By Aris Barkas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
The last Euroleague aftermath of the season is marked by the end of the Top16, not just for this year, but probably forever. Euroleague changes and this mini-championship will be replaced by a full-fledged league from next season.
And it ended the right way. Every one got exactly what they deserved and with the playoffs coming next week, the momentum of excitement will be even bigger. The playoffs couples are well known and in this last edition we will have to point out not only what happened this week, but also who are the winners and who are the losers.
“Boom Boom” Carroll is back, when Real Madrid was in the greatest of needs. There’s not better pure shooter than him in Euroleague and he proved it with 23 points in 23 minutes of action, 4 out of 4 two-point shots and 5 out of 8 threes. The “Whites” had many weapons in their do or die game against Khimki, but Carroll was the one who decided the outcome.
- Jacob Pullen: He had 12 points in 7 minutes and in total 22, leading Cedevita to the win over Crvena Zvezda. It was a game of pride and Pullen proved again that he can score.
- Jaycee Carroll: Spectacular once again…
- Dario Saric: On what was probably his last Euroleague game – at least for the near future – he had 15 points and 7 rebounds, leading Anadolu Efes to the win over Panathinaikos.
- Darius Miller: He ended his Euroleague season on a high note, helping Brose Baskets get the win against Laboral Kutxa with 19 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 1 turnover and 1 block.
- Joey Dorsey: A double double (12 p., 13 r.) despite 2/9 free throws in the road win of Barcelona over Zalgiris Kaunas, which secured the spot of the Catalans in the playoffs. Add his game against Olympiacos and he is saving the season of his new team.
Coach of the week: Andrea Trinchieri
The game of Brose Baskets Bamberg had his fingerprints all over and he created a team which was great to watch and also got many great results. This is his best work yet, better than what he had done with Cantu. If Trinchieri and Freak City will not be part of Euroleague next season, then this will be a real loss. This year, they made things really interesting.
Best losing performance: Tyrese Rice
He had beaten Real Madrid back in 2014 in the final as a member of Maccabi Tel Aviv and he tried to keep them out of the playoffs. He did the best he could with 24 points, 9/12 fied goals, 1 rebound, 4 assists, 2 steals and 4 turnovers. He was a lion, but he didn’t have the help he should…
Biggest win: Real Madrid
After many twists and turns, when Real Madrid stepped on the court against Khimki Moscow Region, things were simple for both. The winner got a spot in the playoffs and the season ended for the losing side. It’s not surprise that the hosts who happen also to be the defending champions prevailed, however the game was the definition of a premature final and Real Madrid got the job done.
Of course the teams that qualified to the playoffs are the obvious Top16 winners. Still even some of the teams that are left out can smile. Brose Baskets is the most obvious example, as the German champs had the most memorable run that a team from their country had in recent years, fighting until the last moment for the playoffs and producing great basketball. Dogus Darussafaka can also be part of this category. The newcomers who got a wildcard were the reason that Maccabi Tel Aviv couldn’t make the Top16 and ended it with five wins, proving that they can build something more than respectable in the near future.
Three teams were ready for more, but couldn’t achiece their goals. Khimki spend a lot this summer in order to be a Euroleague contender, Anadolu Efes expected the two-year project of Dusan Ivkovic to provide results and Olympiacos wanted at least to continue its playoffs streak that started back in 2005. The Reds for various reasons didn’t address the issues which occurred after the injury of Patrick Young and that proved to be their main problem until the end. Efes‘ chemistry never worked and we probably never had the chance to see what was really Ivkovic’s plan. Khimki is an even more tricky situation and the decision to part ways with – the iconic for the club – coach Rimas Kurtinaitis in the most crucial moment of the Top16 implies that things behind the scenes were not what they seemed.
The last word: Fenerbahce
After having a stroll in the Top16 and securing a playoffs spot long before anyone else, the team of coach Obradovic has to prove its worth against the defending champs Real Madrid, probably without injured Jan Vesely. Yes, it’s going to be great to watch….