Credit: Tolga Adanali/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images, Mikhail Serbin/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images
Credit Tolga Adanali/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images, Mikhail Serbin/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images

BasketNews continues the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague beat edition. Here, you’ll be able to find all the info you need about what happened in the latest EuroLeague round.

Shved's eruption, Mike James' flawless performance, clutch Luke Skywalker, Rubit-Lucic connection, Yabusele's heart-breaking layup, Sasha "MVP" Vezenkov, dissimilar-itself Milan, good old Zvezda's weapon, and breathtaking Championship Game rematch – all of that and more in EuroLeague’s Round 13 beat.

EuroLeague’s beat Round 13

TEAM WIN. Tornike Shengelia, Daniel Hackett, and Johannes Voigtmann were unavailable, but that didn't prevent CSKA Moscow from finding solutions in other players and cruising to a comfortable 97-77 win over Panathinaikos.

The Russians had seven men (Lundberg, Bolomboy, Antonov, Clyburn, Milutinov, Grigonis, Shved) in double-digit Performance Index Rating, with Antonov registering a new scoring high with 16 points.

What's more, Alexey Shved tied his assist career-best with 13 while pouring 17 points on excellent shooting.

A CHANCE FOR NEW HEIGHTS. Of the 13 EuroLeague games that PAO have played so far, nine of them saw one or several opponent players break their career or season records.

Tadas Sedekerskis, Elie Okobo, Semen Antonov reached a new peak in their scoring resume, while Alberto Abalde, Walter Tavares, Nate Wolters, Edgaras Ulanovas, Andrey Vorontsevich, Marek Blazevic, DeShaun Thomas made season-highs. Let's see who's next.

ZONE DEFENSE COLLAPSED. From the moment Dimitris Priftis decided to deploy a zone defense in order to conceal some of Panathinaikos's weaknesses, it was a matter of time until an opponent team would find the way to wreak havoc.

That's exactly what CSKA did against an excessively "light" defense, scoring 97 points on 14/28 from downtown.

"It was as if we played a friendly game," PAO assistant coach Vassilis Simtsak pointed out.

"It's normal. They had many days to prepare themselves for the zone. They shot the ball really well," forward Okaro White noted with stoicism.

MACON IN DECLINE. For 11 straight games, Daryl Macon had been EuroLeague's most consistent player, registering double digits in scoring and PIR, regardless of how well or bad Panathinaikos performed.

Against Zenit at OAKA, he did half the job (11 points, 8 in PIR) before crumbling to a new career-low (3 points on 1/6 from the field, 1/3 free-throws, 5 in PIR) in Moscow.

Macon is a EuroLeague rookie and it goes without saying that he is entitled to some nights off, but it is readily apparent that his role has slightly changed now that Nemanja Nedovic seems to be back for good.

Another issue that Priftis has to resolve.

LOST GPS. Losing to CSKA, Panathinaikos reached a rather ominous milestone. It was on December 3, 2020, when the Greens, then coached by Giorgos Vovoras, downed 80-77 AX Armani Exchange in Milan, celebrating their last win to date outside the Greek borders.

Since then, the six-time EuroLeague champs have prevailed only over their archrivals Olympiacos in Piraeus, tasting defeat in 17 games during that span. Starting from the 2016-17 season, when the new EuroLeague format was introduced, Panathinaikos have won only 23 of their 63 road contests.

Excluding Armani Milan, the only other team that the Greeks managed to beat in the last two seasons was Khimki, back in October 2020.

LUKAS CALLS GAME. With less than three minutes remaining in Kaunas, Baskonia tied the game at 63. Then, Lukas Lekavicius took over. The Lithuanian guard scored 8 points, giving his team a six-point (71-65) lead and the third victory of the season.

Overall, Lekavicius had 13 points and 9 assists. "I just took some open shots and made them and we won the game. I’m more a scorer than a passer but if I see an open man I always pass and they made some shots," the man of the match commented.

LIGHT IN THE TUNNEL. Zalgiris Kaunas remain at the bottom of the table, tied with Panathinaikos and overpowering the Greeks on goal average. However, they have won three of their last four contests - all at the Zalgirio Arena- showing that they're not eager to give up the fight.

