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3x3: The New Olympic Basketball Competition That Could Be A Real Blast

Can Kara Lawson bring home gold?

3x3 Basketball - Olympics: Day 1
 TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 24: Jacquelyn Young of Team United States drives to the basket during the Women’s Pool Round match between Mongolia and United States on day one of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Aomi Urban Sports Park on July 24, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

We’ll be the first to say we’re not full up to speed on 3x3 basketball, a new Olympic sport, but we do know this: it’s different.

First, it’s played half court, understandably. Second, the shot clock is 12 seconds. There’s no jump ball, and we don't think you can foul out. First team to 21 wins but we think there’s a clock and if you don’t get to 21, high scorer wins. Three point shots count for two, while regular shots count for one as do free throws.

We could have gotten some of this wrong but the basic gist is correct.

It’s of particular interest to Duke fans because Kara Lawson is coaching the team (although she’s not allowed to do much during the game) and so far so good: Team Three USA is off to a great start, having smoked the French in the opener. 17-10 and then beat up on Mongolia, 21-9.

The US is a legitimate medal threat - France was #1 so the US is looking good - but that’s only the women. The men didn’t qualify.

It’s a very different sport, and even some NBA greats aren’t sure that NBA players would do very well.