By Antonis Stroggylakis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Make no mistake: Eurocup is currently dancing according to the rhythm of Pierre Jackson. Since he returned to Europe for Cedevita he has been displaying some moves on the floor equivalent to the splendor of the pop superstar with whom he shares a surname. We are talking about an equally immense and spectacular impact on his team, explained below.
Only one unscathed team remains around after the completion of the fifth GameDay, since the previously undefeated Hapoel Jerusalem left all semblance of defensive tactics back in Israel and was absolutely brutalized in Germany by Ratiopharm Ulm. Meanwhile, flawless Gran Canaria is marching onwards winning one game after the other almost effortlessly.
MVP of the Week
Pierre Jackson (a.k.a. Pappy-GAWD… like “OH MY GAWD”)
Why are we not surprised? Because he had already fired some warning shots in the previous Eurocup match vs MZT Skopje. Now? He just took it to another level with an ecstatic performance of 38 points (on a more than solid 13/17 from the field) and 5 assists for a rating of 37 in the evaluation index. That’s more than any other player has achieved so far in the season.
Thanks to his delicious offensive contribution, Cedevita clinched second victory in the season, downing Nizhny Novgorod in Zagreb. 2-0 in the competition since Jackson arrived in the Croatians’ camp. Not really what you call “coincidental”, right?
Best Five of the Week
- David Logan: A victory of vital importance for Lietuvos Rytas was crafted by his experienced hands that were all over the place against Fuenlabrada. The Lithuanians had entered the game winless and perhaps even negatively affected psychologically after suffering a series of last-minute defeats. Logan “broke” their curse with an all-around performance spell of 27 points, 9 assists plus 6 rebounds for 35 in the index rating (Eurocup career high).
- Pierre Jackson: Grande MVP (again).
- Alexey Shved: After missing the first Eurocup games of Khimki Moscow he’s coming back in a vengeaful mood. Surrounded by a quite hot atmosphere created by Bilbao fans, he dropped 23 points (sinking 4/9 from downtown) being the top scorer and performer of the Russians in an impressive roadkill. He was also timely “on fire” since he produced 17 of his points in the first two quarters, helping his team get a decisive early advantage, with 51 – 34 lead at halftime.
- Carlos Suarez: Did someone shout “career highs”? It was the voice of the Spanish forward who registered new personal records in…. almost every single statistical category, pacing Unicaja Malaga to a precious win over Zenit St. Petersburg. A double-double of 18 points, 11 rebounds which makes a 24 in the index rating plus a key-three pointer for the 86 – 81, with a bit more than one minute to go. Prett-eh!
- Raymar Morgan: He didn’t stay on the floor for long due to foul trouble but he surely made the most out of his playing time. He dropped one point for each of the 17 minutes he was on the court while also grabbing 5 rebounds and winning 4 fouls by his opponents. All these, while facing the one and only Amare Stoudemire. It mattered little to him and his team of course, since Ratiopharm Ulm treated Hapoel Jerusalem as a punching bag.
Coach of the Week: Thorsten Leibenath
If there is such thing as “perfect offensive basketball” then Ratiopharm Ulm came really close to it vs Hapoel Jerusalem. The Germans’ game was a feast for your eyes: Exemplary teamwork, pluralism in scoring, continuous ball movement… sugar and spice and everything nice. In numbers? 103 points, 26 assists, 75% on 2-point shooting, six players dropping double-digit numbers. All these brought new Eurocup powerhouse Hapoel to its knees. The one responsible? Coach Leibenath. Hats off.
Best performance in a losing team: Ivan Strebkov
He delivered one of the most insanely good first-half performances we have seen in the season but perhaps went… cold while in the locker rooms. Before the halftime break, Strebkov had scored 20 out of his 21 points leading Nizhny Novgorod to a double-digit lead over Cedevita after 20 minutes. Alas, his fire was gone out in the remainder of the game and his team lost. Apart from making buckets he grabbed 8 rebounds and also dished 6 assists.
Not playing nice? Outta here!
Micheal Eric and Dmitry Sokolov were not best buddies during the Bilbao – Khimki Moscow game. As a result they both got ejected. But their “skirmish” caused an aftershock and things remained heated between the two teams until the final minutes.
During the last seconds of the match, and with the outcome being already decided, coach Ivanovic asked Jacob Pullen to attack the basket, something that angered the crowd a bit. Borja Mendia fouled him quite hard and then the hosts called… a timeout with one second remaining. Not really a smooth closing of the game’s curtain.