Credit: AP, AFP - Scanpix | BasketNews illustration
Credit AP, AFP - Scanpix | BasketNews illustration

For the Euro-NBAers, it was another good week. Take Evan Fournier's 41 points against the Celtics with 10 made threes out of 14. That effort equaled the Knicks franchise record, which was set by J.R. Smith.

Domantas Sabonis

Domantas  Sabonis
Domantas  Sabonis
MIN: 34.63
PTS: 19.31 (63.32%)
REB: 11.74
As: 4.49
ST: 1.03
BL: 0.41
TO: 3.05
GM: 39

RJ Barrett's winner after a comeback from 25 points overshadowed his career night story, but Fournier became the third Frenchman in history to score more than 40 points in an NBA game after Tony Parker and Rodrigue Beaubois.

"I did not expect that," Fournier admitted.

On the other hand, Giannis Antetokounmpo's 43 points and 10 rebounds double-double effort was not enough as the Bucks suffered their second loss of the week in the absence of Jrue Holiday and George Hill.

Strangely enough, this was the second-highest point scored for Antetokounmpo for the season and the fifth occasion where he scored 40 and more in the current campaign. Furthermore, he drew a season-high 17 fouls and made 18-20 from the free-throw line. Giannis even hit 3 pointers out of 6, but sometimes the luck is just not on your side.

The questions of efficiency aside, Luka Doncic made his third triple-double of the season to stop the Bulls' 9 game winning streak with 22 points, 14 rebounds, and 14 assists.

Three dishes were served to German big man Maximilian Kleber, who accompanied the Slovenian with a season-high 18 points.

The other Euro member of the Dallas Mavericks, Frank Ntilikina, was also quite instrumental against Houston Rockets with 4 assists and an impactful defensive effort to hold Eric Gordon at 5 points. After Luka's return, Dallas got its 6 wins in a row and climbed to 5th place in the West.

The week did not start so well for Nikola Jokic as Denver Nuggets lost the first two games against the Jazz and the Mavericks but bounced back with two wins against Sacramento Kings and Oklahoma City Thunder.

Nikola Jokic

Nikola  Jokic
Team: Denver Nuggets
Position: C, PF
Age: 26
Height: 208 cm
Weight: 111 kg
Birth place: Serbia

Jokic's best effort came against the Kings with 33 points 10 rebounds, and 7 assists. Things were a little bit tighter in the next game against the OKC, but a clutch putback and free throws from the reigning MVP was decisive. 

Not enough? Here are some more and equally impressive efforts from the Euro players in the NBA. 

Korkmaz finally got his touch back

Furkan Korkmaz is having a rollercoaster season. During the first month, he had a pretty strong week to inspire some expectations for a career-best term.

However, after a good patch, Korkmaz was out of sight for most of the time, regardless of his actual presence in the court or out of it. 

But now, the story has taken a new twist. Against the Houston Rockets, Korkmaz scored a career-high 24 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists.

That was also his first double-double in the NBA. In the next game against Orlando Magic, he accumulated 20 points on 4/9, shooting from the 3-point zone. The productivity suddenly skyrocketed. 

These solid contributions were in the same line with the Sixers form as a team, where Philadelphia surged to 5th place of the Eastern Conference with 6 wins in a row. 

Until last week, Korkmaz's accuracy from the 3-point range was an abysmal 19%, and he was in the danger of succumbing to a sub 30% rate at the end of the season. That never happened in his entire senior career.

One problem for him could be the shot creation dynamics of the 76ers. Last season, 62% of his shots were contested (112 contested out of 154), and he shot 34% with those. But this season, the contested shots ratio rose to 74% (68-196), but the accuracy fell to 26%. 

Since Philadelphia is not a high-volume 3 point team (bottom 5 of the league in the 3-point attempts volume), Furkan's shooting form could be a game-changer, alongside other core specialists like Seth Curry or Georges Niang. Let's see if he can keep the numbers up. 

Stoical Sabonis Still Fighting for Pacers

What a week that was for Domantas Sabonis. Indiana Pacers are far from having a season they would have expected, but while the trade deadline is looming, the Lithuanian center is piling up his stock. Some big news might be on the way.

In his 3 games played last week, Sabonis put up some huge numbers and eventually, led to a famous win against the Utah Jazz to end a 7-game losing streak for the Pacers.

On the way, he erupted with a 42 points and 6 rebounds showdown to make most of Rudy Gobert's absence in the painted zone.

Sabonis, who put on a fantastic solo show, not only improved his performance record in the NBA but also surpassed Linas Kleiza's achievement – on January 18, 2008, Kleiza scored 41 points (13/21 FG, 11/14 FT) in 42 minutes against the Jazz as well, becoming the Lithuanian NBA scoring record holder.

But other than these heroics to match with the NBA's best offense rhythm, Sabonis played well against Brooklyn Nets, notching a triple-double with 32 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists with only one three-pointer. 

Combined with the 15 point effort in the Knicks game, Sabonis reached 29.5 points, and 5.7 assists weekly average with a superb 73% field goal percentage.

That elevated his effective field goal rate to 61%, 4th best among the league's centers, who played at least 30 games and averaged 7 field goal attempts per game. 

Despite his overall profile as a low-volume 3-point shooter, Sabonis also increased both the frequency and the accuracy of his attempts beyond the arc, shooting 4/8 the past week. It remains a question whether he will keep trying to develop his three-ball, but the intent is reflected on the statistical breakdowns.

When all things are brought together, it is clear that Sabonis is giving his best offensive output in his NBA career, with 130.1 points per shooting attempt (per Cleaning the Glass).

Yurtseven Shaqs a Record. Wait, What? 

All the adversities like Covid-19 and unfortunate injuries can easily bring a team to its knees but not the Miami Heat. They always have an extra rabbit to pull out of their hats. This time, the rabbit is Turkish, and he is 2.11 meters tall. His name is Omer Yurtseven

We mentioned the unexpected surge of this undrafted grinder some weeks ago when he was hoping for a good opportunity to make it into the roster. When Bam Adebayo and Dwayne Dedmon were injured, he made every minute count.

Currently, the Turkish center is on a run of 11 games double-digit rebounding. Besides this astonishing achievement, he is the first rookie to grab 15+ boards with four-game in succession after a name that you might know a little bit about: Shaquille O'Neal.

But Yurtseven's rebounding prowess is not the only area of contribution. Against the Suns, he delivered a career-best 8 assists and set the table for 21 points for the Heat. He also provided a total of 14 assist the whole week, becoming the second-best passer for the Heat in that period. The guy can pass it, too.

Yurtseven also pointed his value as an aggressive rim runner, a high-frequency roller in the PnRs, and gave 19 points in the alley-oops in 12 possessions so far.

It still remains a question where Yurtseven will fit in once Bam Adebayo and Dwayne Dedmon return, but with that kind of efficiency, he will pose some questions in the head of Erik Spoelstra and Miami Heat front office, that much is sure.

As the Suns' coach Monty Wiliams put it quite well, the NBA community is still trying to figure out how Miami Heat found Yurtseven.

"Tough and skilled, certainly a Miami DNA guard," he noted.


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