The EuroLeague playoffs look like a last cause with them being 3-10, but it's never too late to bounce back, especially if they start making some road wins as well.

STAGNATION. "We committed the same types of mistakes offensively as we have game after game," Neven Spahija commented, as Baskonia lost for the seventh time in its last eight games falling to 4-9.

From the day the Croat took over, the Basques have only one win, against Crvena Zvezda at home. It has been all downhill from there. Two home losses to superior opponents (CSKA, Real Madrid) and an away defeat to Zalgiris.

Steven Enoch is having a more than a decent rookie year at the highest level (10.4 points on 61% 2-point shots and 82% on free throws, 5.3 rebounds, and 11.2 in PIR) but Wade Baldwin has scored a combined 15 points on 6/21 from the field in his last two games.

For Baskonia, winning their next one against ASVEL at home is imperative, as they will be spending the rest of the month traveling to Istanbul and Munich before hosting FC Barcelona. Being ruled out of playoff contention could be a matter of a few weeks.

NANDO OVER KILL-BILL. Fenerbahce's win over AS Monaco had a historic significance for Nando De Colo who climbed to first place in the EuroLeague all-time list with the highest PIR.

De Colo, 34, passed recently-retired Vassilis Spanoulis making it to 4.184 PIR as the Greek legend ended his career at 4.183. The French guard set the new record in his 237th EuroLeague appearance. He posted 14 PIR powered by 15 points.

On the all-time PIR list, Paulius Jankunas ranks third at 4.009 PIR and counting. Retired legends Juan Carlos Navarro and Dimitris Diamantidis conclude the top five with 3.890 and 3.806, respectively.

SOME OXYGEN FOR FENER. Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul scored 33 points in the fourth quarter to pull away from AS Monaco for a 96-86 home victory, snapping a four-game losing streak and raising Fenerbahce’s record to 4-9.

Apart from De Colo, Pierria Henry was among the game changers with 13 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, and 5 steals.

Marko Guduric also had a great game with 18 points and 4 assists with 4/6 3 FG shooting in his season-best performance.

"This summer, I didn't run for two months," he admitted. "So I had to solve this problem. It's taking some time to come back, but I feel like now my legs are coming back slowly. I think from this point, it should just go up and be better and better."

Furthermore, Jan Vesely scored 20 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and provided 5 assists, despite his illness.

MIKE JAMES BEING HIMSELF. Guduric called him "the best scorer in EuroLeague history." Asked about the best point guard in the league, he pointed to himself.

Mike James knows how to draw all the spotlights on him. In Istanbul, he pulled 31 and 33 on PIR, but Monaco still lost. He was coming off a worrisome shooting slump, going 1/16 from deep across his team's last three games.

His one-man show couldn't conceal the real problem. "Our defense is going down. This is our problem. Everybody knows this," coach Zvezdan Mitrovic stressed. 

Well, over those last three away games (Maccabi, Anadolu Efes, Fenerbahce), the scoring count stopped at 95, 98 and 96 for Monaco's opponents.

PABLO LASO TURNS 800. When Pablo Laso took over Real Madrid in 2011, no one would expect that almost a decade later, he would have turned into one of the winningest and most successful coaches in the club's decorated history.

The 54-year-old has won a total of 619 games, which is close to an impressive 80% share of wins (77,7). He has also lifted 21 trophies, one less than Lolo Sainz. With him on the bench, Real Madrid have played in 4 EuroLeague finals, winning the crown in 2 (2015 and 2018).

"I do not care about this number. I mean, it's a lot, but I just try to think about the next game", Laso said before facing Maccabi.

SCOTTIE RUINS THE PARTY. His stat line is not particularly disheartening. 14 points on 4/14 from the field, 1 rebound, 1 steal, 5 assists, and 4 turnovers. Scottie Wilbekin has seen worse. But the timeline is merciless here.

Maccabi Tel Aviv were leading 59-50 in Madrid going into the fourth quarter. With Wilbekin on the court, the Israeli powerhouse suffered on both ends until the final buzzer. Their star player recorded two points and one assist in the game's final minutes. That was his only positive contribution.

