Minnesota 45.51 percent

Expert Comments:

I totally would have given the nod to Minnesota if Jonny Flynn and Wes Johnson were available. -- Ziller

The Wolves dream is alive! This is actually a dangerous matchup for Minny, because Kirilenko can't handle either Pau or Z-Bo, and Kevin Love wouldn't be much better. Throw in Harden running things at the point and inevitably running circles around Rubio, and things could get a little dicey for the Wolves on D. On the other hand... They would get even dicier for the West team trying to guard Love and Rubio. And who are we kidding? Nobody's picking against this Wolves team until we absolutely have to, mostly because it never stops being fun imagining Love and Rubio in a game of 3-on-3. LET'S GO MINNY. -- Sharp

AK47 has played plenty of 4 in his day, and I think he'll do fine on Gasol. But doesn't Love dominate his matchup with Randolph? Actually, it probably comes down to whether we're talking about 2011 playoffs Z-Bo or 2012 playoffs Z-Bo; I gotta go with the guy I saw most recently, and that means T-Wolves win. -- Perrin

This would be a true inside vs outside match-up. Neither Gasol nor Randolph can stay with Love on the perimeter, and neither Love nor Kirilenko can hold off Randolph on the blocks. Since we count free throws in this tournament, I'm going to go with the West Leftovers simply because Z-Bo and Harden are extremely adept at getting to the free throw line, which should prove to be the difference. -- Sherman

This West Leftover team is a beast. Who needs a true PG when Harden can just dump it into his two multi-skilled big men? Individually Randolph or Gasol could be handled by Love but he can't take both. And with both able to spread the floor, it's just a very tough match-up for Minny no matter how well Rubio plays. -- Francis

The Bottom Line

This is the closest decision the panel has had in a while. Split 3 panelists to 2 on the winner, with a very slight edge given to the Leftovers overall, deemed 53 percent like to win any given game. And really, it's hard to argue with anything there. These are two evenly matched teams.

Ultimately it's up to the dice to decide. The Leftovers will be looking for smallish rolls of 53 or lower, while the Timberwolves want to see bigger numbers, 54 or higher.

Who do you think would win this one?

The results will be posted at 5 p.m. ET.

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NBA 3 on 3 Tournament Results: The Upsets Continue as Celtics Fall

Last week in the second round of SB Nation's NBA 3 on 3 Tournament there were upsets galore. The Conference semi-final round kicked off today, and sure enough, it began with another upset.

In the first East semi-final, the Boston Celtics squared off against the East Leftovers, a team made up of players left off their own teams. Our panel of experts made Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett a 67 percent favorite to win any given game against the Leftovers, Brandon Jennings, Gerald Wallace and Roy Hibbert. But the Leftovers, a team that wasn't even supposed to be here, instead became the first team to advance to the conference finals, sweeping the Celtics with dice rolls of 89 and 79. There have now been upsets in six of the last nine series of this tournament, as the dice seem determined to keep things interesting.

The East Leftovers will now face the winner of Wednesday's meeting between the Miami Heat and the Detroit Pistons.

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NBA 3 on 3 Tournament Conference Semis -- Boston Celtics Vs. East Leftovers

The SB Nation NBA 3 on 3 Tournament continues this week with the conference semi-finals. There have been 24 games so far, which means 24 of the original 32 teams have been eliminated. The first round of the tournament went more or less according to script, but the second round was chock full of upsets, so the remaining eight teams include a few favorites and a few more teams you might not expect. The first conference semi-final on deck features one of those favorites (the Boston Celtics) versus one of those surprise teams (the East Leftovers).

The Celtics feature one of the most recognizable threesomes in the entire tournament with All Stars Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. Boston advanced to this point by dispatching the Brooklyn Nets and the Atlanta Hawks. All three of these guys are outstanding defenders and they certainly have experience playing together. Jeff Clark of CelticsBlog feels pretty confident that his team will advance to the East Finals, especially with Rondo at the helm: "Rondo ... is one of the smartest, 3-steps-ahead thinkers in the game. He'll figure out the loopholes and strategies faster than anyone else and then he'll make sure his teammates take advantage at every step."

The East Leftovers team is not supposed to be here, in more ways than one. With 30 NBA teams, we decided to create a couple of extras to round out the tournament field to 32, so we created one team from each conference out of the best players who were not selected by their own teams. In the East, that produced this Leftover team of Brandon Jennings, Gerald Wallace and Roy Hibbert, who must be gratified to still be playing after Milwaukee, Brooklyn and Indiana have been sent packing. The Leftovers defeated the 76ers in the first round and upset the Bulls in the second round to find themselves here. Jennings, Wallace and Hibbert have no lack of talent, but how well they fit together is open to debate.

Let's see what our panel of experts has to say.

  • Tom Ziller, SB Nation NBA, Sactown Royalty -- Boston wins 13 of 20
  • Andrew Sharp, SB Nation -- Boston wins 15 of 20
  • Frank Madden, Brew Hoop -- Boston wins 12 of 20
  • J.A. Sherman, Welcome to Loud City -- Boston wins 12 of 20
  • CA Clark, Silver Screen and Roll -- Boston wins 13 of 20
  • Probability to win any given game -- Boston 65 percent; EastOvers 35 percent
  • Probability to win series -- Boston 71.83 percent; EastOvers 28.17 percent

Expert Comments:

Jennings and Rondo: two guards with exactly opposite jumper confidence levels. -- Ziller

Rajon Rondo is probably the best 3 on 3 point guard in the NBA, and on the other side ... I don't really understand how the East Leftovers got this far. Pierce can outscore Wallace every time, and KG can hold his own against Hibbert. This won't be close. -- Sharp

The leftovers are a nice group, but chemistry counts for too much in this kind of scenario. Jennings is always a wild-card and Hibbert's size could be problematic for KG, but the C's have too much experience not to prevail. -- Madden

Neither team is going to be flush with easy points, with both Garnett and Hibbert clogging the lanes. It will come down to the fact that Rondo knows how to get his teammates more quality shots than Jennings will. -- Sherman

Points will be tough to come by on both sides of this matchup. Boston's cohesiveness gets the edge but Hibbert's size will cause them some problems. -- Clark

The Bottom Line

So Boston is given a nearly two-in-three chance to win any given game by our panel of experts, which equates to close to a three-in-four chance that it will win the series. Of course, the East Leftovers have already defied the odds just to get to this point, and they can certainly pull the upset here again.

All that's left to do now is to roll the dice. The Celtics will be looking for rolls of 65 or lower, the Leftovers want to see a 66 or higher.

Who do you think would win this one?

The results will be posted at 5 p.m. ET.

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Previewing The 3 On 3 Semifinals

We've now completed the first two rounds of SB Nation's completely hypothetical NBA 3 on 3 Tournament. From an initial field of 32 teams, only eight remain and there are some real surprises among the conference semifinalists. If you're just joining us, you can head back to the beginning of the article stream to get the whole story, but to sum up, we at SB Nation were wondering what it might look like if every team in the NBA picked their best 3 on 3 team for a tournament. The NBA bloggers of SB Nation selected their teams, we added a couple of extra teams made up of players who were left off of other squads to round out a 32 team field (little did we know how important those teams would prove to be), and we're squaring them off one by one. To add an element of randomness, after establishing a probability for the teams in each matchup, we're using dice to determine who actually wins the games, best two of three to advance to the next round.

Here are the seedings and rosters for the eight teams still alive:

West

East

3. Lakers - Nash, Bryant, Howard

2. Miami - James, Wade, Bosh

7. Dallas - Nowitzki, Brand, West

4. Boston - Garnett, Rondo, Pierce

9. West Leftovers - Gasol, Harden, Randolph

9. East Leftovers - Jennings, Wallace, Hibbert

13. Minnesota - Rubio, Kirilenko, Love

11. Detroit - Monroe, Stuckey, Jerebko

and here is the bracket heading into the third round, the conference semi-finals:

3_on_3_tourney_bracket_medium

Through the entire first round of the tournament there were very few upsets. Phoenix over Denver was essentially the only series, out of 16, where the dice defied the odds established by our panel of experts and sent an underdog to victory. Sure, 13 seed Minnesota beat 4 seed Memphis and 11 seed Detroit ousted 6 seed Orlando, but in both of those cases, the panelists had established the double-digit seed as the favorite in the series.

The second round was an entirely different story. Of eight second-round series, five of them were won by the underdog as the dice were suddenly very unpredictable. As a result, some huge names and powerful teams are out of the tournament.

Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan? Gone.

Derrick Rose, Luol Deng and Joakim Noah? Gone.

Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant? Gone. (Nick Collison is gone too.)

Chris Paul and Blake Griffin? Gone. (Along with Lamar Odom.)

Ironically, three of the teams that many NBA fans would probably love to see upset, the teams that some fans love to hate, are the only favorites that are still around. The Miami Heat (Wade, James and Bosh), Los Angeles Lakers (Nash, Bryant and Howard) and Boston Celtics (Rondo, Pierce and Garnett) are all still playing, seemingly on a collision course in the later rounds.

It's completely random and ultimately meaningless, but the dice seem to prefer 3 on 3 teams with a traditional lineup of one big, one wing and a point guard. Teams like Denver and Indiana who went with three wing lineups have been among the upset victims, losing in the tournament even when they were favored by the experts. The eight teams that remain are all more traditional (though Miami doesn't have a true point and Dallas skews a little bigger than the others).

Meanwhile, the leftover teams that were by definition afterthoughts both find themselves in the conference semis. The irony here is that five of the six players on the leftover teams remain alive in the tournament after the teams they were left off have been sent packing. Only Pau Gasol's Laker teammates have made it as deep into the tournament as Pau -- Milwaukee, Brooklyn, Indiana, Memphis and Oklahoma City are all eliminated while players from those teams play on.

There's no telling what to expect in the conference semi-finals. Will the favorites win as they did in round one, or will we continue to see crazy upsets as we had in round two?

You can find out starting on Monday so be sure to follow along on the SB Nation NBA 3 on 3 story stream.

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NBA 3 on 3 Tournament Results: Second Round Ends with Another Upset

We've now completed two rounds of SB Nation's NBA 3 on 3 Tournament and while the first round went very much as expected, the second round has been chock full of surprises.

On the last day of the second round, the Miami Heat managed to avoid falling victim to the rash of upsets. Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh had an easy victory over Iman Shumpert, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler of the New York Knicks. Our panel of experts gave the Heat an 87 percent chance of winning any given game, and that was more than enough as the dice came up 31 and 27 for the Miami sweep. The Heat will now face the Detroit Pistons in an Eastern Conference Semi-final.

Out West it was a different story. The Heat's opponent in last year's NBA Finals, the Oklahoma City Thunder, were likewise favored to defeat the Dallas Mavericks, if not quite so decisively. The Thunder team of Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and Nick Collison was given a 68 percent chance to win any given game with the Dallas Mavericks, a team featuring Delonte West, Dirk Nowitzki and Elton Brand. The first roll came up huge at 98, giving Dallas game one. The second roll was a 37, leveling the series at a game apiece. The third and decisive roll was 82, giving Dallas the victory and sending one of the pre-tournament favorites to an early exit. The Mavericks will now face the Los Angeles Lakers in a West Semi-final next week.

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NBA 3 on 3 Tournament Round Two -- Oklahoma City Thunder Vs. Dallas Mavericks

In the final showdown of the second round of SB Nation's NBA 3 on 3 Tournament, the Oklahoma City Thunder face their dreaded rivals from Texas, the Dallas Mavericks.

The Thunder threesome of Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and Nick Collison won their first round game pretty handily, but the panel seemed perturbed that both James Harden and Serge Ibaka had been bypassed in favor or Collison. Was that selection brave or foolhardy? Still, it would not seem that OKC needs more offense with Durant and Westbrook on the floor, so one sees the logic.

The Mavericks have Dirk Nowitzki (who is joined by Delonte West and Elton Brand) and when you have an offensive force as unstoppable as Nowitzki, you will always have a chance. You could expect to see a ton of isolation if this game ever took place, since this game features some of the most prolific one-on-one scorers in the game.

Let's see what our panel of experts has to say.

  • Tom Ziller, SB Nation NBA, Sactown Royalty -- Oklahoma City wins 14 of 20
  • Andrew Sharp, SB Nation -- Oklahoma City wins 11 of 20
  • Steve Perrin, SB Nation, Clips Nation -- Oklahoma City wins 14 of 20
  • J.R Wilco, Pounding the Rock -- Oklahoma City wins 15 of 20
  • CA Clark, Silver Screen and Roll -- Oklahoma City wins 14 of 20
  • Probability to win any given game -- Oklahoma City 68 percent; Dallas 32 percent
  • Probability to win series -- Oklahoma City 75.83 percent; Dallas 24.17 percent

Expert Comments:

Leaving off Harden or Ibaka is going to cost them dearly eventually. -- Ziller

Would this be the best matchup of the second round? Brand-Collison is a solid matchup, Delonte-Westbrook the same, and then... Dirk-Durant? LET'S GO. The Thunder get the edge here, but only because of Westbrook. The Durant-Dirk matchup would be a push, and God it's glorious to think about them going back-and-forth for 20 games. -- Sharp

Dirk can only do so much. The Thunder are relentless and cover all the bases. I'd pay to see this matchup actually happen, but I can't imagine Dallas taking more than one of every four. -- Wilco

I'm not sure anybody on OKC can stop Nowitzki, but I am sure nobody on Dallas can stop either Durant or Russ. A few of these games go to the first team that gets a stop. -- Clark

The Bottom Line

Oklahoma City gets the nod from the panelists, but even with the Thunder a 68 percent favorite to win any given game, the Mavericks still have about a one in four chance to pull off the upset in the series and go through to the conference semis.

