Credit: Sonia Camada, Panagiotis Moschandreou - Getty Images | BasketNews illustration
Credit Sonia Camada, Panagiotis Moschandreou - Getty Images | BasketNews illustration

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.

Anadolu Efes narrow escape, game of the season contender, clutch Billy Baron, unstoppable Wade Baldwin, hot Greek derby, Real's surprise, and spectacular Chris Jones – all of that and more in EuroLeague’s Round 17 beat.

EuroLeague's beat Round 17

A WIN THAT NEVER WAS. It seemed that Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade already had the win in the hands. With 10 seconds to go and a slim 1-point lead in their pocket, Nikola Kalinic stood there to take 2 free throws.

A 75% free throw shooter before the start of this match had made all 3 of his shots from the stripe before the final moments. However, Kalinic missed both of the attempts, which ultimately helped hand the win to Anadolu Efes Istanbul.

Crvena Zvezda led by as much as 9 points in the middle of the third quarter and had a 7-point lead with 2 minutes left to play. That was not enough though as Vasilije Micic scored 10 in a row to ice the game.

WINNING WAYS. After edging out a narrow win against Crvena Zvezda, Anadolu Efes are back on the winning track. The team has won the last 3 matches in the Euroleague with comfortable victories against Bitci Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz and Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv beforehand.

A 1-4 start of the season now seems like a distant memory for Efes fans.

THE GERMAN GIANT. A season-high 23 points and 27 PIR points mark a revival campaign of Tibor Pleiss. Having averaged only 6.8 points and 2.7 rebounds in 12 minutes last season and being one of the last people on the bench, Pleiss is now the one to be dealt with.

The German center is one of the most reliable offensive options this season. Pleiss now averages 11.2 points and 4.5 rebounds per game in 18 minutes of play and has been the deciding factor in numerous important moments.

THE SILENT SORCERER IS BACK. Mike James has mainly been a disappointment this season, but the former CSKA Moscow superstar seems to have found his way lately. In the last three matches, the flamboyant player has hit the 31 PIR points mark twice.

James is slowly starting to remind the guard we all know and love. Although he's averaging 14.5 points and 15.9 PIR in the season, the old times seem to be back.

ROUGH PATCH. AS Monaco have now lost 7 matches of their last 8. A strong start to the season winning the first two games against Panathinaikos OPAP Athens and UNICS Kazan now seems like an impossible feat to achieve.

There aren't any easy wins on the local front either as Monaco prevailed against Limoges in the LNB as well last weekend. Riddled by coaching changes, rotation questions, and lack of identity, the team meets the holidays as disgruntled as they've been this year.

HITTING SHOTS. 92 points scored against Monaco marks the highest point total of the season for ALBA Berlin. Not known for their high-power offense, the German club is averaging 91 points in the last two games in the Euroleague 

BROWN THE BURGLAR. This week's game marks the fourth time John Brown has made 5 steals in a match this season. The American forward leads the Euroleague in steals, averaging 2.59 per game. UNICS Kazan as a team lead the league in this category with a whopping 9.59 steals per game, with the 2nd-place team trailing an entire steal.

Barcelona's head coach Sarunas Jasikevicius admires what Brown does. "We showed videos to our players about John Brown III. He is an amazing defender. But when you face him, it is hard to beat him," Jasikevicius explained.

LOADS OF FREE STUFF. FC Barcelona tied a long-living Euroleague record this week. The Spanish powerhouse hit 42 free throws in the match, which marks the first time these many shots were hit from the stripe in nearly 15 years.

Panathinaikos OPAP Athens hit the same number of free throws at the 2006-07 season, the same as Cibona Zagreb (2006-07 season) and Maccabi Tel Aviv (2003-04 season).

A SCORING CLINIC. Both Barcelona and UNICS hit their scoring bests during this week's match. Although both clubs are known for their stout defense this season, the teams made it rain in the overtime thriller.

111 points is an all-time high for Barcelona, while 109 points is an all-time result for UNICS as well. The Russian club had previously reached the triple-digit mark only once in the Euroleague before.

A START TO BE ADMIRED. With 15 wins and 2 losses, Barca tied the best first-round start since the new format was introduced in the EuroLeague. Only Fenerbahce Istanbul were able to win as many games in the 2018-19 season.

Coach Jasikevicius did not emphasize the record after the match though. "Every Christmas is good, but this will be better after this win. We will remember this game for a long time", the Lithuanian specialist expressed. 