Down the stretch, Wilbekin made two turnovers, missed two mid-range shots, and three consecutive attempts from behind the arc which could have turned things around, receiving a majestic block from Fabien Causeur in the first one.

Lots of hero ball and little substance from the leader of Maccabi, who left the Spanish capital empty-handed, keeping up their losing tradition since 2010.

ONE GOOD FRENCHMAN DESERVES ANOTHER. It has become customary to praise Madrid's "French connection", consisting of Guerschon Yabusele, Fabien Causeur, Thomas Heurtel, and Vincent Poirier.

However, one can't help but notice that all four of them (especially the first three) did whatever was needed for Real to snatch another win.

Yabusele made the winning play, after Laso's final timeout.

At 63-67, Causeur first prevented Wilbekin from scoring a crucial three-pointer and then served the ball to Tavares to make it 65-67.

Heurtel scored 8 points in the last three minutes, including two three-pointers and the lay-up that put the hosts three points up (70-67).

Poirier had done the job earlier with 11 points and 5 rebounds.

ASVEL-MONACO LOSING STEAM. After Round 8, AS Monaco were 4-4 and ASVEL Villeurbanne 6-2. Everyone was talking about the French teams putting on an impressive show this season. And then, lights kind of went out.

In the next five games, Monaco and ASVEL suffered four losses. The EuroCup champs have been left behind in the playoff race (5-8), while the team from Lyon stands at 7-6 but their record would have been different if it hadn't been for William Howards' buzzer-beater in Monaco.

The same can be said about Elie Okobo. If there was a vote for the MVP of the first 10 rounds, the former NBA guard would be one of the frontrunners. However, in the last three games, albeit still being a standout, he has seen a considerable drop in his shooting percentages.

TWO IS ENOUGH. Augustine Rubit and Vladimir Lucic did almost all the work for Bayern Munich against ASVEL Villeurbanne.

The American forward posted a double-double with 19 points (8/13 2PT, 0/1 3PT, 3/3 FT), 12 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 3 turnovers, 5 drawn fouls, and 24 PIR.

The Serb added 18 points (4/6 2PT, 2/4 3PT, 4/5 FT), 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 turnovers, 4 drawn fouls, and 21 PIR.

Considering that the Bavarian squad scored 73 points overall for a PIR of 77, those two are to be credited for more than half of Bayern's win.

"We needed to bounce back after a tough loss in Russia. It felt like we gave that game away and we needed to get back on track. So we came out and fought. I think we played tough. Especially the franchise player Lucic,” Rubit spoke post-game.

BEST ALL-AROUND PLAYER? Sasha Vezenkov showed the European basketball community why he is considered to be one of the best EuroLeague forwards.

The 26-year-old Bulgarian finished the victorious match over UNICS with 22 points (3/3 2PT, 3/7 3PT, 7/7 FT), 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 5 steals, 1 block, 5 drawn fouls, and 36 PIR. He also hit a 3-point dagger with 29 seconds to go in the OT, extending his team's lead to 5 points.

"I'm satisfied that I helped my team to win. The most important thing is winning, and we won in one very tough place, so I am happy for everybody, and we keep going," Vezenkov told after the hard-fought win.

SUICIDE. OLY's head coach Georgios Bartzokas was not ecstatic about his team's killer instincts post-game: "We made so many mistakes, it's like we try to commit suicide a lot of times during the game.

"We were rushed by wanting to win, but finally, what really matters is the win, second road win in a row," he said.

POOR NEWCOMERS. Janis Timma of UNICS and Olympiacos' Quincy Acy finished the contest with a minus PIR. The Latvian forward played 11.5 minutes, did not score (0/3 3PT), and had -1 PIR. The former NBAer Acy competed only 15 seconds and collected the same -1.

MISFORTUNE. This was the second overtime game UNICS have played this season, again on their home floor. The Russian powerhouse was once again on the losing side, as it was in Round 2 against AS Monaco (80-88).

For UNICS, this is their fourth EuroLeague season, and in the previous three continental campaigns, UNICS had two more overtime defeats.