All that's left to do now is to roll the dice. The Thunder will be looking for rolls of 68 or lower, the Mavericks want to see a 69 or higher.

Who do you think would win this one?

The results will be posted at 5 p.m. ET.

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NBA 3 on 3 Tournament Round Two -- Miami Heat Vs. New York Knicks

It's the last day of the second round of SB Nation's NBA 3 on 3 Tournament. Both of last season's NBA Finalists will be in action today, beginning with the Miami Heat versus the New York Knicks in a rematch from the first round of the playoffs.

The Heat often seem to play 5 on 5 as if they only have three players, so one can only imagine what Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh would actually do in a 3 on 3 setting. The mind fairly boggles. These are some of the most difficult matchup problems in the NBA even when there are five defenders to choose from and lots of chances to double team. They'd be nearly impossible to stop in this format.

The Knicks bring Iman Shumpert, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler to try to contend with the Heat juggernaut. Anthony can score with anyone and will be able to put points on the board, and Chandler is a defensive force. But will it be enough against this Heat squad?

Let's see what our panel of experts has to say.

  • Tom Ziller, SB Nation NBA, Sactown Royalty -- Miami wins 17 of 20
  • Andrew Sharp, SB Nation -- Miami wins 18 of 20
  • Steve Perrin, SB Nation, Clips Nation -- Miami wins 19 of 20
  • J.A. Sherman, Welcome to Loud City -- Miami wins 17 of 20
  • CA Clark, Silver Screen and Roll -- Miami wins 16 of 20
  • Probability to win any given game -- Miami 87 percent; New York 13 percent
  • Probability to win series -- Miami 95.37 percent; New York 4.63 percent

Expert Comments:

This is like last year's playoff series all over again. Even a healthy Shumpert won't make a difference, because only Melo can score for the Knicks, and LeBron will make his life miserable in every single game. Just like last year's playoff series. -- Sharp

Melo would have to shoot like he did against Nigeria just for New York to win one. -- Perrin

Chandler's D forces more Heat jump shots than they are comfortable with, but this still isn't close. -- Wilco

Haven't we already seen this in last year's playoffs? 'Melo will deliver a solid 2-3 wins on his own by shooting and making everything that comes his way. He'll give Knicks fans a shot of confidence, they'll start to get a little bit of swagger, expectations will rise, and then LeBron and his gang will close them out by winning 15 games in a row. -- Sherman

The Bottom Line

The experts see the Heat as the clear favorites in this one, giving them an 87 percent chance to win any given game, which translates to better than 95 percent they go through to the next round.

All that's left to do now is to roll the dice. The Heat simply need rolls of 87 or lower, while the Knicks will cross their fingers and hope for 88 or higher.

Who do you think would win this one?

The results will be posted at 5 p.m. ET.

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NBA 3 on 3 Tournament Results: Yet Another Round 2 Upset

The first round of SB Nation's NBA 3 on 3 Tournament went almost exactly as predicted by our panelists with only one significant upset in 16 round one matchups. Six games into the second round, there have now been four upsets.

The Indiana Pacers may not be the most fearsome threesome in this tournament, but they were nonetheless expected to take care of the 11 seed, the Detroit Pistons; our panel of experts gave the Pacers a 60 percent chance of winning each game. But Rodney Stuckey, Jonas Jerebko and Greg Monroe had other ideas, dispatching Paul George, Lance Stephenson and Danny Granger. The Pistons needed rolls of 61 or higher to win games -- and 61 is exactly what they got on the first roll, the equivalent of a buzzer beater. Game two was almost as close, with a roll of 58 giving the Pacers the win to force a game three. But the dice left no doubt as a big roll of 93 sent the Pistons to the conference semis. Detroit will next face the winner of Miami versus New York.

Out West, one of the favorites many NBA fans would probably like to see eliminated was able to avoid the upset epidemic. Of course, being given a 94 percent chance to win any single game is a pretty good inoculation against said epidemic. The Los Angeles Lakers trio of MVP-caliber players, Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard, easily handled the overmatched Phoenix Suns threesome of Goran Dragic, Jared Dudley and Marcin Gortat. Only huge rolls could save the Suns, and neither 57 nor 80 were big enough, as the Lakers advanced in a two-game sweep. They'll face the winner of Oklahoma City-Dallas in a West semi-final.

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NBA 3 on 3 Tournament Round Two -- Los Angeles Lakers Vs. Phoenix Suns

In the West bracket of SB Nation's ongoing NBA 3 on 3 Tournament, the 3rd-seeded Los Angeles Lakers are facing the 11th-seeded Phoenix Suns in a series that looks like a huge mismatch on paper.

The Lakers, in case you missed it, added a couple of pretty good players to their roster this summer, and both of them are featured on their 3 on 3 team. Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard comprise a ridiculous trio -- three players who have defined their position in the NBA in recent years. Nash and Bryant are both a bit long in the tooth (especially Nash), which may be this team's only vulnerability.

The Suns pulled off the biggest (really the only) upset of the first round when they beat Denver. But while the Suns created some matchup problems for the Nuggets, that's just not the case here. Goran Dragic and Marcin Gortat comprise a very competent 1-5 pick-and-roll pair, and Jared Dudley can spot up off the ball. But it's a faded mirror image of a Lakers team that one ups them across the board. Think of it this way -- Dragic and Gortat spent significant portions of their careers backing up Nash and Howard and it's not as if anyone was arguing that they needed to be the starters. And then there's Kobe. Jacob Padilla of Bright Side of the Sun successfully predicted the Suns upset of the Nuggets, but reading his explanation of how the Suns might beat this Lakers team one gets the impression that even he is not really buying it.

Let's see what our panel of experts has to say.

  • Tom Ziller, SB Nation NBA, Sactown Royalty -- Lakers win 19 of 20
  • Andrew Sharp, SB Nation -- Lakers win 20 of 20
  • Steve Perrin, SB Nation, Clips Nation -- Lakers win 19 of 20
  • Frank Madden, Brew Hoop - Lakers win 16 of 20
  • Adam Francis, Raptors HQ -- Lakers win 20 of 20
  • Probability to win any given game -- Lakers 94 percent; Phoenix 6 percent
  • Probability to win series -- Lakers 98.96 percent; Phoenix 1.04 percent

Expert Comments:

This matchup is just gross. -- Ziller

I don't understand how Phoenix got this far, but L.A. would beat most teams 20-0, so I guess there's no shame in the inevitable blowout loss that comes here. -- Sharp

In the first round, I could imagine the Warriors getting hot from deep and stealing a few games from the Lakers. Much more difficult to figure how that happens when both teams are playing the same style, but one is this much more talented. -- Perrin

The Suns have the basic pieces needed to put together a solid 3 on 3 squad (big PG, shooter on the wing and a tough big), but the Lakers have them beat at every spot. -- Madden

Shut out, Dragic and the Suns aren't winning a game in this one. -- Francis

The Bottom Line

Yikes. The experts seem to think this one's a fait accompli. There is of course a random element here, but as evidenced by the almost 99 percent chance the Lakers have of advancing, it would take a near miracle from the dice.

The only way the Suns win is on rolls of 95 or higher. It could happen . . . but two times out of three?

What are your thoughts on this one?

The results will be posted at 5 p.m. ET.

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NBA 3 on 3 Tournament Round Two -- Indiana Pacers Vs. Detroit Pistons

We're halfway through the second round of SB Nation's NBA 3 on 3 Tournament, and of the four teams who have already advanced to the conference semi-finals, only one is a top 4 seed (the 4 seed in the East, the Boston Celtics). After a pretty uneventful first round, the upsets are coming fast and furious now. In the East, the 3-seed Indiana Pacers will try to avoid falling to the Detroit Pistons, the 11 seed who benefited in the first round when they drew a rebuilding Orlando team.

The Pacers feature Lance Stephenson, Paul George and Danny Granger, one of the teams using a trio of wings in the tournament. The strategy has advantages -- defensively you can switch everything, offensively everyone is capable of making plays -- but it also leaves a team exposed to mismatches. Stephenson in particular is a dubious choice. He's plenty talented, but he's yet to show much in the NBA, and this Pacers team may be vulnerable without a true point guard.

The Pistons field a much more traditional threesome -- point guard Rodney Stuckey, forward Jonas Jerebko, and center Greg Monroe. This group has the extra advantage of having a fair amount of versatility -- Stuckey has very good size for a point, Jerebko can play either forward spot, and Monroe is one of the better playmaking centers in the league. The Pacers may have more pure talent, but the Pistons team may be more coherent.

Let's see what our panel of experts has to say.

  • Tom Ziller, SB Nation NBA, Sactown Royalty -- Indiana wins 13 of 20
  • Andrew Sharp, SB Nation -- Indiana wins 12 of 20
  • Steve Perrin, SB Nation, Clips Nation -- Each team wins 10 of 20
  • J.R Wilco, Pounding the Rock -- Indiana wins 11 of 20
  • J.A. Sherman, Welcome to Loud City -- Indiana wins 14 of 20
  • Probability to win any given game -- Indiana 60 percent; Detroit 40 percent
  • Probability to win series -- Indiana 64.8 percent; Detroit 35.2 percent

Expert Comments:

Maybe? Who knows. Neither one of these teams has business getting to the third round. -- Sharp

Too close to call; I think Indy is better in most ways, but doesn't Monroe pretty much kill Granger in the post? -- Perrin

This matchup is really close, but in the end I don't think Detroit will be able to contain George and Granger -- one of the best duos in this entire tournament. -- Wilco

Indiana should win this one handily, but with Paul George, as we saw in the playoffs last year, we're never really sure if he's going to come up small at a critical moment. Thankfully, Indy still has the best pure scorer on the court in Granger, and I think Detroit is going to struggle to match his offense. -- Sherman

The Bottom Line

The experts have given the Pistons a fighting chance here despite their 11 seed. It's difficult to know whether that's an endorsement of the Detroit selection or an indictment of the Indiana team.

All that's left to do now is to roll the dice. The Pacers will be looking for rolls of 60 or lower, the Pistons want to see a 61 or higher.

Who do you think would win this one?

The results will be posted at 5 p.m. ET.

For a complete look at the SB Nation 3 on 3 Tournament, check back with this StoryStream.

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NBA 3 on 3 Tournament Results: Another Big Upset

The first round of SB Nation's NBA 3 on 3 Tournament went mostly as our experts predicted it would. In 16 first round serieses, there was only one significant upset where the dice that determine the outcome had a different plan than our panelists. But so far the second round has been a different story.

In the East, the Boston Celtics, with Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, became the first favorite to actually advance to the conference semis, defeating John Jenkins, Josh Smith and Al Horford of the Atlanta Hawks. Our panel gave the Celtics a 73 percent chance to win any given game, and the dice came up 59 and 21, a two-game Boston sweep. The Celtics will now face the East Leftovers in the first east semifinal next week.

But in the West another favorite fell. The Los Angeles Clippers, with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and Lamar Odom, were stunned by the talented Minnesota Timberwolves threesome of Ricky Rubio, Andrei Kirilenko and Kevin Love. Our experts had given the Clippers a slight edge at 59 percent, and when the first roll came back 52 the Clippers won game one. However, the second roll was an 89, evening the series at a game apiece. In the crucial game three, the roll was a 62 and Minnesota eked out the victory. Of course, if J.R. Wilco of Pounding the Rock had half a brain he would have at most called this series a push, instead of making the Timberwolves 13-7 favorites, in which case the Clippers would have advanced. But I'm not bitter. He's just still mad at me for creating that West Leftovers team that eliminated his Spurs -- and as it happens, the Leftovers are the team the Timberwolves will meet next week in a west semifinal.

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NBA 3 on 3 Tournament Round Two -- Los Angeles Clippers Vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

In a Western Conference showdown that promises to be among the most entertaining imaginary 3 on 3 basketball games ever, the Los Angeles Clippers face off against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Clippers threesome consists of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and Lamar Odom. None of those three is really stretching the floor, but with Paul running pick and roll every possession, they don't really have to. With only three defenders, even if you play it perfectly, something is going to be open. The worst shot the Clippers should ever take would be an open 15-footer for Odom, and that's not a bad shot. They'd get plenty of layups and dunks, too, with Paul orchestrating things.

The Timberwolves were the 13 seed in this Tournament, and they are the highest seed still alive, but don't think for a minute that it's a fluke that they're in the second round. With Ricky Rubio, Andrei Kirilenko and Kevin Love, this team is loaded. The battle between Love and Griffin alone would be worth the hypothetical price of imaginary admission.

Let's see what our panel of experts has to say.