THE DEAFENING SILENCE. Isaiah Canaan tried to shush the Barcelona crown after hitting a difficult three-point shot in the middle of the fourth quarter. The gesture backfired massively with Barca mounting an amazing comeback immediately afterward.

Referring to Canaan's gesture, coach Jasikevicius did not hold back. "The team was dead, the coach was dead, and also the fans were quiet. Until a man made a gesture, and the crowd reacted. We have seen that he has done this before. In Tel Aviv and Moscow. It's normal when you are destroying Barcelona at Palau. NBA style", Jasikevicius noted.

Asked about Isaiah Canaan's gesture with his finger, Perasovic was pretty honest. "Honestly, I did not see what he did. But if you said it was like this, that was unnecessary. The crowd gets on top and the opposing team has another motivation," he concluded.

LESSON FOR THE AGES. An all-time Barca-UNICS Euroleague clash marked a notable fourth-quarter ending. Trailing by 3 points, Nikola Mirotic forced a Tonye Jekiri foul with 15 seconds left that sent the superstar to the free-throw line to shoot 3 attempts. Mirotic made all three shots from the stripe, which ultimately resulted in the game going to overtime.

There were numerous reactions to this moment in social media, with the majority of them expressing doubts about the validity of the foul. Called by an experienced Euroleague referee Damir Javor, the foul has been the talking point of the match together with Canaan's gesture.

The episode highlighted the lack of options Euroleague coaches have when trying to challenge a referee call. Although currently limited, the coach challenge has been met as a welcome change this season with plans on expanding the rule further down the road.

DROUGHT OF WINS. Maccabi lost a nail-biting ending against Zenit, 71-73, and suffered their seventh consecutive EuroLeague blow. The Yellows did not win a single game in the strongest continental competition since November 11, when they beat Monaco at home (95-84).

ICY VEINS. Billy Baron had not the best game until the very last moment, nailing 2 treys out of 5 and missing all the two-point shots. Though, he demonstrated cold-blooded instincts, draining a game-winning bomb from deep with 9 seconds left on the clock.

REYNOLD'S COMEBACK. Jalen Reynolds reminded his best version at Munich, registering a monster double-double performance in Saint Petersburg. Maccabi managed to stay in the game only thanks to the American big man's domination in the paint. He finished the game with 24 points (10/16 2PT, 4/5 FT), 11 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 turnovers, 1 block, 4 drawn fouls, and 28 PIR.

EXTRA MOTIVATION. Seemed that Wade Baldwin wanted to show what Bayern lost in the off-season and he did it remarkably. The athletic guard went off for a career-high 30 points (7/11 2PT, 4/7 3PT, 4/4 FT), 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 3 turnovers, 4 drawn fouls, and 33 PIR.

"We were down a lot of guys today, so everybody had to step up. As one of the leaders of this team, we've been in a struggle and it's my job to step up and play well. There was an opportunity tonight for me to do so and there's nothing better than to come back and beat Bayern and coach Trinchieri. That put a smile on my face tonight," openly commented Baldwin after the victorious match.

HUGE WORKLOAD. With three Baskonia starters (Fontecchio, Giedraitis, Sedekerskis) sidelined for this game, bench boss Neven Spahija played the game essentially with a seven-man rotation. The eighth player, Arturs Kurucs, saw most of his 4:39 of playing time after centers Steven Enoch and Landry Nnoko both fouled out.

Wade Baldwin (38:41), Vanja Marinkovic (34:42), and Matt Costello (40:00) played career-highs in minutes and both Baldwin (30 points) and Costello (23 points) set career-bests in scoring.

A GAME TO FORGET. Bayern's Andrea Trinchieri was very disappointed after the loss, saying it was a poor team performance in all game aspects.

"Congratulations to Baskonia. Our worst game. They really kicked us in the butt hard. We didn't have any reaction and it's really a bad game. It's the first that time my team is a flat line: no reaction, no emotion, no nothing. So that was a very tough loss."

HISTORIC MARK. Olympiacos eased past Panathinaikos, 84-65, and registered the biggest margin (19 points) in the PAO-Olympiacos games at OAKA (EuroLeague competition).

DESERVED CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION. "Merry Christmas to everyone - and especially to the fans of Olympiacos," Georgios Bartzokas said without concealing his joy.

That last quote resonates with what Bartzokas said before the derby. "If we beat Panathinaikos, we will enjoy a Merry Christmas." Well, now it's a fact. Enjoy!

GREEN HELL. Fans in the Greek derby are a chapter of their own. The official EuroLeague count stopped at 11.700, but that number is very far from the real one which approached 14.000. It was -by far- the largest crowd ever gathered in a Greek arena in the pandemic era (since March 2020).

