By Aris Barkas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
As you can see in the standings Real Madrid is still on top (17-5), CSKA Moscow and Olympiacos are tied in the second place (16-6), Fenerbahce is two wins behind them (14-8), but one over fifth placed Panathinaikos (13-9), while Crvena Zvezda and Baskonia are tied at the 6th spot (12-10) and the duo of Anadolu Efes and Darussafaka Dogus are still together in the 8th place (11-11). The good news for them is that Zalgiris is left at 9 wins after getting beaten by Olympiacos and that brings us to our MVP.
Zalgiris Kaunas was hot and feisty, but Giorgos Printezis is one of the most concistent EuroLeague stars and proved it once more with an amazing game. He had a double double with 17 points and 10 rebounds, no turnover, a 30 ranking, 2 assists and 2 steals and made 7 out of 11 field goals, three of them three-pointers in four attemps. With him performing like this, Olympiacos had a huge advantage.
- Thomas Heurtel: Anadolu Efes got the 19 points comeback win over Milan and the French guard is one of the main responsibles for that. He finished the game with 17 points, 5 out of 9 shots, made all his free throws (5/5) and also had 2 rebounds, 6 assists and also 4 turnovers.
- Luka Doncic: The wonder kid of Real Madrid was once more amazing and made things happen against Unics Kazan. He had 5 points, but also 7 rebounds and 11 assists, a career high while he emerges as the best play-maker of the Spaniards.
- Nikita Kurbanov: He had the perfect game in the easy win of CSKA Moscow over Crvena Zvezda with 18 points and 100% accuracy (3/3 2p., 2/2 3p., 6/6 FT) and also 5 rebounds, 1 assist and 3 steals for a 29 ranking.
- Giorgos Printezis: One of his best nights.
- Ante Zicic: The main – and probably only – opponent of Luka Doncic for the Rising Trophy Award he delived big against the front line of Fenerbahce for Darussafaka Dogus with 14 points (6/7 2p., 2/5 FT), 10 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnovers and 1 block.
Best losing performance: Johannes Voigtmann
Baskonia almost stole the game in Tel Aviv against Maccabi and his double double was a big reason for that. The German center was the best big on the court with 13 points (5/6 FG, 3/4 FT), 11 rebounds and 3 assists, bringing back memories of Giannis Bourousis’ majestic last season in Vitoria.
Coach of the week: Xavi Pascual
He wanted to turn things around in Panathinaikos and he already did, leaving his seal on a team that he didn’t recruit. Still, this version of the Greens which is more than consistent – specially at home – gets the job done without losing control, plays great defense, still hopes for the home court advantage and will not be an easy opponent for anyone in the playoffs. They proved it by beating Brose Bamberg without feeling any real danger in crunch time.
Biggest win: Dogus Darussafaka
First of all a duel between David Blatt and Zeljko Obradovic can always create an instant classic. Still what’s more important is that it was a high stakes game. With this win Darussafaka remains tied with Anadolu Efes in the eight and final playoffs spot and in order to do that they had to beat for the second time this season a team which is currently 4th in the standings. The implications are obvious and Fenerbahce has lost valuable ground in its effort to climb higher in the standings. Also Darussafaka became the first team that has two wins over Fenerbahce in this EuroLeague season.
Last word: Misery in Barcelona
Can it get any worse? Yes, glory goes to the winner, who in this case is Galatasaray. But the real issue remains Barcelona. The Turks have won on the road for the last time back on the 26th of January 2016 against Szolnoki Olaj. So Barca, we have a problem. It remains to be seen how things will end up in the team, which was already and still is in crisis.