  • Tom Ziller, SB Nation NBA, Sactown Royalty -- Clippers win 15 of 20
  • Andrew Sharp, SB Nation -- Clippers wins 11 of 20
  • J.R Wilco, Pounding the Rock -- Minnesota wins 13 of 20
  • J.A. Sherman, Welcome to Loud City -- Clippers wins 12 of 20
  • Adam Francis, Raptors HQ -- Clippers wins 14 of 20
  • Probability to win any given game -- Clippers 59 percent; Minnesota 41 percent
  • Probability to win series -- Clippers 63.35 percent; Minnesota 36.65 percent

Expert Comments:

Going with the Clippers solely because of CP3, but could totally see the T'Wolves stealing this one. Wouldn't Kevin Love be absolutely murderous with extra space all over the floor? And Rubio? And Kirilenko flying all over the place with help defense? Clearly, I want to to pick the pick the Wolves, but... CP3. It's just too hard to pick against CP3. (Note: I would pay $200 to watch these teams play 20 games of 3 on 3.) -- Sharp

I love this Minnesota team: rebounding, outside shooting, defense, toughness and playmaking. If Griffin had a couple more years of experience, or if Odom was a bit younger, I'd probably feel differently, but I think the Timberwolves out-muscle, out-hustle and outlast the Clippers. -- Wilco

Wow, this would be a fun match-up. On paper, it seems like Kevin Love's outside shooting should completely break down the Clippers' defense and Kirilenko would give Odom fits on the wings. I could see the Wolves starting off this series hot, taking a quick 7-2 lead in the series. However, the counter-argument is of course Chris Paul. He would begin to figure things out, turn negatives into positives, and eventually his talent and experience would catch Rubio and the Wolves in the end, leaving Minny to wonder, 'how did that happen?' -- Sherman

Wait, didn't I vote these Clipper guys out already? Not sold on them getting much farther, but think they take care of Minny. -- Francis

The Bottom Line

The experts seem to think (a) this one could be close (one picked the Wolves, most have it pretty even) and (b) it would be a lot of fun. In the final analysis the panel gives the Clippers a 59 percent chance to win any given game, which translates to a little more than 63 percent chance of advancing. Still, that's a better than one in three chance for Minny to pull the upset.

The dice will ultimately decide. The Clippers will be looking for rolls in the 50s or lower, the T'Wolves want 60s or higher.

Who do you think would win this one?

The results will be posted at 5 p.m. ET.

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NBA 3 on 3 Tournament Round Two -- Boston Celtics Vs. Atlanta Hawks

On the first day of the second round of SB Nation's hypothetical NBA 3 on 3 Tournament, the top seeds in each conference were upset, making the path to the conference finals a little easier for the teams playing Tuesday. In the East, the 4th-seeded Boston Celtics are facing the 5th-seeded Atlanta Hawks in a rematch of a playoff series from last May.

Boston sends a very famous trio into this game. Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett have won an NBA championship together and all three are All Stars. It's a very good offensive unit, a great defensive unit, and they have great chemistry. That's hard to beat.

Atlanta sends Al Horford and Josh Smith along with rookie John Jenkins out to do battle with Boston's big three. Jenkins' role will be to hit perimeter jumpers on kick outs from the talented Atlanta bigs. But let's face it, if we're playing Sesame Street "One of these things just doesn't belong" with these six players, it's Jenkins.

Let's see what our panel of experts has to say.

  • Tom Ziller, SB Nation NBA, Sactown Royalty -- Boston wins 12 of 20
  • Andrew Sharp, SB Nation -- Boston wins 14 of 20
  • Steve Perrin, SB Nation NBA, Clips Nation -- Boston wins 16 of 20
  • Frank Madden, Brew Hoop -- Boston wins 14 of 20
  • CA Clark, Silver Screen and Roll -- Boston wins 17 of 20
  • Probability to win any given game -- Boston 73 percent; Atlanta 27 percent
  • Probability to win series -- Boston 82.07 percent; Atlanta 17.93 percent

Expert Comments:

The poor Hawks just can't escape the Celtics. Boston's vulnerable, but not against the Smith-Jenkins-Horford trio. Rondo alone can survive those three, and that's before Pierce takes over for say, six or seven of these imaginary games. The Celtics roll here. -- Sharp

Even though Smith might have a size advantage over Pierce and Horford is a beast, Rondo destroys Jenkins plain and simple. -- Perrin

The defensive versatility of Smith and Horford should prove huge in a 3 on 3 setting -- switch everything! -- but I'm not exactly sold on sharpshooter Jenkins hanging with Rondo. -- Madden

Hawks have talent, but I'm not sold on a rookie shooting guard being able to initiate an offense of any kind against Rondo. -- Clark

The Bottom Line

According to our panel of experts, Boston has a 73 percent chance to win any single game and an 82 percent chance to win the best two of three series.

The dice will ultimately decide. Boston will be looking for rolls of 73 or lower while the Hawks are dice to come up big as they did Monday, 74 or more.

Who do you think would win this showdown?

The results will be posted at 5 p.m. ET.

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NBA 3 on 3 Tournament Results: Top Seeds Fall

In the first round of SB Nation's NBA 3 on 3 Tournament, over the course of 16 series, there was only one upset to speak of. Three double digit seeds advanced, but two of those were given the better chance of advancing by our panel of experts. Using dice to determine who actually advances was intended to add an element of randomness to the proceedings, but in the first round it had very little impact.

Welcome to Round 2.

In the East, the Chicago Bulls, with a formidable team of Derrick Rose, Luol Deng and Joakim Noah, were significant favorites over the East Leftover team of Brandon Jennings, Gerald Wallace and Roy Hibbert. Given a 71 percent chance to win any single game, the Bulls were instead swept, as the dice came up huge on back-to-back rolls -- 91 and 96. Maybe Rose got hurt again.

Out West, the San Antonio Spurs brought a legendary trio to the tournament in Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan. Playing against the West Leftovers, James Harden, Zach Randolph and Pau Gasol, the Spurs were giving away a lot of size, but held a quickness and experience advantage. The experts gave the Spurs a 61 percent chanceto win any given game, but once again, it didn't matter. The dice came up 65 and 93 and the Spurs were dismissed from the tournament.

So the second round starts off with a bang, as both No. 1 seeds are eliminated. Will the rest of Round 2 be as unpredictable? We'll have to wait and see.

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NBA 3 on 3 Tournament Round Two -- San Antonio Spurs Vs. West Leftovers

As the first day of the second round of SB Nation's NBA 3 on 3 Tournament continues, the West's top seed, the San Antonio Spurs, faces a team made of players left off their respective 3 on 3 teams. Don't assume for a second that this team of leftovers will be a pushover.

This Spurs team is among the most recognizable in the tournament, and without question the team with the most experience playing together. Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan have been Spurs' teammates for a decade, winning three NBA championships together in that time. A 3 on 3 title is, however, one honor that has eluded them so far. The talent and chemistry are there, but they are facing a size disadvantage in this series.

The West Leftover team makes you ask yourself how good these guys' regular teams must be. Sixth Man of the Year James Harden is the least decorated of the three, teaming up with All Stars Zach Randolph and Pau Gasol. So that means Ginobili will have to defend either Z-Bo or Pau, and vice versa. It's a big mismatch both ways, no matter how you look at it. J.R. Wilco of the Spurs blog Pounding the Rock called these guys an amalgam of an apostasy in the first round -- so they've got that going for them.

Let's see what our panel of experts has to say.

  • Tom Ziller, SB Nation NBA, Sactown Royalty -- San Antonio wins 15 of 20
  • Andrew Sharp, SB Nation NBA -- San Antonio wins 17 of 20
  • Steve Perrin, SB Nation NBA, Clips Nation -- San Antonio wins 12 of 20
  • CA Clark, Silver Screen and Roll -- Leftovers win 11 of 20
  • Adam Francis, Raptors HQ -- Leftovers win 12 of 20
  • Probability of winning any given game -- San Antonio 61 percent; Leftovers 39 percent
  • Probability of winning series -- San Antonio 66.23 percent; Leftovers 33.77 percent

Expert Comments:

I will ride with San Antonio and Tim Duncan's mystical game forever. (Or at least until they face the Clippers or Lakers.) -- Ziller

Ahhhhhhhh I really really wanted to pick the West Leftovers here -- Harden, Z-BO, and Pau -- but there's just no way they can guard this Spurs trio. Manu and Tony Parker would destroy them over and over and over again. Giving them three games is probably being too kind. -- Sharp

These are the fun ones -- two teams configured completely differently. Does the size of the Westovers pummel the Spurs into submission? Or does the Spurs quickness run circles around them? There's no real way to know, so I'll give SA the edge based on experience playing together. -- Perrin

Strangest possible matchup in the tournament. Crazy mismatch between one of SA's guards and one of WEST's power forwards, in both directions. When in doubt, size wins because 5-foot post moves are easier than 15-foot jumpers. -- Clark

SAS has chemistry on its side, but I think in the 3 on 3 setting, the West leftovers' size wins out. -- Francis

The Bottom Line

It's a split panel, with three experts picking the Spurs and two picking the West Leftovers. Overall, the panel gives the Spurs the edge at 61 percent to win any single game, which translates to a two-in-three chance to win the series.

We'll roll the dice to decide each game of course. The Spurs want rolls of 61 or lower to win and move on.

Which team do you think would win this cross-matching nightmare?

The results will be posted at 5 p.m. ET.

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NBA 3 on 3 Tournament Round Two -- Chicago Bulls Vs. East Leftovers

The second round of SB Nation's NBA 3 on 3 Tournament gets underway Monday amid all the pomp and excitement befitting a hypothetical competition of this magnitude. Kicking off the second round, we have the No. 1 seeds in each conference against the No. 9 seeds, which happen to be made up of players left off their own teams. In the East that means the Chicago Bulls, featuring Derrick Rose, Luol Deng and Joakim Noah against a leftover team made up of Brandon Jennings, Gerald Wallace and Roy Hibbert.

Remember, for the purposes of this tournament we are assuming Rose is at full strength, so this Bulls' team is loaded. Deng and Noah are among the best defenders in the league at their positions, while Rose could probably carry the scoring load all by himself in this format. Plus they match up well in this game.

This leftover team features two players (Jennings and Wallace) who have outlasted the teams they were left off (Milwaukee and Brooklyn were each eliminated in the first round). Joined by Roy Hibbert of the Pacers, this is a talented point-wing-center trio, but beating the Bulls will not be easy.

Let's see what our panel of experts has to say.

  • Tom Ziller, SB Nation NBA, Sactown Royalty -- Chicago wins 13 of 20
  • Andrew Sharp, SB Nation -- Chicago wins 15 of 20
  • Steve Perrin, SB Nation NBA, Clips Nation -- Chicago wins 14 of 20
  • Frank Madden, Brew Hoop -- Chicago wins 14 of 20
  • CA Clark, Silver Screen and Roll -- Chicago wins 15 of 20
  • Probability to win any given game -- Chicago 71 percent; East Leftovers 29 percent
  • Probability to win series -- Chicago 79.65 percent; East Leftovers 20.35 percent

Expert Comments:

I don't think Chicago is a stellar 3 on 3 team beyond Rose, so I'll give the East boys a fighting chance. What percentage of shots does Rose take? 90 percent? -- Ziller

The second round is underway! WOO! Annnnnd, yeah: Derrick Rose abuses Brandon Jennings the way an actual Bull would dominate an actual Buck, Luol Deng does the same to Gerald Wallace, and then Joakim Noah and Hibbert is a push. Still, this is not really a fair fight. -- Sharp

This features five really good players and one superstar -- superstars win in the NBA, especially in 3 on 3. -- Perrin

Wallace/Hibbert and Deng/Noah are a push, but the Bulls' advantage at the point is simply too much -- assuming a relatively healthy Derrick Rose of course. -- Madden

Deng and Noah are too good defensively, which leaves the East team with a whole bunch of Jennings trying to out dual Rose. Not good. -- Clark

The Bottom Line

According to our panel of experts, Chicago has a 71 percent chance to win any single game and is close to 80 percent to win the best two of three series. The panel seems to think that Rose is the difference.

The dice will ultimately decide. Chicago will be looking for rolls of 71 or lower while the Eastovers are looking for big rolls, 72 or more.

Who do you think would win this showdown?

The results will be posted at 5 p.m. ET.

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NBA 3 on 3 Tournament -- Second Round Preview

The first round of SB Nation's completely hypothetical NBA 3 on 3 Tournament is in the books and it's been a wild ride so far. If you're just joining us, you can head back to the beginning of the story stream to get the whole story, but to sum up, we at SB Nation were wondering what it might look like if every team in the NBA picked their best 3 on 3 team for a tournament. The NBA bloggers of SB Nation selected their teams, we added a couple of extra teams made up of players who were left off of other squads to round out a 32 team field, and we're squaring them off one by one. To add an element of randomness, after establishing a probability for the teams in each matchup, we're using dice to determine who actually wins the games, best two of three to advance to the next round.

Here are the seedings and rosters for the 16 teams still alive:

West

East

1. San Antonio - Duncan, Ginobili, Parker

1. Chicago - Rose, Noah, Deng

2. OKC - Durant, Westbrook, Collison

2. Miami - James, Wade, Bosh

3. Lakers - Nash, Bryant, Howard

3. Indiana - Granger, George, Stephenson

5. Clippers - Paul, Griffin, Odom

4. Boston - Garnett, Rondo, Pierce

7. Dallas - Nowitzki, Brand, West

5. Atlanta - Horford, Smith, Jenkins

9. West Leftovers - Gasol, Harden, Randolph

7. New York - Chandler, Anthony, Shumpert

11. Phoenix - Gortat, Dragic, Dudley

9. East Leftovers - Jennings, Wallace, Hibbert

13. Minnesota - Rubio, Kirilenko, Love

11. Detroit - Monroe, Stuckey, Jerebko

and here is the bracket heading into the second round:

3_on_3_tourney_bracket_medium

Despite the random element of using dice to determine the outcome of games, only three double digit seeds -- 13th seeded Minnesota and 11th seeded Phoenix in the West, 11th seeded Detroit in the East -- advanced to the second round. Both the Timberwolves and Pistons were favored in their games by our panel of judges, so those weren't even upsets once the competition started. Only Phoenix over Denver was anything close to a surprise based on random dice rolls in the first round (technically Atlanta was the slightest of underdogs as our panel had Toronto at 51 percent against the Hawks, but 49-51 is not going to yield a surprise either way).

With eight teams left in each conference, the Tournament now begins to look a little like the NBA playoffs. In fact, three of the eight second round matchups in the 3 on 3 tournament are rematches from last year's playoffs: Oklahoma City versus Dallas, Miami versus New York and Boston versus Atlanta.

