Euroleague Weekly Review
Will Efes miss the Top 16 for the second consecutive season?
by Erildas Budraitis
In this week‘s Euroleague Weekly Review, we will look at what happened in the seventh week of the Europe’s best basketball tournament. Only three weeks are left until the end of the regular season, so every game is do or die.
As you remember, Regal Barcelona was the first team to make Top 16, and this week we have another three teams who joined Top 16. Montepaschi Siena, CSKA Moscow and Panathinaikos Athens are safe and now can concentrate on being first in their groups.
While Regal Barcelona or Montepaschi continue to defeat every opponent, Partizan Belgrade, which won its third game in a row, experienced a miracle in Group B.
GAME OF THE WEEK
At the start of the season Partizan Belgrade lost three of its first four games, and that only win was against Group B outsider the Entente Orleanaise. But now Partizan is showing its real face – the Serbians blew out three of the group‘s top teams. First was Olympiakos Piraeus (86-80), then they beat Unicaja Malaga (72-64), and this week its was Efes Pilsen Istanbul’s turn (93-92).
We could call the game between Partizan and Efes Pilsen, “the thriller.” Neither team had a big lead and the match went point-by-point. But it was a lucky day for Partizan – Efes Pilsen had a 1-point lead with 8 seconds left, but Dusan Kecman made the jumper and brought the victory to Serbia.
“It’s always sweet to win by one point, but these are the kind of games that shorten your life,” said Aleksandar Maric, who led Partizan with 34 points. “Besides, my numbers would not mean anything if it weren’t for the last shot of Kecman.”
Maric also grabbed 16 rebounds and won week’s MVP award. Bo McCalebb added 17, and the game’s hero, Dusan Kecman, scored 12 points.
Igor Rakocevic with 24 points was the main scorer in Efes Pilsen club. Charles Smith made 18, Kaya Peker scored 17. Former New Jersey Nets forward Bostjan Nachbar had 14 points and just 2 rebounds.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Aleksandar Maric from the Partizan Belgrade is again on top of the list. The Serbian finished the game with 34 points, 16 boards and impressive 49 index ranking. It’s the second time Maric won the week’s MVP award (he also won it two weeks ago).
Second in this week’s MVP rankings is Khimki Moscow Region forward Kelly McCarty (31 index ranking). The American scored 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds against Panathinaikos Athens.
Third place was shared by Zalgiris Kaunas’ center Travis Watson and Regal Barcelona’s big man Fran Vazquez. They both got 30 index ranking points.
Next week will be the last before the holidays, so we’ll soon find out which teams will get Christmas’ presents sooner than others.