GAME OF THE SEASON? A real basketball spectacle was held in Istanbul, while Barca won a heart-breaking drama in the last year's EuroLeague final repeat. The duel included overtime, Ergin Ataman's ejection, Rokas Jokubaitis' game-deciding circus shot, monstrous individual performances, and fuming fouled out stars.

DIRK SANLI. On Tuesday, Jonas Valanciunas drained 7 threes in the game and his teammates were calling him Dirk Valanciunas. No reason why Sertac Sanli cannot be named similarly.

Yesterday, Sanli had no mercy for his former team, hitting 4 treys in 5 tries, involving a fade-away jumper with the shot clock buzzer. All in all, the Turkish big man recorded his EuroLeague career-high, leading his team with 24 points (5/6 2PT, 4/5 3PT, 2/4 FT), 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 4 drawn fouls, and 25 PIR.

"I don’t know how I feel after this kind of game," Sanli spoke after the game. "It was really hard for me to play but I needed to be professional and I did my job.

I cannot describe my feelings. It’s hard to play these guys. I spent the last three years with them. As I said, I cannot say anything after a game like this."

Due to such performance, Sertac Sanli was also praised by opponents: "Sertac was one of the best centers in EuroLeague last season, that's why Barcelona went for him.

He started the game by scoring regularly, maintaining his rhythm, remaining hot. He also used the space, created by Mirotic and their smaller players, with the open shots. He was excellent tonight," Efes' assistant Yakup Sekizkok commented in the press conference.

HELLUVA INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCES. 3 players (Sanli, Mirotic, Micic) completed the match with more than 20 PIR per game. 4 athletes (Kuric, Laprovittola, Larkin, Moerman) had over 15 PIR. 9 players were in double-digit scoring.

Besides Sanli, Nikola Mirotic was spectacular for Barca too, registering 18 points (4/8 2PT, 3/3 3PT, 1/1 FT), 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, 4 drawn fouls, and 23 PIR.

Vasilije Micic was outstanding for Anadolu Efes, posting 26 points (4/8 2PT, 3/5 3PT, 9/11 FT), 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 10 drawn fouls, and 31 PIR.

BULLSHIT. Shane Larkin was eliminated from the Barca and Efes game due to his dubious fifth personal foul in the early overtime phase. He took his emotions to Instagram and complained about refereeing there.

"I don't ever come to Instagram with stuff like this but this is bullshit. Unbelievable. This is how I foul out the game. Watch the rest of the clip and tell me where a foul is," the agile guard asked a rhetorical question.

"Man (referee) had his hand raised before anything even happened," Larkin added. "He wanted to call this shit, please tell me where the foul is.

The other team's star player (Larkin meant Nikola Mirotic) fouled out and this guy wanted to call some shit on me to get me out of the game too.

Congrats to Barcelona on a tough win. I'm not taking anything away from them or their players… they earned a tough W. But this call is f*cking bullshit," Anadolu Efes star finished.

2000-POINT EUROLEAGUE CLUB. Rodrigue Beaubois nailed a floater late in the third quarter to join the 2000-point club in the EuroLeague. The 33-year-old ended up with 6 points and now has 2001 points after 185 games for Strasbourg, Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz, and Efes.

Beaubois is the 49th player to reach the 2000 point mark in EuroLeague history. And he is the sixth current Efes player in the group, joining Bryant Dunston (2105), Shane Larkin (2124), Vasilije Micic (2074), Tibor Pleiss (2042), and Krunoslav Simon (2201).

SURPRISE. Starting the third quarter, Jasikevicius put a lineup that Barcelona had not used before this season, with Nigel Hayes-Davis playing at a two, Nikola Mirotic at a three, and Brandon Davies, Rolands Smits sharing the frontcourt duties.

"We worked a bit with a big lineup in the last couple of days, but still, in the end, it was not the big lineup," Jasikevicius said. "Maybe it surprised them for a moment, but I don't think it had an effect."

PEP TALK. With his team down by ten and 47 points allowed in the first half, Sarunas Jasikevicius gave a straightforward speech to his players in a locker room.