The Leftover teams have gotten quite a bit of attention here, but they now have to face the number 1 seeds in each conference in the second round. For some of these players rejected from their original team just being in the second round is a measure of retribution -- Brandon Jennings, Gerald Wallace and Zach Randolph are all still playing in the tournament while the rest of the Bucks, Nets and Grizzlies have been sent packing.

It's dangerous to read too much into the probabilities from the first round since the strength of the opponent is just as important a factor, but the panel of experts gave the highest ratings to Miami (96 percent), Chicago (94), San Antonio (84), the Lakers (84) and Oklahoma City (80) in their first round matchups.

The best matchup of the second round may be the Clippers and the Timberwolves; Chris Paul, Lamar Odom and Blake Griffin against Ricky Rubio, Andrei Kirilenko and Kevin Love. That's a 3 on 3 game that anyone would love to see.

The second round gets started on Monday so be sure to follow it on the story stream.

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NBA 3 on 3 Tournament Results: NBA Finalists Advance

The first round of the first ever SB Nation NBA 3 on 3 Tournament is now in the books! On the last day of the first round, the 2 seeds both advanced to fill out the round of 16.

In the East, the mighty Miami Heat, the team built for this very competition, easily handled the Washington Wizards. Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh of the Heat were given a 96 percent chance of beating John Wall, Trevor Ariza and Nene in any given game. The Wizards therefore needed very big rolls (97 or higher) to win, but instead the dice came up 29 and 49, giving the Heat the sweep. Miami moves on to face its old foes the New York Knicks in the second round.

Out West, the Western Conference champion Oklahoma City Thunder fell into a hole early against the upstart Sacramento Kings. The Thunder threesome of Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and Nick Collison were adjudged to have an 80 percent chance of winning any given game against a Kings trio of Isaiah Thomas, Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins. Needing rolls of 81 or higher, the Kings pulled off the roll one upset when the dice settled on 90. Needing two straight wins to advance, the Thunder dug deep as indicated by the rolls of 70 and 27. The Thunder will now face the Dallas Mavericks when the second round gets started next week.

We'll have a preview of the second round of the tournament right here Friday, so stay tuned.

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NBA 3 on 3 Tournament Round One -- Oklahoma City Thunder Vs. Sacramento Kings

The final game of the first round of SB Nation's NBA 3 on 3 Tournament is the 2-15 mismatch in the West, the Oklahoma City Thunder versus the Sacramento Kings.

There may not be much intrigue concerning the outcome of this series, but there's plenty of controversy surrounding the three players selected to represent the Thunder. J.A. Sherman of Welcome to Loud City chose to play this tournament with Kevin Durant (duh), Russell Westbrook (natch) and Nick Collison (wait, what?). No Sixth Man of the Year James Harden, no runner-up to the Defensive Player of the Year Serge Ibaka. I actually get it, and have mad respect for Sherman's decision to go with the solid but unspectacular Collison -- there's plenty of spectacular on that team already, they could use some solid. But it's a huge risk. After all, no IT Manager ever lost their job imaginary job for picking fictional IBM.

The Kings threesome is comprised of Isaiah Thomas, Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins and guess what, that's not bad. Both Evans and Cousins have struggled at times to be efficient and effective NBA players, but they could be monsters at 3 on 3, and Thomas will be a blur out there. Unfortunately they're up against a team that's absolutely loaded -- even with Collison.

Let's see what our panel of experts has to say.

  • Andrew Sharp, SB Nation NBA -- Oklahoma City wins 12 of 20
  • Steve Perrin, SB Nation NBA, Clips Nation -- Oklahoma City wins 16 of 20
  • J.R. Wilco, Pounding the Rock -- Oklahoma City wins 19 of 20
  • Frank Madden, Brew Hoop -- Oklahoma City wins 16 of 20
  • Adam Francis, Raptors HQ -- Oklahoma City wins 17 of 20
  • Overall probabilities -- Oklahoma City 80 percent; Sacramento 20 percent

Expert Comments:

Really wanted to pick Sacramento here, for two reasons. First, because the Kings trio is WAY TOO AWESOME. The Other Isaiah, 'Reke Havoc, and DMC... That's a bandwagon I want to be on, even if it's eventually destined to end in a fiery death for everyone. Second, because seriously OKC deserves to lose just for picking Collison over Ibaka or Harden. Alas, in the spirit of taking this imaginary tournament seriously, there's no way OKC would actually get upset here. It'd be closer than you think, though. -- Sharp

We're finding out in London and elsewhere that Durant is on an entirely different level. OKC could put any two other roster players with him, and they'd still have a chance to win this thing. How exactly do you stop him in this format? -- Perrin

When I think of this Thunder team's first round matchup with the Kings, the image of a cat playing with a mouse comes to mind -- and I'm still not sure that truly captures the dominance involved. Just imagine what these games would've been like if, instead of twos and threes, we were following the actual FIBA 3 on 3 rules of one point for shots inside the arc and two for outside! -- Wilco

A talented entry from the Kings but one that faces an even more talented entry from the Thunder. Cousins helps Sacto bull their way to a few wins, but Collison's D negates a lot of what he does, and Durant and Westbrook are nearly unstoppable in this format. -- Francis

The Bottom Line

Despite some consternation with the selection of Collison and some real respect for the talent of this Kings' threesome, the Thunder are still four-to-one favorites to win any single game in this series. Overall, they have close to a 90 percent chance of advancing. Collison will have his hands full with Cousins, and the fact that Evans doesn't have a clear position in the NBA won't matter here, but no one is stopping Durant, so this should be OKC's series.

Now it's up to the dice. The Kings will be looking for rolls of 81 or higher.

Let us know what you think about this matchup.

The results will be posted at 5 p.m. ET.

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NBA 3 on 3 Tournament Round One -- Miami Heat Vs. Washington Wizards

The first round of SB Nation's NBA 3 on 3 Tournament comes to a close Thursday, and with that we have two matchups that look like mismatches on paper. That's because Thursday's schedule features the 2 seeds versus the 15 seeds, and the 2 seeds happen to be the combatants from June's NBA Finals. We begin in the East with the Miami Heat taking on the Washington Wizards.

The editorial team at Hot Hot Hoops took about three seconds to decide which three players would represent the Heat before going with Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh. When the Three Amigos took their talents to South Beach, they didn't even know that a super-prestigious fictional 3 on 3 Tournament was on the horizon, but it's almost as if they joined forces just to win this here Betty Crocker Bake Off.

The Wizards have the first overall pick from 2010, one of the best centers in the Eastern Conference, and a tenacious defender on their 3 on 3 team, and it probably doesn't matter a bit. John Wall, Trevor Ariza and Nene form a pretty decent threesome, but they're probably doomed to an early exit by their first round draw.

Let's see what our panel of experts has to say.

Expert Comments:

There might be a goose egg game in this series. -- Ziller

Look, Wade/James/Bosh are not gods and Wall/Ariza/Nene are not stiffs. Nene can exploit Bosh in the post and Wall is crazy quick, so they steal a few. But not many. -- Perrin

John Wall's talent should be enough to give the Wiz at least one win, right? Maybe? Possibly? No. -- Sherman

Obvious result is obvious. -- Clark

Tough draw for an intriguing Wizards' club who use Nene to power to a victory. But that's the only one they get. -- Francis

The Bottom Line

According to our panel of experts, this is the most lopsided contest of the entire first round, and that's a first round that featured the Charlotte Bobcats. Bear in mind that when the panel gives the Heat a 96 percent chance of winning one game, the odds are actually higher that they'll advance by winning at least two out of three -- like better than 99.5 percent.

The dice will ultimately decide but it doesn't look good for the Wizards, who need not one but two rolls of 97 or greater. The odds are better than 200 to 1 against that.

Who do you think would win this showdown?

The results will be posted at 5 p.m. ET.

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NBA 3 on 3 Tournament Results: Knicks and Mavericks Move On

The better seeds held on in today's exciting (albeit imaginary) NBA 3 on 3 Tournament action.

In the East, the 7th-seeded New York Knicks, with Iman Shumpert, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler, faced the 10th-seeded Milwaukee Bucks, featuring Monta Ellis, Luc Mbah a Moute and Ersan Ilyasova. Our panel of experts gave the Knicks a slight 60-40 edge in the competition but New York made it look easy, sweeping the Bucks with rolls of 5 and 31. The Knicks move on to the second round, where they will face the winner of Thursday's meeting between Miami and Washington (I wonder who that will be).

Out West, things got very interesting. In a Texas shootout, the Dallas Mavericks threesome of Delonte West, Dirk Nowitzki and Elton Brand squared off against Jeremy Lin, Jeremy Lamb and Donatas Motiejunas of the Houston Rockets. The experts made Dallas pretty heavy favorites, giving them a 72 percent chance to win any single game. When the first roll came up 86, Houston took the first game of the series leaving Dallas in a position where it had to win two straight to advance. A 51 on roll number two tied the series. The all-important third roll showed a 69, giving Dallas a narrow victory. Rockets fans, you can blame Andrew Sharp, who said Dallas would win 19 of 20 meetings. Had Sharp given Dallas just 15 of 20, more in line with the other panelists, the Rockets would have won game three. Don't feel too bad though -- Dallas now moves on to face the winner of Oklahoma City and Sacramento, and that doesn't figure to end well for the Mavericks.

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NBA 3 on 3 Tournament Round One -- Dallas Mavericks Vs. Houston Rockets

The nature of the NBA is that rosters turn over, either a little or a lot, every offseason. This matchup in SB Nation's 3 on 3 Tournament features two teams that will look very different this coming season, the Dallas Mavericks and the Houston Rockets.

The Mavericks still feature Dirk Nowitzki, but several other key players are gone. The 3 on 3 is built around Nowitzki just as the full Mavs' roster is, with Delonte West and new-comer Elton Brand joining Dirk. The squad is something of a mish-mash, but it's pretty friggin' tough to stop Dirk with five defenders, let alone three.

Houston is another team in transition, and based on this 3 on 3 roster, the transition may not be pretty this year. Tom Martin of The Dream Shake picked two rookies -- Donatas Motiejunas and Jeremy Lamb -- to join yet another newcomer to the team, Jeremy Lin. It's probably wishful thinking to suspect that Motiejunas and Lamb are among the team's three best players, but looking at the roster, who else would choose (though Kevin Martin is a pretty obvious omission)? For his part, Lin would be terrific in this format, but he doesn't have much help.

Let's see what our panel of experts has to say.

  • Tom Ziller, SB Nation NBA, Sactown Royalty -- Dallas wins 12 of 20
  • Andrew Sharp, SB Nation NBA -- Dallas wins 19 of 20
  • Steve Perrin, SB Nation NBA, Clips Nation -- Dallas wins 14 of 20
  • Frank Madden, Brew Hoop -- Dallas wins 15 of 20
  • J.A. Sherman, Welcome to Loud City -- Dallas wins 12 of 20
  • Overall probabilities -- Dallas 72 percent; Houston 28 percent

Expert Comments:

The Rockets are such a disaster. Here especially, but everywhere, really. -- Sharp

Motiejunas looked surprisingly good in summer league -- but come on. -- Perrin

The Rockets effectively waived the white flag with their youth-only lineup of Lin, Lamb and Motiejunas, but running two quick guards against a Mavericks lineup with only one small (West) introduces lots of unpredictability. Too bad it's a halfcourt game and the Mavs have that Dirk guy. -- Madden

This series will likely come down to how well Dirk Nowitzki can position himself for good shot attempts. I think that the combination of Dirk's experience and Delonte West's quickness should be able to generate enough open looks to give Dallas the nod. -- Sherman

The Bottom Line

Of these two Texas teams tackling transitions (that's alliteration, Jack!) the Mavericks are clearly better positioned for now, at least as evidenced by these 3 on 3 teams. Then again, the Mavericks also won the NBA Title 15 months ago, so they have further to fall. For this exercise, the experts have given them the advantage, with a 72 percent chance of beating the Rockets in any single game.

The dice will ultimately decide, and the Mavericks will be looking for rolls of 72 or lower, while the Rockets will be looking for rolls of 73 or higher.

Who do you think would win this showdown?

The results will be posted at 5 p.m. ET.

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NBA 3 on 3 Tournament Round One -- New York Knicks Vs. Milwaukee Bucks

Next up in the first round of SB Nation's fictional NBA 3 on 3 Tournament we have the 7 vs. 10 showdowns. In the East that pits the New York Knicks against the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Knicks' three highest paid and highest visibility players are Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and Amare Stoudemire. (As an aside, is it not breathtaking the way the Knicks went from far under the salary cap in the summer of 2010 to once again deep into the luxury tax in less than two years? Those guys sure can spend money.) Playing a 3 on 3 Tournament with three front court players presents certain problems, though (like Carmelo as your primary ballhandler), so Stoudemire was left off the selection in favor of -- wait for it -- Iman Shumpert. What would Stat punch if that really happened? Melo could be all the offense they need, and Chandler will be a defensive force, so they definitely have a chance.

The Bucks have the opposite problem. The NBA is a superstar league, even when you're playing 5 on 5 -- a 3 on 3 tournament clearly favors the teams with the mega stars even more. The Bucks have a more balanced roster, and as such Frank Madden of Brew Hoop went in to the selection process with zero locks. In the end he picked Monta Ellis (over Brandon Jennings), Luc Mbah a Moute (over MIke Dunleavy) and Ersan Ilyasova (over Sam Dalembert). It's not a bad little team, but they'll certainly need Ellis to be a scoring machine.

Let's see what our panel of experts has to say.

