By Antigoni Zachari / email@example.com
The first game week of 2021 in Turkish Airlines EuroLeague is now in the books! The picture of the final standings didn’t change much since last year, even though Baskonia managed to end CSKA‘s 12-game winning streak in a thriller on Thursday night. Still, the Army Team continues to reign the standings, with the two Spanish archrivals following closely behind, while Zenit slowly rises to the top after an emphatic win over Panathinaikos.
The Frenchman keeps getting better as the season rolls and he proved so once again by posting a career-high performance with 29 points, 9 rebounds and 2 assists in less than 23 minutes in Zalgiris‘ Friday victory over Khimki. Despite being down by 9 points at halftime, the Lithuanian side used a powerful performance in the third period to turn the tables, orchestrated perfectly by Lauvergne who was productive on all ends of the court. To top it all off, Zalgiris expanded its winning streak to six games. What a timing for Lauvergne!
- Pierria Henry: Baskonia‘s… floor manager left everything on the court to help his team reach a crucial victory against the competition’s leaders. He signed off with a double-double of 18 points and 10 assists, along with 5 rebounds and 2 steals.
- Vasilije Micic: Efes swept ASVEL on the road as Micic went off with 23 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists to lead his team to a comfortable victory.
- Tyler Dorsey: Maccabi had full control of understaffed ALBA on the road and Dorsey paced his team with 25 points to bounce back on Thursday.
- Joffrey Lauvergne: Our weekly MVP
- Arturas Gudaitis: The Lithuanian big man enjoyed a career-high with 25 points in 26 minutes against Panathinaikos and matched his season-high PIR with 24, pacing his team to victory.
Coach of the Week: Xavi Pascual – Zenit St Petersburg
Zenit continued its dominance on the road this season at OAKA and rout Panathinaikos with as much as a 22-point lead in the fourth quarter, paced behind Gudaitis’ career-high. The Russian side suffered as few other teams did at the beginning of the season, but they are back in full form and with a winning mentality in road games, all credit due to Pascual’s work with his players.
New year, new hope
ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne – and probably FC Bayern Munich – will establish as a EuroLeague power this coming February with a long-term license, as it was announced through a press conference on Friday. EuroLeague had long expected to expand further in France and ASVEL’s plans to construct a new arena by 2023 – with a capacity of 15.000 seats – is a great first step towards bringing back the basketball glamor to the country.
Photo: Zalgiris Kaunas