"Listen, just tell me you believe we can win here," the Lithuanian mastermind told his players during halftime. "If you tell me that you believe we can win here then I continue going crazy on the sidelines like I always do. If not, I just sit down and don't waste my health."

Saras had already picked a technical in the first half, and he said he could not watch his team giving away 'cheap' points to Anadolu Efes.

REBUILT DEFENSIVE FORTRESS. In the previous three losing efforts against UNICS, Real, and Baskonia, Zvezda let their opponents score 90 points on average. This time, the Red Star held Zenit at 58 points.

It was the second time this season Zvezda maintained an opponent under 60 points, after having destroyed Panathinaikos OPAP Athens 81-48 in Round 8.

After the duel, Dejan Radonjic was quick to point out the splendid defensive performance by his team: "From the beginning, our defense was good, for 40 minutes."

Zenit tied 2nd-worst offensive performance in the club's EuroLeague history. The lowest mark for the Russian powerhouse was reached during last year's playoffs when the team scored only 53 points against FC Barcelona.

TWO IS NOT ENOUGH. Jordan Mickey and Andrey Zubkov didn't give up and tried to break the rock-solid Zvezda's defense. They became the best performers of the home team by helping Zenit match Zvezda's energy inside.

Mickey finished with 16 points (7/9 2PT, 0/1 3PT, 2/3 FT) and 5 boards for 18 PIR, while Zubkov neared a double-double with 9 points (4/4 2PT, 1/1 FT) and 8 rebounds. He added 1 assist, 2 steals, and 5 drawn fouls for a career-high PIR of 23 in his 155th EuroLeague game.

Unfortunately for them, their effort didn't pay off as Zenit backcourt players could not score against Red Star's defense, making just 3 of their 19 attempts from behind the arc.

HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM! ALBA Berlin prevailed AX Armani Exchange Milan 81-76 on Friday night. The Italian powerhouse suffered its fourth consecutive loss, dropping to an 8-5 EuroLeague record.

Ettore Messina knew exactly what cost them another setback: "Unfortunately, we played for one more game very low-level defense and allowed them to play easily until the middle of the third quarter.

That's something we have to fix, the basic fundamentals: one-on-one, weak side, box out. There's nothing strategy-wise that is more important than taking care of the fundamentals.

So, we're, surely, in a bad moment and we need to keep working and move on to the next game and hopefully raise our level," the basketball professor spoke post-game.

EFFORT PAID OFF. ALBA entered the game ranked second-to-last among all EuroLeague teams in defensive rebounding. But in this game, that's where ALBA dominated most.

The hosts outrebounded Milan 42-26, pulling down 12 offensive boards while holding the visitors to just 5. Such a rebounding display helped ALBA play to its strengths, running the floor and getting transition baskets.

WHEN IT RAINS, IT POURS. Marcus Eriksson scored a game-high 21 points (2/3 2PT, 5/8 3PT, 2/2 FT) and was hot in the first three quarters. He made his first 5 three-point attempts and his off-balance jumper, which players make only, when they look like they simply cannot miss.

"Everyone knows Eriksson's shooting. He is so magnetic for the defense, everyone is watching him and it gets all the other guys open. He is such an unselfish player; sometimes he knows he is just a decoy," Luke Sikma praised his teammate.

TOP Plays of Round 13

Records of Round 13

PIR
Aleksandr  Vezenkov
Aleksandr Vezenkov

Sasha Vezenkov (36)

Points
Mike  James
Mike James

Mike James (31)

Rebounds
Nikola  Milutinov
Nikola Milutinov

 

 

 

Nikola Milutinov (13)

 

 

 

Assists
Alexey  Shved
Alexey Shved

Alexey Shved (13)

Steals
Aleksandr  Vezenkov
Aleksandr Vezenkov

 

 

 

Sasha Vezenkov, Pierria Henry (5 each)

 

 

 

Blocks
Ante  Zizic
Ante Zizic

Ante Zizic (3)

3-pointers made
Isaiah  Canaan
Isaiah Canaan
Isaiah Canaan (6)

Results of Round 13

97-77
96-86
72-68
73-65
72-70
84-87
93-95
58-69
81-76

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