  • Tom Ziller, SB Nation NBA, Sactown Royalty -- Each team wins 10 of 20
  • Andrew Sharp, SB Nation NBA -- Milwaukee wins 12 of 20
  • Steve Perrin, SB Nation NBA, Clips Nation -- New York wins 12 of 20
  • J.R. Wilco, Pounding the Rock -- New York wins 13 of 20
  • CA Clark, Silver Screen and Roll -- New York wins 17 of 20
  • Overall probabilities -- New York 60 percent; Milwaukee 40 percent

Expert Comments:

You can't underestimate just how much of a wild card Monta Ellis is in a tournament like this. When he's engaged, he can be unstoppable. Short games, fewer possessions without the ball -- that should help keep him engaged. -- Ziller

Upset alert! Monta Ellis would wreak havoc from all over the court and neither Tyson nor Shump can stop him, Illyasova and Mbah Moute can take turns guarding Melo, and the Knicks don't have anyone else to pick up the slack and keep pace with Monta. Right? Picking the Knicks to win eight games feels too charitable. -- Sharp

My brain starts to go all swimmy when I think of the different lineup possibilities N.Y. would've had if they had signed Jeremy Lin. -- Wilco

3 on 3 is for players closer to the kind of game that Melo is best in the world at. With Chandler on D, this is no contest. -- Clark

The Bottom Line

Befitting a 7-10 matchup, the experts think this one will be pretty close (all except Clark that is, who seems to love him some Melo). In the final reckoning the panel places the odds at 60-40 in favor of the Knicks. A reminder also that these probabilities are for each game. Since the format of the tournament is best two out of three, the odds that an underdog will advance by winning two games are actually less than the odds that they'd win any single game. In this case the Bucks have a 40 percent chance of winning any single game,which equates to a 35.2 percent chance of advancing.

But in order for that to happen, the Bucks need a couple of dice rolls of 61 or higher.

Who do you think would win this showdown?

The results will be posted at 5 p.m. ET.

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NBA 3 on 3 Tournament Results: The First True Upset

Three fourths of the way through the first round of our theoretical NBA 3 on 3 Tournament, we finally have our first big upset.

In Tuesday's 6-11 matchups, both 11 seeds advanced. In the Eastern Conference, the 11th-seeded Detroit Pistons, featuring Rodney Stuckey, Jonas Jerebko and Greg Monroe, knocked off Jameer Nelson, Arron Afflalo and Gustavo Ayon of the Orlando Magic. However, this one wasn't really an upset -- at least not according to our panel of experts, who gave Orlando just a 31 percent chance of taking advantage of the better seeding (meaning the Magic wanted rolls of 31 or less). The dice came up 84 and 45, giving Detroit a two-game sweep. The Pistons move on to the second round, where they will face the Pacers.

Out West, we got a bona fide upset. This time it wasn't just the seeding, but also the experts who thought the Denver Nuggets would beat the Phoenix Suns. The experts gave Andre Iguodala, Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari a 66 percent chance to defeat a Suns team consisting of Goran Dragic, Jared Dudley and Marcin Gortat. Needing rolls of 67 or greater to win a game, the Suns got a sweep of their own with rolls of 83 and 95. This proves that Jacob Padilla of Bright Side of the Sun was correct when he wrote that the Suns would win on the strength of their pick and roll (or more accurately, it proves nothing of the sort, and only shows that sometimes you randomly roll really big numbers). The Suns get the privilege of facing the Lakers in the second round, where they'll no doubt need some big rolls again.

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NBA 3 on 3 Tournament Round One -- Denver Nuggets Vs. Phoenix Suns

In the Western Conference, the 6-11 matchup features the Denver Nuggets against the Phoenix Suns. Denver would seem to have more talent, but there are some nasty mismatches on the floor as well.

The Nuggets are one of the teams that chose to go with three similar players in this tournament, with Andre Iguodala, Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari, all essentially small forwards, making up their threesome. The strategy is bold -- for instance the Nuggets would usually have a size advantage in some positions, a disadvantage in others. But is Iguodala sure handed enough to be their primary ball-handler? And for a team with three wings, they don't have a lot of perimeter scoring.

The Suns, on the other hand, have a much more traditional lineup, with point guard Goran Dragic, wing Jared Dudley and center Marcin Gortat. This Suns team would play pick and roll all day long, where Dragic and Gortat are both very capable, with Dudley spotting up if his man rotates to help. Phoenix would be able to score in 3 on 3, but could it stop the Nuggets?

Let's see what our panel of experts has to say.

  • Tom Ziller, SB Nation NBA, Sactown Royalty -- Denver wins 15 of 20
  • Andrew Sharp, SB Nation NBA -- Denver wins 16 of 20
  • Steve Perrin, SB Nation NBA, Clips Nation -- Denver wins 11 of 20
  • CA Clark, Silver Screen and Roll -- Phoenix wins 12 of 20
  • J.A. Sherman, Welcome to Loud City -- Denver wins 16 of 20
  • Overall probabilities -- Denver 66 percent; Phoenix 34 percent

Expert Comments:

How did Denver not choose Faried???? Kenneth Faried would be so much fun to watch in 3 on 3. This is a crime against (imaginary) basketball. In any case, the Nuggets trio is still deadly here and this Suns group is pretty impotent, so Denver rolls. and honestly, with Faried, Ty Lawson, and Rudy all on the sidelines, Denver probably has two separate teams who could make the second round in this tournament. -- Sharp

Denver's overall talent probably gets them through, but Gortat is REALLY big and REALLY good rolling to the basket. Phoenix has one play that I'm not sure Denver can ever stop. -- Perrin

Nuggets have more talent, but they have no answer for a Gortat on the roll. -- Clark

Let's start with the fact that Bright Side of the Sun postulates that Goran Dragic is the team's best player ... if Dragic is the Suns' best player, the Suns aren't going to be winning many 3 on 3 games, let alone regular season games. Denver's swing players Iguodala and Chandler should be able to blanket any perimeter threat, and Danilo Gallinari is a nightmare match-up on offense. -- Sherman

The Bottom Line

Some of these theoretical matchups are pretty straightforward. Two similar teams, where one has a massive talent edge, and we pretty much can imagine what would happen. But this series? Who knows? Gallo defending Gortat? Dragic defending Iggy? If I could pick one first round matchup that I magically get to make happen, this might be it, because I just want to know how it would play out. Which team gets to impose its will?

Our panel of experts thinks that team would be Denver, giving it a 66 percent chance to win any single game against this opponent. But one judge called it the other way, indicating the unpredictability of these mismatch laden lineups.

In our case the dice will determine the outcome. Suns fans pulling for an upset want to see rolls of 67 or higher.

Who do you think would win this showdown?

The results will be posted later this afternoon.

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NBA 3 on 3 Tournament Round One -- Orlando Magic Vs. Detroit Pistons

With Dwight Howard no longer in Orlando, the 6th-seeded Magic look more like a double-digit seed in our theoretical NBA 3 on 3 Tournament, presenting a major opportunity for the Detroit Pistons.

Howard is obviously a huge loss for Orlando, but what's more amazing is how little the Magic got in return. One of the players who arrived from Denver will be among the three representing Orlando, as Arron Afflalo joins Jameer Nelson and another new arrival, Gustavo Ayon. Yes, you read that right.

The Pistons counter with Rodney Stuckey, Jonas Jerebko and Greg Monroe. Stuckey could actually be quite good in a 3 on 3 setting, and Monroe is a very skilled big man while Jerebko can contribute in a few different ways, so the Pistons don't look too bad on paper. Compared to the Magic, they look darn good, despite being the 11 seed.

Let's see what our panel of experts has to say.

  • Tom Ziller, SB Nation NBA, Sactown Royalty -- Detroit wins 14 of 20
  • Andrew Sharp, SB Nation NBA -- Detroit wins 13 of 20
  • Steve Perrin, SB Nation NBA, Clips Nation -- Detroit wins 16 of 20
  • Frank Madden, Brew Hoop -- Detroit wins 13 of 20
  • Adam Francis, Raptors HQ -- Detroit wins 13 of 20
  • Overall probabilities -- Orlando 31 percent; Detroit 69 percent

Expert Comments:

What a draw for Detroit! -- Ziller

These contests really serve as a brutal reality check for teams. I can't say I was thrilled when I saw my Wizards were stuck with Trevor Ariza and Nene rounding out their top three, and remembered those are actually our three best players, and ... Well, seeing Orlando's trio made me feel better. -- Sharp

This really brings it home, right? Arron Afflalo was the centerpiece of a trade for Dwight Howard. Wow. -- Perrin

Ugh, Orlando might have the worst entry of any team in the tournament. Detroit dispatches them fairly easily. -- Francis

The Bottom Line

The panel has the 11th-seeded Pistons at 69 percent to win any single game with the Magic, but that's not an upset so much as a commentary on the sad state of the Magic. The Pistons are going to be a mess next season -- but they're in much better shape than the Magic.

The Magic are pretty big underdogs, with a less than one-in-three chance to win any one game, and a less than one-in-four chance to advance. They'll be looking for some random help in the form of dice rolls of 31 or less.

Who do you think would win this showdown?

The results will be posted later this afternoon.

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NBA 3 on 3 Tournament Results: 3 Seeds to the Second Round

The first day of the second week of our 3 on 3 NBA Tournament didn't yield any surprises.

In the East, the third-seeded Indiana Pacers, with Danny Granger, Paul George and Lance Stephenson, easily handled last year's Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving and his Cleveland teammates, Anderson Varejao and Dion Waiters. Our panel of experts gave the Pacers a 68 percent of winning any single meeting against these Cavs, and when the dice came up 30 and 46 it put the Pacers through in a sweep. In the second round Indiana will meet the winner of Orlando and Detroit.

Out West, the Lakers aren't just star-studded but MVP-studded (Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant have won MVPs and Dwight Howard finished second in 2011) and they were a heavy, 84 percent, favorite over Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Andrew Bogut of the Golden State Warriors. That series also was a sweep, with rolls of 64 and 59. The Lakers will face the winner of Tuesday's Denver vs. Phoenix contest in the second round.

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NBA 3 on 3 Tournament Round One -- Los Angeles Lakers Vs. Golden State Warriors

The 3 vs. 14 showdown in the West features a pretty good 3 on 3 team that's probably going to get destroyed by a threesome that really has no business existing outside the Playstation realm.

If this 3 on 3 Tournament were not simply theoretical, this Los Angeles Lakers team would be the one everyone would want to see, as it would be the first time that new Lakers Steve Nash and Dwight Howard would be playing competitively with Kobe Bryant. As it happens, the on-court chemistry of these three super-mega-stars is probably the biggest unanswered question about the Lakers in the coming season, and it could conceivably be an issue in 3 on 3 as well.

The Golden State Warriors have a terrific little 3 on 3 team themselves, with arguably the two best shooters in the entire tournament on the same team (Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson), anchored in the middle by a healthy Andrew Bogut (at least he's healthy in our world). That's a great 3 on 3 team, that happened to get a terrible first round draw. Little did Mark Jackson realize that all that tanking at the end of last season would have these types of real (and by real I mean imaginary) ramifications. Karma's a bitch.

Let's see what our panel of experts has to say.

  • Tom Ziller, SB Nation NBA, Sactown Royalty -- Lakers win 15 of 20
  • Andrew Sharp, SB Nation NBA -- Lakers win 20 of 20
  • Steve Perrin, SB Nation NBA, Clips Nation -- Lakers win 14 of 20
  • J.R. Wilco, Pounding the Rock -- Lakers win 17 of 20
  • J.A. Sherman, Welcome to Loud City -- Lakers win 18 of 20
  • Overall probabilities -- Lakers 84 percent; Warriors 16 percent

Expert Comments:

I don't think the Lakers are unbeatable solely because the Lakers have star a player who is one of the less likely players in the tournament to use his uber-talented teammates in a setting like this. In 3 on 3, it's always crunch time. And we know what happens in crunch time. All Kobe everything. -- Ziller

Yep. That Golden State trio wouldn't get a single game. -- Sharp

The Lakers are clearly better, but with shooters as flat out great as Curry and Thompson and so much space playing 3 on 3, if either or both goes off from deep Golden State has a viable avenue for winning some games here. -- Perrin

If it were a year ago and the Warriors had both Stephen Curry AND Monta Ellis in the backcourt, I might have given Golden State a puncher's chance because of either guy's ability to go on fantastic scoring runs. However, with the line-up they have now, the Lakers are simply better at every position. Nash is an older and more experienced version of Curry, Kobe is a better swing player than Klay Thompson, and Howard will manhandle Bogut on the inside. -- Sherman

The Bottom Line

Just imagining Nash, Bryant and Howard playing together is fascinating -- I can't wait until it actually happens. The overwhelming collection of talent on this Lakers 3 on 3 team (which left one of the most versatile 7 footers in the league off its 3 on 3 roster) has them at an 84 percent chance to win any one game, which makes them a virtual lock (over 93 percent) to win the series.

Still, we'll let the dice determine the actual outcome. Warriors fans will be hoping for some high roles, 85 or great.

Who do you think would win this showdown?

The results will be posted later this afternoon.

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NBA 3 on 3 Tournament Round One -- Indiana Pacers Vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

The second week of SB Nation's NBA 3 on 3 Tournament gets underway with this Eastern Conference showdown between the 3 seed and the 14 seed. It features what would logically be a mismatch based on the teams' respective seasons, but with a high-risk/high-reward Indiana trio taking the floor it could prove difficult to predict.

