Euroleague: Bjelica and James – Week 10 MVPs
For the third time this Turkish Airlines Euroleague Regular Season, the honor for the week’s best performance is shared by two players. The regular season came to an end with a flurry of close games, but it was great efforts in a pair of bigger victories that saw Nemanja Bjelica of Caja Laboral Vitoria and Shawn James of Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv become bwin co-MVPs for Week 10. It is the first such honor for each player. Both compiled performance index ratings of 27 – the best among all players on winning teams this week – in leading their teams to important wins. Bjelica only missed 1 shot while scoring 22 points, his Euroleague career high, as Vitoria routed Cedevita Zagreb 97-70 at home to clinch a Top 16 berth. Bjelica also had 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals in just 22 minutes off the bench.
James collected a double-double to help Maccabi down Alba Berlin 78-62 to finish first in Group B. He scored 10 points on 4-for-5 shooting and tallied 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 3 blocked shots for Maccabi. Two other players matched their index ratings of 27, but came out on the losing sides of their gams. Drew Gordon of Partizan mt:s Belgrade had his best game to date with 14 points, 15 rebounds and 2 blocks, including a put-back dunk to force overtime, although his team came up short 92-90 against Brose Baskets Bamberg. In his first Euroleague start, Elan Chalon-sur-Saone forward Clint Capela posted 12 points, 12 rebounds and 4 blocks in an 86-62 loss at Unicaja Malaga. The week’s fifth-best performance, Deon Thompson of Alba Berlin with a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds, couldn’t prevent a road loss to Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv.
Individual highs: Rasid Mahalbasic, Asseco Prokom Gdynia, 16 rebounds
The top scoring performance in Game 10 came from pass-first point guard Jerel Blassingame of Asseco Prokom Gdynia, who erupted for a career-high 26 points in a come-from-behind overtime win at Montepaschi Siena. It is Siena, however, that boasts the top scorer from the regular season, Bobby Brown, with 19.5 points per game. Blassingame’s teammate Rasid Mahalbasic hauled in 16 rebounds to top all Week 10 participants. His 16 and Gordon’s 15 rebounds for Partizan were the two highest totals all season in their last games. Union Olimpija Ljubljana center Aron Baynes, whose team was also eliminated, goes down as the regular season rebounding champ with 9.8 per contest. Unicaja guard Marcus Williams dished out 9 assists, the most this week. Former MVP Dimitris Diamantidis of Panathinaikos Athens was the regular season’s assist leader with 6.3 per game. Diamantidis, with 5 steals, was the No. 1 ball thief in Week 10. Maccabi’s Ricky Hickman and his 2.3 steals per game were best in the regular season. Capela was joined with 4 blocks this week by Benjamin Eze of Montepaschi Siena and Sharrod Ford of Brose Baskets Bamberg. Panathinaikos big man Stephane Lasme finishes as the top shot-blocker of the regular season with 2.6 per game. Seven different players registered double-doubles this week, all on points and rebounds. They were: Mahalbasic (18 points, 16 rebounds), Gordon (14 and 15), Thompson (16 and 10), Capela (12 and 12), James (10 and 10), Ioannis Bourousis of EA7 Emporio Armani Milan (13 and 12), and Leon Radosevic of Lietuvos Rytas (11 and 10).
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Bjelica, Bjelica, go-go!!!!