By Johnny Askounis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Nikola Milutinov was named Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Round 23 MVP, Euroleague Basketball announced Saturday.
Milutinov, 27, went for 17 points, seven rebounds, two assists, and two blocks as CSKA Moscow beat UNICS Kazan on the road Friday. His 28 PIR was the highest among all players of winning teams the last couple of days, thus earning him the MVP award.
In 2017-18, the Serbian center got his first nod and added three more the next season as a member of Olympiacos. The latest distinction was the fifth over his nine years in Europe’s premier club competition.
Youssoupha Fall actually generated 29 PIR but LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne losing to FC Barcelona prevented him from being named MVP of the Week.
Per the press release: “Nikola Milutinov earned the MVP honor for Round 23 after anchoring CSKA Moscow‘s 75-86 road win in a Russian derby against UNICS Kazan on Friday night. CSKA center scored 17 points on 6-for-7 two-point shooting. He also collected 7 rebounds, including 4 on the offensive glass, and had 2 blocks and 2 assists while drawing 8 personal fouls. Milutinov finished the game with a performance index rating of 28, the highest among players on winning teams in Round 23, marking his fifth career MVP of the Round honor. This round’s highest PIR, 29, belongs to LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne center Youssoupha Fall who matched his career-high with 20 points on 8-for-10 two-point shooting in a loss against FC Barcelona. Fall also had 7 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 block. Two players with PIRs of 27 each, Alex Poythress of Zenit St Petersburg and Guerschon Yabusele of Real Madrid, came next. Poythress collected a career-best 21 points plus 9 rebounds in a win over Anadolu Efes Istanbul, while Yabusele has 18 points and 10 rebounds in a double-overtime road win against AS Monaco. Rounding out the list of this round’s top performers is UNICS playmaker Lorenzo Brown, who had 21 points, 9 assists and 3 rebounds for a PIR of 26.
Individual highs: Nick Weiler-Babb, FC Bayern Munich, 6 steals
Alexey Shved of CSKA led all scorers in Round 23 with 27 points. Nikola Mirotic of Barcelona remains the league leader with 17.7 points per game. Real center Vincent Poirier pulled down 14 rebounds, more than any other player this round. Georgios Papagiannis of Panathinaikos OPAP Athens leads the EuroLeague with 8.0 rebounds per game. Two players had 9 assists in Round 23, Lorenzo Brown and Real’s Thomas Heurtel. Brown is the league leader, averaging 6.2 assists. FC Bayern Munich guard Nick Weiler-Babb had 6 steals, the most of any player in Round 23. John Brown of UNICS tops the steals charts with 2.9 steals per game. Real center Walter Tavares led all players this round with 4 blocked shots. Tavares increased his league-leading average to 2.0 blocks per game. There were four double-doubles in Round 23. Yabusele, Poirier with 10 points and 14 rebounds, Steven Enoch of Bitci Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz, who collected 11 points plus 11 rebounds, and Donatas Motiejunas of Monaco with 10 points and 11 rebounds.”
Meanwhile, first place in the Top 10 of Round 23 went to Alex Poythress dunking emphatically after an assist by Billy Baron.
More EuroLeague action coming next week with Round 24 and Round 25 spread through the first four days of February.