Indy Cornrows has chosen a team of wings to represent the Pacers with Danny Granger, Paul George and Lance Stephenson. That will produce mismatches both ways that might help the Pacers or hurt them. Stephenson, who has barely found any playing time in two seasons in Indianapolis so far, is the real surprise here, but certainly adds athleticism and some playground attitude to what is traditionally a playground game. As it happens, the Pacers have the easiest path to the Conference Semifinals of any team in the tournament, grouped as they are with Cleveland, Orlando and Detroit, so it may be awhile before we find out if Stephenson is a good choice.

The underdog in this series, the Cleveland Cavaliers, do have the very talented 2012 Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving to lead their team along with Anderson Varejao and rookie Dion Waiters. But are we really imagining a 3 on 3 game supposedly made up of the best players from NBA rosters that features Lance Stephenson and Dion Waiters? That doesn't feel quite right.

Let's see what our panel of experts has to say.

  • Tom Ziller, SB Nation NBA, Sactown Royalty -- Indiana wins 13 out of 20
  • Andrew Sharp, SB Nation NBA -- Indiana wins 14 out of 20
  • Steve Perrin, SB Nation NBA, Clips Nation -- Indiana wins 11 out of 20
  • CA Clark, Silver Screen and Roll -- Indiana wins 14 out of 20
  • Adam Francis, Raptors HQ -- Indiana wins 16 out of 20
  • Overall probabilities -- Indiana 68 percent; Cleveland 32 percent

Expert Comments:

I almost picked Cleveland solely out of anger that Indy Cornrows left Roy Hibbert off the team for a nominal playmaker. (Free George Hill, at least!) But Granger and George are too good in this round. It'll be a short tournament for Indiana, I fear. -- Ziller

How did Lance Stephenson get chosen as part of Indiana's trio? If Cleveland had taken Harrison Barnes maybe we could've picked the upset here, but alas. Dion Waiters as a top five pick is even more amazing than Stephenson on the Pacers, so Indy takes care of business. -- Sharp

I'm less than impressed with both of these teams, but can't quite bring myself to pick the upset. Cleveland's offense is going to consist of all Irving all the time, which might actually be enough in 3 on 3 where he'll be tough to contain, but Indy has a slight edge overall. -- Perrin

Irving is the best player on the court and Indy doesn't have anybody who can really stop him. That alone is worth 1/3. -- Clark

Kyrie gets the Cavs a few W's, but they've got no answer for the inside/outside play of Danny Granger. -- Francis

The Bottom Line

It's a less than enthusiastic consensus that Indiana has the advantage here, with the panel giving the Pacers trio a 68 percent chance of winning any single game with the Cavs threesome.

The actual outcomes remains random as you recall, determined by a roll of percentile dice. Pacers fans want to see a roll of 68 or lower, Cavs fans want 69 or higher.

Leave a comment about who you think will win this series.

The results will be posted later this afternoon.

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NBA 3 on 3 Tournament Day 4 Results: Celtics and Wolves Move On

The first week of our hypothetical NBA 3 on 3 Tournament comes to a close and we have our first major upset of the tournament, though our experts were not surprised by the results. We're now halfway through the first round.

In the East, the 4 seed prevailed against the 13 seed, as the Boston Celtics overcame the Brooklyn Nets, but it wasn't easy. Our panel of experts gave Boston a 67 percent chance of winning a game with the Nets, but Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez stunned the mighty Celtics when the first roll of the dice came up 87. With their backs to the wall, Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett needed to win two straight to advance, and that's just what they did as the next two rolls were 52 and 18. Boston advances to round two where they will face Atlanta, just as they did in last season's playoffs.

Out West, the panel expected the 13-seed Minnesota Timberwolves to knock off the 4-seed Memphis Grizzlies, and that is indeed what happened. Tony Allen, Rudy Gay and Marc Gasol of the Grizzlies were given just a 37 percent chance to win a given game, so Memphis wanted to see some low rolls. Unfortunately for the Grizz, the dice came back 52 and 81, so Ricky Rubio, Andrei Kirilenko and Kevin Love advance in a sweep. The Timberwolves will face the Clippers in the second round.

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NBA 3 on 3 Tournament Round One -- Memphis Grizzlies Vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

This Western Conference showdown between the 4 seed and the 13 seed figures to be a real barn-burner. The Timberwolves may have had the fourth worst record in the conference last season, but you'd never know it from this 3 on 3 team.

The Memphis Grizzlies, the 4 seed, faced a real dilemma in picking their team. Arguably their three best players all play in the front court, but it would be pretty tough to send two forwards and a center out to play 3 on 3. Straight Outta Vancouver decided to leave Zach Randoph off the team and chose Tony Allen to join Rudy Gay and Marc Gasol. Allen's a great choice on the defensive end and Gay and Gasol are loaded with talent, but the Grizzlies still lack a playmaker on offense.

The Timberwolves were actually around .500 when Ricky Rubio was hurt last season, so it's not that surprising that this 3 on 3 team seems so much better than their seed (just like Derrick Rose, Rubio has made a remarkable recovery and is ready to go for the tourney). Kevin Love is a no-brainer on the team, and given that few players in the world can rebound or score with the guy, he's going to be a 3 on 3 monster. Add free agent Andrei Kirilenko to this group and it could be amazing. Rubio orchestrating, Love being awesome and Kirilenko doing a bit of everything. Nasty.

So what do our experts expect to happen?

  • Tom Ziller, SB Nation NBA, Sactown Royalty -- Teams split 10 games each
  • Andrew Sharp, SB Nation NBA -- Minnesota wins 15 of 20
  • Steve Perrin, SB Nation NBA, Clips Nation -- Minnesota wins 12 of 20
  • Frank Madden, Brew Hoop -- Minnesota wins 13 of 20
  • J.A. Sherman, Welcome to Loud City -- Minnesota wins 13 of 20
  • Overall probabilities -- Memphis 37 percent; Minnesota 63 percent

Expert Comments:

I don't know how to judge Andrei Kirilenko back in the NBA until we see him, but I know he'd be some kind of monster in a three-on-three game. -- Ziller

Let's see.... The big man who can score from all over the court AND outrebound everyone, one of the best passers on earth, and a defensive swiss army knife. They're playing a smaller defensive swiss army knife, a timid wing who can't score in bunches OR stop anyone, and Marc Gasol, who is... Well okay, Marc Gasol is awesome. Still, I don't understand how this would be close. -- Sharp

I really love this Wolves team. In fact, with the Clippers facing the winner of this one, I love this team so much I'm really, really worried. -- Perrin

This match-up would really come down to how effectively the Grizzlies can run an offense through Marc Gasol. Since they don't have a dedicated point guard, they would have to initiate their offense from the high post and hope that Gay can hit enough open shots working off the ball to keep things competitive. However, I think the Wolves get the nod because with Rubio, they would be able to generate much more 'easy' points than the Grizzlies do, with Love in particular really showing a penchant for how to get open when he works with Rubio. Love also has the ability to pull his man Gasol 23 feet away from the rim, which would create all sorts of problems with Allen and Gay trying to slow down Rubio's drives and dishes. -- Sherman

The Bottom Line

Are we looking at the first big upset of this tournament? The experts seem to think so, giving the 13 seed a 63 percent chance against a 4 seed. We've seen a couple of 9 seeds advance, but a 9-8 game is usually a pick-em, and in this tournament with those leftover teams the 9 seeds were anything but patsies. At any rate we haven't seen a double digit seed move on yet.

Of course this Timberwolves 3 on 3 team bears little resemblance to the team that got them a 13 seed. Rubio was injured and Kirilenko was in Russia.

The dice will determine the outcome. Since Memphis is the better seed, we list their percentage first, and that's the number we're looking for on each roll of the dice. A 37 or lower is a Memphis win, 38 or higher is a Minnesota win.

Who do you think will win this best two out of three?

The results will be posted later this afternoon.

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NBA 3 on 3 Tournament Round One -- Boston Celtics Vs. Brooklyn Nets

This Eastern Conference showdown between the 4 seed and the 13 seed features two of the marquee teams in the league right now. Unfortunately, one of them is going to be going home.

The Boston Celtics have one of the most recognizable threesomes in the entire tournament. The C's have one of only three teams where all three players have been All Stars. It remains to be seen if Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett will have enough left in the tank to lead the Celtics to contender status in the NBA this season, but in a 3 on 3 tournament, they'll be really tough, if only for their relentless defense.

Meanwhile, all eyes are on the Nets this season as they move to Brooklyn. They didn't land Dwight Howard, but they did trade for Joe Johnson and re-sign Deron Williams and Brook Lopez, the threesome that just happens to make up their 3 on 3 team. That's a formidable offensive unit, but if any team can stop them it might be these Celtics.

Let's see what our panel of experts has to say.

  • Tom Ziller, SB Nation NBA, Sactown Royalty -- Teams split 10 games each
  • Andrew Sharp, SB Nation NBA -- Brooklyn wins 11 of 20
  • Steve Perrin, SB Nation NBA, Clips Nation -- Boston wins 14 of 20
  • J.R. Wilco, Pounding the Rock -- Boston wins 18 of 20
  • Adam Francis, Raptors HQ -- Boston wins 16 of 20
  • Overall probabilities -- Boston 67 percent; Brooklyn 33 percent

Expert Comments:

I refuse to anger either fan base. -- Ziller

I think these three Celtics still have it, and I don't expect Johnson and Lopez to be a lot of help to Williams. -- Perrin

D-Will and Joe Johnson in the wide open court would be too much for those old legs to handle. 5-on-5 Boston still has the edge, but not even Rajon Rondo can save them here. The only reason it's close is because Paul Pierce's irrational old man pride would win them 5 games all by itself. -- Sharp

Rondo, Pierce and Kevin Garnett - wow. That's one seriously dangerous 3 on 3 team. Defense, scoring, rebounding, play making: they have it all. I hate to say it, but I'd put them up against any other team in this tourney. I'm going to say that Johnson gets hot for a game and Williams does the same in another, but the other 18 belong to the Celts. It's official. I'm scared of a team besides Miami. -- Wilco

Brooklyn might get a few wins, but think the C's outclass the Nets at both ends of the court. -- Francis

The Bottom Line

Once again we have a split panel, with three judges picking the Celtics, one taking the Nets, and one wimping out calling it a toss up. Even so, the Celtics end up being a 2-to-1 favorite.

A quick note on the percentages to answer some questions from the comments. The percentages are being used to determine the outcome of each game in a best two of three competition. In the case of the Nets, they have a 33 percent chance of winning any one game -- which makes their likelihood of winning the series even less than one in three. You can brush up on your Bernoulli trials here, but with a 33 percent chance to win a single game, the Nets actually have about a 1 in 4 chance to win the series (25.4826 percent by my math). I've been a little loose with my phrasing in earlier posts and I apologize for that.

Each outcome is of course random, determined by a roll of percentile dice. Celtics fans want to see a roll of 67 or lower, Nets fans want 68 or higher.

Now that we've got that out of the way, leave a comment about who you think will win this series. Or leave a comment about Bernoulli trials and correcting my math. Either one is fine.

The results will be posted later this afternoon.

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NBA 3 on 3 Tournament Day 3 Results: 5 Will Survive

Thursday's pair of games in our hypothetical 3 on 3 Tournament pitted the No. 5 seeds against the No. 12 seeds. Did we get any March Madness style upsets? Nope.

Out East, in a showdown that our panel of judges thought was almost too close to call (49-51), the Atlanta Hawks' trio of John Jenkins, Josh Smith and Al Horford swept past Kyle Lowry, Terrence Ross and Andrea Bargnani of the Toronto Raptors. Needing dice rolls of 49 or lower, Atlanta won handily with back-to-back rolls of 3 and 16, and now advances to the second round where they'll face the winner of tomorrow's contest between the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets.

In the West, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and Lamar Odom of the Los Angeles Clippers had to face a Portland Trail Blazers team comprised of LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum and Damian Lillard. The Clippers were deemed to be a 71 percent favorite, based mostly on Paul's likely dismantling of Lillard, but dropped Game 1 when the dice came up 75 on the first roll. Needing to win two straight to avoid the upset, the Clippers came through on rolls of 24 and 52. The Clips now advance to the second round, where they await the Memphis Grizzlies-Minnesota Timberwolves winner.

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NBA 3 on 3 Tournament Round One -- Los Angeles Clippers Vs. Portland Trail Blazers

The 5-12 matchup in the West pits the Los Angeles Clippers against the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Clippers feature a pair of starters from the All Star Game in Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, joined by the versatile Lamar Odom. Of course, the versatile Lamar Odom was actually the completely useless Lamar Odom the last time he played professional basketball, so he's a risk on this team. But Paul and Griffin running pick and roll in a 3 on 3 game could be pretty damn great.

The Blazers, on the other hand, have a superstar forward of their own in LaMarcus Aldridge, joined by the recently re-signed Nicolas Batum and rookie Damian Lillard, the star of this year's NBA summer league (a phrase once used to describe Jerryd Bayless of the Blazers, BTW). Lillard trying to contain Paul is probably going to determine the outcome of this showdown, and that doesn't bode well for Portland.

What does the panel think?