Die-hard PAO supporters - albeit not seated most of the time- had already taken their seats at least 90 minutes before tip-off, impatiently waiting for friends and foes to come out of their locker rooms. Fans could be heard chanting from the OAKA parking area, located at a 100-meter distance from the installation.

"The fans of Panathinaikos are awesome, I like the atmosphere here. Greek derbies keep me alive," an ecstatic Shaquielle McKissic told Greek broadcaster NOVASPORTS.

Vezenkov followed his colleague: "It's nice to play in a hot atmosphere. We play basketball so people can watch."

DEADLY COMBO LEARNED THE LESSONS. The Sloukas-Vezenkov duo accounted for 30 points on 11/17 field goals, 8 rebounds, and 10 assists. In the Greek League derby, both missed crucial shots and free throws, which could have changed the outcome. Obviously, that's water under the bridge.

FOUR GAMES' MAGIC. ASVEL took down a blazing-hot Fenerbahce by a two-point difference, 84-82, ending Turks' 4-game winning streak, while also terminating their 4-game losing stretch.

FROM ZERO TO HERO. These words literally describe the last roller-coaster performances of Chris Jones. The American guard was scoreless last week in a heavy loss against Olympiacos. Though, on Friday night, he delivered a career-high 27 points (6/8 2PT, 3/4 3PT, 6/7 FT), 1 rebound, 3 assists, 1 steal, 2 turnovers, 1 block, 5 drawn fouls, and 30 PIR.

Moreover, with the game tied at 81-81, Jones created a critical shot, hitting the go-ahead floater to put ASVEL on the right track to win the game.

"I feel great! I feel like it is well-deserved by us, beating a good team. It is something we have to build on. We have been struggling in the last couple of games but I feel this is a great win for us and like I said, we just have to build on it. It was embarrassing last week against Olympiacos but we wanted to come out and show the fire that we got in us, and we got the job done," said Jones post-game.

DAVID AND GOLIATH. Despite having only 9 players in their disposition, Real sneaked past full-strength CSKA, 71-65, and got their third EuroLeague win in a row.

Little who expected that the Royal club without Adam Hanga, Anthony Randolph, Guerschon Yabusele, Juan Nunez, Vincent Poirier, Fabien Causeur, Thomas Heurtel, and bench boss Pablo Laso will be an equivalent opponent for mighty CSKA.

However, "Real kids" Baba Miller, Sediq Garuba, Urban Klavzar (born in 2004), and Tristan Vuckevic (born in 2003) stepped on the court and played a major role in the battle versus the giants.

Urban Klavzar's star shone the brightest. The 17-year-old Slovenian contributed with 10 points, 1 rebound, and 7 PIR.

"Klavzar and Garuba played a great game, so we'd better remember those names," Dimitris Itoudis praised the teens.

BALL CHERISHING. One of the keys to Real's unexpected victory – which came with just five senior players in the roster – was the home squad's excellent ball handling. Real committed just 4 turnovers throughout the game with no player committing more than 1.

UNWRITTEN RULE. "Since I've been at this club for 8 years, every challenge that these players have faced, they always went for it. They have believed. It is a pride to belong to this team. They give lessons every day. It is not all written. You have to fight till the end," Chus Mateo said after the W. 

Dimitris Itoudis agreed with Real temporary head coach's thoughts. 

"This game has a lot of unwritten rules and the only unwritten rule in every team sport is to compete and play hard. As I said in the pregame interview, Real Madrid have my sympathy and empathy for what’s going on, but that shouldn’t affect us."

TOP Plays of Round 17

Records of Round 17

PIR
Wade  Baldwin
Wade Baldwin

Wade Baldwin (33)

Points
Wade  Baldwin
Wade Baldwin

Wade Baldwin (30)

Rebounds
Vladimir  Lucic
Vladimir Lucic

 

 

Vladimir Lucic (14)

 

 

Assists
Lorenzo  Brown
Lorenzo Brown

Lorenzo Brown, Shane Larkin (9 each)

Steals
John  Brown
John Brown

 

 

 

John Brown (5)

 

 

 

Blocks
Georgios  Papagiannis
Georgios Papagiannis

Georgios Papagiannis (5)

3-pointers made
Tibor  Pleiss
Tibor Pleiss
Tibor Pleiss (5)

Results of Round 17

84-83
92-84
111-109
73-71
76-81
65-84
71-65
84-82

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