By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Nothing is going to be easy from now on! While Fenerbahce is the only team which remains unbeaten, everything else is still up for grabs after 5 weeks of action in Euroleague’s Top16.
In Fenerbahce‘s Group, Dogus Darussafaka has lost valuable ground (0-5), but every other team are cramped between three and two wins as you can see in the standings. The same applies to the “Group of death” in which only Khimki has a 4-1 record and Zalgiris Kaunas is left at 1-4. Everyone else is also between three and two wins. That’s one more reason why the MVP comes for this group and he is the guy who made a difference in last year’s Final Four.
Call him the Flash, or the Spanish Blur. The point is that when he is good, Real Madrid is capable to win with ease anyone. This was practically his first Top16 game at full health and he demolished Olympiacos with 18 points on 3/5 threes, 7 assists and just 2 turnovers. While Sergio Rodriguez is still the guy who can change the tempo of the game, when Llull is running at full speed he is an unstoppable MVP.
- Tyrese Rice: After some big games by Alexey Shved, it was time again for the former Final Four MVP to put on a show. He had 20 points on 5/8 threes and 11 assists with no turnovers for a personal best ranking (35) in Khimki’s demontration of power over Zalgiris Kaunas.
- Sergio Llull: From last season he is emerging as the most important guard of Real Madrid, if not the best in Europe…
- Luigi Datome: When Fenerbahce was in trouble again Cedevita, Gigi was there to restore order. With 19 points and 3/3 threes, he made all the big shots of the game in the most crucial points of the game.
- Quincy Miller: If there was a rookie award in Euroleague, the forward of Crvena Zvezda would have it already in his pocket. He led the Serbs to the win over Lokomotiv Kuban with 24 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals.
- Giannis Bourousis: The season he is having is simply out of this world. After losing his role in Real Madrid, he is terrorizing the league with Barcelona being his latest victim, as he led Laboral Kutxa to the overtime win with 24 points and 8 rebounds.
Best losing performance: Alex Abrines
He was amazing as he led the comeback of Barcelona and almost won the game for the Catalans. He scored 12 points of his 21 points in the fourth period with a total of 7/12 field goals. He is one up and coming star and despite losing the game, you can argue that he emerged in this fight as the future leader of Barcelona.
Coach of the week: Velimir Perasovic
Without having the biggest budget and not even high expectations, the return of coach Perasovic to Vitoria is a massive hit so far. He build a solid unit from players who in some cases ended up in his roster when they didn’t have any other alternative and “character Baskonia” is back for good. Some coaches are build for specific teams and Perasovic is the right fit for Laboral Kutxa.
Biggest win: Real Madrid
Against an opponent who also wanted a restart, Real Madrid made things easy and got its way with Olympiacos. The champs not only beat last season’s finalist but also got a 12 points difference which can be a factor in the final standings. Madrid needed a win like that, after losing at home to Barcelona. The winners got a moral boost for the rest of the Top16 and also put Olympiacos‘ back against the wall, as the Reds have now three defeats in a row in Euroleague.
The survivors: Panathinaikos
It was a do or die game for the Greens. After two defeats in Euroleague and one by Olympiacos in the Greek league, they couldn’t afford any other mistep. It wasn’t a pretty game and they were on the verge of losing to the only team in Euroleague, Dogus Darussafaka, which still doesn’t have a win. Still considering the condition of the team and the absence of Dimitris Diamantidis, this was one more than valuable win.
The return: CSKA Moscow
With Nando De Colo back in action, things were easy for CSKA Moscow. A home win of the Russians is not news, but a 21 points triumph against the solid Brose Baskets is a sign of the motive CSKA had again. In some cases you have to take a step back in order to move forward and the “army team” is once again locked and loaded.
The last word: Rude homecoming
Jayson Granger returned to Malaga without bearing any gifts. Against the team in which he spend the previous two seasons and made his name in Euroleague, Granger scored 22 points on 8/17 shots and led Anadolu Efes to a crucial road win. Both the player and his former team are thirsty for the playoffs and Granger didn’t show any pity towards his old mates.