  • Tom Ziller, SB Nation NBA, Sactown Royalty -- Clippers win 13 of 20
  • Andrew Sharp, SB Nation NBA -- Clippers win 15 of 20
  • Frank Madden, Brew Hoop -- Clippers win 16 of 20
  • CA Clark, Silver Screen and Roll -- Clippers win 19 of 20
  • Adam Francis, Raptors HQ -- Portland wins 12 of 20
  • Overall probabilities -- Clippers 71 percent; Portland 29 percent

Expert Comments:

Portland gets an unlucky draw: they have a great little 3 on 3 team, but the Clips might win this whole thing. -- Ziller

Portland's team is pretty solid, but Chris Paul is not losing a game of 3 on 3 unless the other team is basically invincible. Any team that features Nicholas Batum and Damian Lillard is not invincible. -- Sharp

Damian Lillard figures to get a first-rate education from Chris Paul in this one, with the obvious question being whether Blake Griffin and/or Lamar Odom can offer up any resistance to LaMarcus Aldridge in the post. Probably not, but the Blazers will have even more trouble containing Paul and Griffin's lethal P&R action. The Clips' bigger guys will struggle to match up with Nic Batum as well, but playing halfcourt certainly doesn't do the French high-flyer any favors. -- Madden

Rookie point guard on Chris Paul? That's just brutal. Portland gets one on the back of a hot Aldridge, but this one is no contest. -- Clark

Upset alert! The difference to me in this one is shooting where all three Blazers can score from nearly anywhere on the court. The same can't be said for the Clippers, who lose some of Griffin's effectiveness in the 3 on 3 setting. -- Francis

The Bottom Line

Dissension in the ranks of the panelists! Four out of five pick the Clippers, including a Lakers blogger calling it a blowout, but one judge predicts an upset. Even with a severely misguided Canadian on the panel (and we'll see if he gets assigned to any more Clippers games should the LAC survive), the Clippers are a pretty solid 71 percent to win.

The Blazers have a decent 29 percent chance to pull the upset, but it will take some friendly rolls of the dice.

Who do you think would win?

The results will be posted later this afternoon.

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NBA 3 On 3 Tournament Round One -- Atlanta Hawks Vs. Toronto Raptors

On Day Three of the SB Nation NBA 3 on 3 Tournament, pitting mythical 3-on-3 teams composed of players from current NBA rosters against each other in a hypothetical competition, we will be conducting games between the 5 seeds and the 12 seeds. The 5-12 matchup invariably produces a slew of upsets in the NCAA Tournament -- will we see upsets in this one?

In the East, the Atlanta Hawks are facing the Toronto Raptors. The Hawks' team has two players you'd expect to be there (Al Horford and Josh Smith) and one you might not (rookie John Jenkins). There's certainly a logic to the choice though -- Jenkins is supposed to be the best shooter in this draft class and he's there to stretch the floor for Horford and Smith.

The Raptors' team is comprised of Kyle Lowry, Terrence Ross and Andrea Bargnani. The inclusion of rookies Ross and Jenkins continues a trend you'll see throughout this tournament -- bloggers (and their readers, who in many cases helped them pick the teams) are an optimistic and hopeful bunch. There are probably at most three rookies (Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Damian Lillard come to mind, and MKG only because there's no competition on his team) who will be anywhere close to top-three status on their respective teams this season, yet there are, by my count, eight rookies in this tournament, and a bunch more young players like the Jazz team we saw yesterday. It speaks to, I believe, something about the inherent optimism of sports fans, especially during the off-season.

This could be an interesting contest, with some pretty nasty mismatches out there. Can Ross handle the size of Smith? Can the rookie Jenkins stay in front of Lowry? Let's see what our experts had to say.

  • Tom Ziller, SB Nation NBA, Sactown Royalty -- Atlanta wins 11 of 20
  • Andrew Sharp, SB Nation NBA -- Toronto wins 12 of 20
  • Steve Perrin, SB Nation NBA, Clips Nation -- Atlanta wins 12 of 20
  • J.R. Wilco, Pounding the Rock -- Toss up, 10 wins each
  • J.A. Sherman, Welcome to Loud City -- Toronto wins 12 of 20
  • Overall probabilities -- Atlanta 49 percent; Toronto 51 percent

Expert Comments:

The thing about this tournament is, someone like Kyle Lowry is already kinda impossible to stop off the dribble in a real game. In 3 on 3? He'd be outrageous. Plus Terrence Ross is the perfect defender for someone like Josh Smith. Don't sleep on Toronto here. -- Sharp

This is why this idea is so much fun -- the crazy mismatches and only three players on the court. Horford has to chase Bargnani off the three-point line, Lowry and Smith torturing rookies playing out of position defensively. I have no idea what would happen, but I'd love to watch. -- Perrin

Both the Hawks and Raptors include rookies on their squads with Jenkins and Ross, respectively. It is difficult to predict how a perimeter-playing rookie will perform under such circumstances, since it usually takes time for shooters to adapt from college to the pro game with enough understanding on how to get open looks. So if we conclude that the rookies cancel each other out, I think this series comes down to Josh Smith's shot selection and consistency. He runs hot or cold, so I could easily see him heating up and dominating for stretches. However, if he's running cold, he undermines just about everything. I like Bargnani's ability to play from the perimeter to stretch the defense and Lowry's physical presence in running the offense. They should be able to create more scoring opportunities and then benefit when Smith's shot goes cold. -- Sherman

The Bottom Line

Talk about a toss up. Cumulatively, the experts have Atlanta as the slightest of underdogs, winning 49 times out of 100 meetings with Toronto.

We're going to let the dice decide as we always do. Atlanta is the better seed, so its percentage is the key here. A roll of 49 or lower means an Atlanta win, 50 or higher gives it to Toronto.

Who do you think would win?

The results will be posted later this afternoon.

For a complete look at the SB Nation 3 on 3 Tournament, check back with this StoryStream.

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NBA 3 on 3 Tournament Results: Leftover Night

In order to fill out the 32-team tournament, we created two extra teams out of players who were left off their own teams' 3 on 3 rosters. Turns out those teams were pretty good. We slotted them into the 9th seeds in each conference, which turned out to be bad news for the 8 seeds.

In the East, a leftovers team of Brandon Jennings, Gerald Wallace and Roy Hibbert knocked off the Philadelphia 76ers threesome of Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner and Andrew Bynum. This was judged to be a very close contest by our panel of experts, who gave the Sixers a 48 percent chance of winning versus a 52 percent chance for the East Leftovers. Remember that the better seeded team, in this case the Sixers, is the important number for the dice rolls that determine the outcome, so in this case Philadelphia was looking for numbers of 48 or lower. Unfortunately, they were swept in two straight games, as the dice came up 76 and 66. The East Leftovers now move on to face the Chicago Bulls in the second round.

Out West an even more impressive group of orphans, James Harden, Zach Randolph and Pau Gasol, was put up against three Utah Jazz youngsters, Alec Burks, Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors. The experts gave Utah just a 24 percent chance of winning. The first roll came up 87 giving the Leftovers a 1-0 lead. But the Jazz won the second in the equivalent of overtime with a roll of 24, forcing a game three showdown. The final score was close, but the last roll of 30 gave the West Leftovers the win, and they move on to face the San Antonio Spurs in the second round.

For a complete look at the SB Nation 3 on 3 Tournament, check back with this StoryStream.

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NBA 3 On 3 Tournament Round One -- Utah Jazz Vs. West Leftovers

In the Western Conference bracket the 8-9 contest features the Utah Jazz versus a threesome of superstars who were for some reason left off their respective teams in this tournament. Perhaps compounding their misfortune, the Jazz blog SLC Dunk, through a series of readership polls and queries, decided to go with a very inexperienced group of Alec Burks, Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors. Little did they know that in the very first round they'd be running into the likes of James Harden, Zach Randolph and Pau Gasol. Adding excitement to the tournament is a good thing, and it would also be great for this trio of young Jazz players to get this (hypothetical) experience. Unfortunately, their stay in the tournament may not be looking good.

In the spirit of the exercise, though, AllThatAmar from SLC Dunk is undeterred by this unfortunate turn of events for the Jazz, and gives an impassioned explanation of why his youngsters will prevail. Will it sway the judges?

Here's what our panel of experts had to say:

  • Tom Ziller, SB Nation NBA, Sactown Royalty -- West Leftovers win 15 of 20
  • Andrew Sharp, SB Nation NBA -- West Leftovers win 18 of 20
  • Steve Perrin, SB Nation NBA, Clips Nation -- West Leftovers win 16 of 20
  • Frank Madden, Brew Hoop -- West Leftovers win 18 of 20
  • J.R. Wilco, Pounding the Rock -- Utah wins 11 of 20
  • Overall probabilities: Utah 24 percent; West Leftovers 76 percent

Expert Comments:

The West Leftovers are ridiculous, but this match is set by SLC Dunk's decision to go with youth. -- Ziller

Gordon Hayward vs. Z-Bo. Good God. If Utah could score this West team is bad enough on defense to make things interesting, but for some reason I don't think Alec Burks and Derrick Favors are the guys to take advantage. -- Sharp

Who does Hayward guard? Whether you put him on Gasol or Randolph, he's got no chance. And it's not like he's taking severe advantage on the other side, since Gasol can probably handle him and leave Randolph on Favors. -- Perrin

James Harden and Pau Gasol are "leftovers" only in the bizarre parallel universes of the Thunder and Laker rosters, respectively, and they figure to have clear edges over their young Jazz counterparts Alec Burks and Derrick Favors. As if that weren't enough, Gordon Hayward will probably need a manhole cover and a crossbow if he wants to avoid getting steamrolled into submission by Zach Randolph. -- Madden

Don't know what it is, maybe the fact that they seem more like a team; maybe it's that I can't see Randolph guarding Hayward; maybe it's the multiple threats from deep. Or maybe it's the young legs of those Jazz players that probably wouldn't be too big a factor in a single game, but prove to be the difference here as Utah takes the series 11 to nine. One thing's for sure, I was definitely not swayed by the fact that if Utah loses, my beloved Spurs would have to take on that amalgam of an apostasy that is the West Leftovers team! -- Wilco

The Bottom Line

The panel gives the better seed Utah only a 24 percent chance of winning this, and almost half of that came from J.R. Wilco, who might have a bit of a conflict of interest here and finds himself facing a disciplinary committee hearing concerning his questionable impartiality. Ultimately it's up to the dice to decide, and Utah fans will be looking for those low numbers.

What do you think is going to happen?

The result will be posted later this afternoon.

For a complete look at the SB Nation 3 on 3 Tournament, check back with this StoryStream.

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NBA 3 On 3 Tournament Round One -- Philadelphia 76ers Vs. East Leftovers

The SB Nation 3 on 3 Tournament moves on Wednesday with the 8 vs. 9 games. In the Eastern Conference, that pits the 8th-seeded Philadelphia 76ers against a team made up of players who were left off other Eastern Conference 3 on 3 squads.

Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner and Andrew Bynum comprise an exciting young core for the real Sixers team, and a formidable trio in this hypothetical tournament as well. But they have the misfortune of running up against a team of impressive rejects from deep rosters in Brandon Jennings, Gerald Wallace and Roy Hibbert. Hibbert's presence in particular is important, as he may be the only center in the entire Eastern Conference who can do anything about Bynum.

Yesterday in the 1 vs. 16 pairings, the panelists were unanimous and decisive in their predictions. As you might expect, it's definitely more mixed in this one.

Here's what the panel had to say:

  • Tom Ziller, SB Nation NBA, Sactown Royalty -- Phildelphia wins 12 of 20
  • Andrew Sharp, SB Nation NBA -- East Leftovers win 13 of 20
  • Steve Perrin, SB Nation NBA, Clips Nation -- Phildelphia wins 11 of 20
  • Adam Francis, Raptors HQ -- East Leftovers win 11 of 20
  • J.A. Sherman, Welcome to Loud City -- East Leftovers win 11 of 20
  • Overall probabilities -- Philadelphia 48 percent; East Leftovers 52 percent

Expert comments:

Philly splits the first 10 games here on the strength of ET & Jrue, but it is undone down the stretch when Andrew Bynum starts taking fadeaway 18-footers from the wing every time the Sixers get the ball. That's not even a joke, it's exactly what would happen if you ever played 3 on 3 with Andrew Bynum. -- Sharp

These teams are so evenly matched. Two super quick young point guards, two talented 7-footers, two versatile wings. I had the Sixers as a sleeper pick in the East because of the Bynum matchup, but just getting out of the first round is going to be tough. -- Perrin

This one should be a dogfight with a nice duel between Holiday and Jennings, and Bynum and Hibbert. Wallace is the difference maker to me as he'll do the little things that Turner won't to help get the EAS Leftovers the series win. -- Madden

The Sixers get to play a mash-up team, and unfortunately for them I think that Bynum would be their undoing. I don't think a 3 on 3 tournament is suited for Bynum's skills because the game moves even faster than the normal 5 on 5 game. Too often Bynum would get caught out of position both on offense and defense, and as such would leave the smaller Holiday and Turner to cover the rim. On the opposite side, this is the kind of tournament where little man Brandon Jennings shines. He's quicker than most, fearless, and can shoot the ball from way downtown. Pair his quickness with Gerald Wallace's physical play and I think they can put the hurt on the Sixers. Hibbert is a good teammate who will contribute in any way he can to protect the rim and set up his teammates for open looks. -- Sherman

The Bottom Line

So the experts are split, with three picking the East Leftovers and two picking the Sixers, all calling it relatively close. The bottom line -- a 48-52 toss up -- is as close a call as we're likely to see in the first round of this tournament.

Remember, we're letting the dice decide who actually wins these games. It's important to point out in this case, since the better seeded team is not actually favored, that the first percentage will always represent the better seeded team and will be the target number for the rolls. So in this case, Philadelphia needs a roll of 48 or lower to win, and the East Leftovers are looking for a 49 or higher.

Who do you think would win this one?

The results will be posted later this afternoon.

For a complete look at the SB Nation 3 on 3 Tournament, check back with this StoryStream.

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NBA 3 on 3 Tournament Day One Results: Bulls, Spurs Advance

The results are in from the first day of SB Nation's NBA 3 on 3 tournament, and as you would expect, the number 1 seeds in each conference advanced to the second round. Remember that once the likelihood of each team winning is established the actual results are determined by the roll of percentile dice, best two out of three.

