By Stefan Djordjevic / email@example.com
Amidst all the chaos due to the coronavirus positives in multiple teams and a couple of games getting postponed, those who stepped on the court for the Round 3 of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague didn’t disappoint. On the contrary, we had big games, big performances, and only one team remains perfect at 3-0, which is not the one you may expect to see on the top of the standings.
He’s back. The ACL injury Clyburn suffered back in October last year is now officially a thing of the past as the American forward has been showing this season and he definitely showed that in CSKA’s overtime win against Fenerbahce this round.
Clyburn was responsible for sending the game to overtime with a crucial shot that evened the score at 69 with 16 seconds left in the game and also rose to the occasion in the extra five-minute period, making the game-winning three-point play under the basket. He finished the game with 26 points, six rebounds, and two assists for an overall PIR of 27.
- Kostas Sloukas: Olympiacos grabbed its second win of the season and it was in no small part thanks to the experienced guard who put on on a playmaking clinic with 11 assists in addition to his 17 points.
- Vladimir Lucic: If it weren’t for Clyburn’s heroics, Lucic would have been the MVP and it was really close as it is. He scored career-high 26 points on 7-8 shooting including a crucial contested three-pointer at the buzzer with two minutes remaining as well as a great defensive effort on Othello Hunter in the final minute of Bayern’s win over Maccabi.
- Will Clyburn: Welcome back MVP.
- Rolands Smits: Barcelona needed someone to step up in the absence of Nikola Mirotic who contracted coronavirus and Smits was the answer. He was the only thing keeping Barca alive in the first half of the win against Valencia and finished the match with 15 points on perfect 6-6 shooting while also grabbing seven rebounds and dishing two assists.
- Tibor Pleiss: Anadolu Efes had a slow start while missing Shane Larkin but they put on a convincing display against Alba Berlin for their first win. Tibor Pleiss was as convincing with 23 points on 8-10 shooting, was perfectly calm from the line, and grabbed six rebounds along the way.
Coach of the round: Martin Schiller
Martin Schiller has once again grabbed Eurohoops coach of the round – since this is a double-round week – awards, the second straight, with the reason being Zalgiris Kaunas remaining the only undefeated squad in EuroLeague with a 3-0 record.
They got past Olympiacos by one point, took care of a ‘crippled’ Khimki Moscow, and their lastest challenge came against Crvena Zvezda on the road. And to top it all off, every game was on the road. And EuroLeague rookie Schiller is turning heads.
Young gun: Vladislav Odinokov
Speaking of a ‘crippled’ Khimki squad, they somehow managed to play out their games last and this week, hitting the required quota of eight players on the bench. Much of that was thanks to the youngsters brought in to the senior team and one of them has been Vladislav Odinokov.
The 20-year-old Russian big used his chance to the maximum both times. He posted 11 points on 4-5 shooting (3-4 threes) against Zalgiris and 11 points on 4-6 shooting this week against Real Madrid. This might earn him a place on the court going forward as well.
Last word: A COVID study case
Sergio Llull had a great performance against Khimki, however, he missed our best five cut because the game, due to Khimki’s lack of personnel, was more like a scrimmage than anything else. Khimki competed with just eight players. Only two of them were non-Russian but Khimki decided to travel to Spain and play despite having a tone of COVID cases in their roster. It seems that they are getting the short end of the stick since EuroLeague decided to change the COVID set of rules and all the canceled games will be rescheduled. Considering the circumstances, it’s the right thing to do, but Khimki is getting punished for trying to compete, even with a crippled roster.