In the Eastern Conference meeting between Chicago and Charlotte, our panel of experts set the likelihood at 94 percent that the Bulls would handle the Bobcats, leaving Bobcats fans praying for a couple of miracle rolls of 95 or higher. But it was not meant to be, as the dice came up 12 and 47, meaning the Bulls moved on in a couple of blowouts.

Out West, the Spurs were given an 84 percent chance of beating the Hornets, and while San Antonio did prevail, New Orleans managed to make it interesting and take them to a third game. The Spurs easily took game one with a roll of 10, but the Hornets came storming back in game two with a roll of 95 to force a third game (I guess Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson must have hit a bunch of three pointers in that one). The veteran Spurs took care of business in game three as the dice came up 70 and San Antonio moves on to the second round while New Orleans heads home.

For a complete look at the SB Nation 3 on 3 Tournament, check back with this StoryStream.

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NBA 3 on 3 Tournament Round One -- San Antonio Vs. New Orleans

The SB Nation NBA 3 on 3 Tournament moves on with the 1 vs. 16 matchup from the Western Conference, the San Antonio Spurs and the New Orleans Hornets.

This Spurs' 3 on 3 team is familiar to NBA fans and indeed to each other. Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan have played together for a decade and won three NBA championships. On the other hand, the Hornets trio of Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson and first-overall pick Anthony Davis have yet to take the court together and between them have played just nine games for the Hornets.

This New Orleans' 3 on 3 squad is actually quite talented, and bears essentially no resemblance to the 21-45 Hornets of last season since Davis and Anderson are new to the team and Gordon was hurt most of season. It's too bad they're a 16 seed because they could definitely compete with many other teams in this tournament. Tough luck for them that they're up against one of the great threesomes in NBA history.

Here's what the panel had to say:

  • Tom Ziller, SB Nation NBA, Sactown Royalty -- San Antonio wins 18 of 20.
  • Andrew Sharp, SB Nation NBA -- San Antonio wins 19 of 20.
  • Steve Perrin, SB Nation NBA, Clips Nation -- San Antonio wins 16 of 20.
  • Frank Madden, Brew Hoop -- San Antonio wins 16 of 20.
  • J.A. Sherman, Welcome to Loud City -- San Antonio wins 15 of 20.
  • Overall probability of a San Antonio win -- 84 percent.

Expert comments:

I like to think Tim Duncan would be one of the secretly greatest three-on-three or 21 players ever. Who wouldn't want to see, say, Tim and Dirk go one-on-one for hours? -- Ziller

Tony Parker's just too much for anyone to handle here, even with his scratched cornea, and Ryan Anderson trying to defend Manu would be like one of those cruel slaughter scenes from Planet Earth, so this would never be close. Would probably pay 100 dollars to watch Duncan and Anthony Davis play one-on-one, though. -- Sharp

New Orleans is not without weapons here. Gordon and Davis are Team USA gold medalists in 2010 and 2012 respectively and if Anderson gets hot from deep they can definitely compete. But yeah, not sure how they stop this group of Spurs. -- Perrin

I think the Hornets guys would make things difficult for the veteran Spurs, but not enough to knock them off. Rookie Anthony Davis in particular could do well to pull Duncan away from the rim, which would give Gordon opportunities to drive and finish or kick it to the wings for three-point marksman Anderson. However, I think the real key to the Spurs is that nobody in the league can stay in front of Parker and he'd get too many easy points in the paint, even against Davis, and Ginobili knows how to turn young ballers inside out with his bevy of ball fakes and cuts. -- Sherman

The chalk outline on the floor? That's what happens when Ryan Anderson tries to check Manu Ginobili. -- Madden

The Results

Remember, we're letting the dice decide who actually wins these games, so although the panel thinks the Spurs are overwhelming favorites and would win 84 percent of the time, the Hornets still have that 16 percent chance of pulling the upset.

What do you think?

The results will be posted later this afternoon.

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NBA 3 on 3 Tournament Round One -- Chicago Bulls Vs. Charlotte Bobcats

The SB Nation NBA 3 on 3 Tournament gets underway with an Eastern Conference matchup of the team with the best record in the NBA last season, the Chicago Bulls, and the team with the worst winning percentage in NBA history last season, the Charlotte Bobcats. This is the East's 1 seed versus the 16 seed, and as you know, a 16 seed has never upset a 1 seed in this inaugural, hypothetical, imaginary NBA 3 on 3 tournament.

Both teams have elected to go with a traditional lineup featuring a point guard, one wing and one big in the tournament, with the Bulls putting Derrick Rose, Luol Deng and Joakim Noah on the court to face Charlotte's Ramon Sessions, rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Byron Mullens. Unfortunately for the Bobcats, they don't get quite the fortunate break Philadelphia did last spring, as the panel of experts has been instructed to evaluate this confrontation as if Derrick Rose were fully recovered from his ACL injury.

The Bobcats were terrible last season, that much is true, but two of their three players in this tournament are new to the team. Will it help?

Here's what the panel had to say:

Expert comments:

I'm not even really sure how the Bobcats peel off one game against the Bulls. Maybe the injury bug strikes? Worked for Philadelphia in the playoffs. -- Ziller

With a healthy Rose, Chicago wins every positional matchup -- Charlotte can't even count on any mismatches. The Bulls defense will be great, but if Rose were to go cold the Bulls could struggle to score, so maybe in a given game or two the Bobcats could win. -- Perrin

Without Rose I'd give the Bobcats a few extra W's but regardless, this one's a lock for the Bulls. -- Francis

I'll give Charlotte one token win, but otherwise, it's all Bulls. -- Sherman

Chicago takes 19 out of 20, and would have had that last one as well of it wasn't for the sheer boredom it all. -- Wilco

The Results:

Remember, we're letting the dice decide who actually wins these games, so although the panel thinks the Bobcats have only a 6 percent chance of advancing 6 percent chance of winning one game, which equates to about a 1 percent chance of advancing in our best two of three format, in the words of Lloyd Christmas, "So you're telling me there's a chance."

The experts think this one is going to be a Chicago blowout. What do you think?

The results will be posted later this afternoon.

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The SB Nation NBA 3 on 3 Tournament Primer -- The Bracket

Now that the teams have been selected for our hypothetical 3 on 3 tournament pitting NBA teams against each other, it's time to seed them into brackets. We've added two teams comprised of players that were left off their original team selections, one per conference, to bring the tournament field to 32. The bracket has been built with the Western Conference on one half and the Eastern Conference on the other half, each seeded 1 to 16.

West

East

1. San Antonio - Duncan, Ginobili, Parker

1. Chicago - Rose, Noah, Deng

2. OKC - Durant, Westbrook, Collison

2. Miami - James, Wade, Bosh

3. Lakers - Nash, Bryant, Howard

3. Indiana - Granger, George, Stephenson

4. Memphis - Allen, Gay, M. Gasol

4. Boston - Garnett, Rondo, Pierce

5. Clippers - Paul, Griffin, Odom

5. Atlanta - Horford, Smith, Jenkins

6. Denver - Iguodala, W. Chandler, Gallinari

6. Orlando - Nelson, Afflalo, Ayon

7. Dallas - Nowitzki, Brand, West

7. New York - Chandler, Anthony, Shumpert

8. Utah - Burks, Favors, Hayward

8. Philadelphia - Holiday, Turner, Bynum

9. West Leftovers - P. Gasol, Harden, Randolph

9. East Leftovers - Jennings, Wallace, Hibbert

10. Houston - Motiejunas, Lamb, Lin

10. Milwaukee - Ellis, Mbah a Moute, Ilyasova

11. Phoenix - Gortat, Dragic, Dudley

11. Detroit - Monroe, Stuckey, Jerebko

12. Portland - Aldridge, Batum, Lillard

12. Toronto - Bargnani, Ross, Lowry

13. Minnesota - Rubio, Kirilenko, Love

13. Brooklyn - Williams, Johnson, Lopez

14. Golden State - Curry, Thompson, Bogut

14. Cleveland - Irving, Varejao, Waiters

15. Sacramento - Thomas, Evans, Cousins

15. Washington - Wall, Ariza, Nene

16. New Orleans - Gordon, Davis, Anderson

16. Charlotte - Sessions, Kidd-Gilchrist, Mullens

Seeds were based on regular season records from last season, with the extra teams slotted in to the ninth seed to give them a fighting chance (much to the chagrin of the eight seeds, since these leftover teams are pretty loaded).

3_on_3_tourney_bracket_medium

The winner of each match up will be determined as follows:

A panel of experts from around SB Nation will be asked to predict how many times each team would win out of 20 meetings between the two teams. Five experts will be assigned to each matchup. Each team's total number of victories will be calculated from the predictions, yielding a percentage likelihood that the team would win a single meeting.

Armed with those percentages and percentile dice (finally joining the worlds of Dungeons and Dragons and sports blogs -- nerds unit!) we'll roll the dice to see who wins, introducing a random element into the proceedings. So even if a team is a 20 to 1 underdog, they still have a 5 percent chance of winning. We'll play best two out of three. Upsets will definitely happen in individual games, and some underdogs will advance as well, just as we would expect in anything as unpredictable as a game of 3 on 3 where one player could get hot and carry his team to victory over a heavy favorite.

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The SB Nation NBA 3 on 3 Tournament Primer -- The Teams

With FIBA contemplating adding 3 on 3 basketball as an Olympic sport possibly as soon as the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro, the NBA blogs of SB Nation were wondering what an NBA 3 on 3 Tournament might look like. Last week each blog picked their team, and over the next month or so we'll be conducting the tournament.

The Teams

The 30 NBA 3 on 3 teams, as chosen by the SB Nation blog covering that team, are listed below.

Eastern Conference

Chicago Bulls -- Derrick Rose, Luol Deng, Joakim Noah -- Blog a Bull
Miami Heat - Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh -- Hot Hot Hoops
Indiana Pacers -- Paul George, Lance Stephenson, Danny Granger -- Indy Cornrows
Boston Celtics -- Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett -- CelticsBlog
Atlanta -- John Jenkins, Josh Smith, Al Horford -- Peachtree Hoops
Orlando Magic - Jameer Nelson, Arron Afflalo, Gustavo Ayon -- Orlando Pinstriped Post
New York Knicks -- Iman Shumpert, Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler -- Posting and Toasting
Philadelphia 76ers -- Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner, Andrew Bynum -- Liberty Ballers
Milwaukee Bucks -- Monta Ellis, Luc Mbah a Moute, Ersan Ilyasova -- Brew Hoop
Detroit Pistons -- Stuckey Stuckey, Jonas Jerebko, Greg Monroe -- Detroit Bad Boys
Toronto Raptors -- Kyle Lowry, Terrence Ross, Andrea Bargnani -- Raptors HQ
Brooklyn Nets - Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez -- NetsDaily
Cleveland Cavaliers -- Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Anderson Varejao -- Fear the Sword
Washington Wizards -- John Wall, Trevor Ariza, Nene -- Bullets Forever
Charlotte - Ramon Sessions, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Byron Mullens -- Rufus on Fire

In addition the the 15 teams of the Eastern Conference, in order to avoid any byes in the tournament (because byes of just boring) and because there were some good players from deep rosters that got left off of 3 on 3 teams, we've chosen a team of other Eastern conference players to round out the field.

East Leftovers - Brandon Jennings, Gerald Wallace, Roy Hibbert

Western Conference

San Antonio Spurs -- Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan -- Pounding the Rock
Oklahoma City Thunder -- Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Nick Collison -- Welcome to Loud City
Los Angeles Lakers -- Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard -- Silver Screen and Roll
Memphis Grizzlies -- Tony Allen, Rudy Gay, Marc Gasol -- Straight Outta Vancouver
Los Angeles Clippers -- Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Lamar Odom -- Clips Nation
Denver Nuggets -- Andre Iguodala, Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari -- Denver Stiffs
Dallas Mavericks -- Delonte West, Dirk Nowitzki, Elton Brand -- Mavs Moneyball
Utah Jazz -- Alec Burks, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors -- SLC Dunk
Houston Rockets -- Jeremy Lin, Jeremy Lamb, Donatas Motiejunas -- The Dream Shake
Phoenix Suns -- Goran Dragic, Jared Dudley, Marcin Gortat -- Bright Side of the Sun
Portland Trail Blazers -- Damian Lillard, Nicolas Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge -- BlazersEdge
Minnesota Timberwolves -- Ricky Rubio, Andrei Kirilenko, Kevin Love -- Canis Hoopus
Golden State Warriors -- Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Bogut -- Golden State of Mind
Sacramento Kings -- Isaiah Thomas, Tyreke Evans, DeMarcus Cousins -- Sactown Royalty
New Orleans Hornets - Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson, Anthony Davis -- At the Hive

And just as in the East, there's one more West team to round out the field:

West Leftovers - James Harden, Zach Randolph, Pau Gasol

Teams are composed not just of the best three players on a roster of course, but based on the blog's best guess as to who would be most successful in a 3 on 3 format. As you can see, different blogs used different strategies, with most choosing a more traditional point, wing, big lineup, while a few mixed it up with three wings or other variations.

The rules of the hypothetical tournament are straightforward:
- Half court,
- two and three point baskets,
- free throws on shooting fouls,
- bonus after seven fouls,
- losers outs,
- clear change of possession to the three point line,
- one ten minute period or first to 31,
- best two out of three.

Note that these rules are a slight departure from the official format of FIBA 3 on 3 tournaments, most notably in the scoring (where the FIBA format is one point for field goals inside the arc and two points for field goals outside the arc) and the fact that FIBA teams consist of four players. However, for the purposes of running this hypothetical tournament, we felt it would be easier if the scoring followed NBA rules and there were no substitutes.

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