On CSKA Moscow’s star-studded team, it was an unheralded blue-collar ace in the paint that made the big impact in the biggest victory of any team in Top 16 Game 7. And for his contributions as the Russian champs bested Panathinaikos 86-69 on Thursday, center Sasha Kaun earned bwin MVP of the week honors for the first time in his career. Kaun was an unstoppable force for CSKA as he took advantage of the extra minutes available due to forward Viktor Khryapa’s injury to stamp his impact on the result. Kaun scored 13 points on perfect shooting, grabbed 8 rebounds and blocked 5 shots en route to a performance index rating of 30, which was the highest among any player on a winning team in Top 16 Game 7. Kaun also recorded 2 assists and 2 steals into putting together an outing that his coach, Ettore Messina, compared to Hall of Famer Bill Russell. Anton Gavel of Brose Baskets Bamberg matched Kaun with an index of 30, but his team ultimately fell 87-88 after overtime to Zalgiris Kaunas. Gavel scored a career-high 25 points – including free throws to put his team up 2 with 16 seconds left in the extra session – on 14-of-16 free throw shooting, grabbed 5 rebounds and dished 3 assists. Fenerbahce Ulker swingman Bojan Bogdanovic was close to a bwin MVP title for the second time in three weeks, but came up just short with a 29 index. Bogdanovic paced Fener to a 78-72 victory with 25 points, 3 assists and 8 fouls drawn. Rounding out the list of the week’s top performers are Kyle Hines of Olympiacos and Paul Davis of BC Khimki Moscow Region, who had 27 indexes while playing opposite each other in a game the Reds won 82-87. Hines scored a season-high 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting in addition to 6 rebounds and a block for the winners. Davis compiled 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting and 9 rebounds in defeat.
Individual leaders: Zoran Planinic of BC Khimki Moscow Region, 13 assists
Bogdanovic and Gavel were the top two scorers in Top 16 Game 7 each with 25 points. Bogdanovic became the Top 16’s leading scorer with an average of 21.7 points per game. Gavel is 15th with 13.3 points per game. Montepaschi Siena forward David Moss was the week’s top rebounder with 11 in his team’s 85-74 victory over Caja Laboral. Khryapa remains the Top 16’s No. 1 rebounder with 8.2 per game. Moss is 15th with 5.1 per game. Zoran Planinic of BC Khimki Moscow Region set a new Top 16 record with 13 assists, eclipsing the previous mark of 12 shared by three players. Planinic is the Top 16 leader with 7.6 assists per game and the full-season leader with 6.3 per game. Bo McCalebb of Fenerbahce Ulker’s 4 steals was the most in the league for the week’s games. With 2 steals per game, he is second to league-leader Jamon Lucas of Anadolu Efes (2.6 spg.). The week’s MVP, Kaun, was also the top shot-blocker with 5 rejections, which moved him to the top of the Top 16 leader list with 2 per game. Two players notched double doubles in Top 16 Game 7: Planinic (17 points, 13 assists) and James Gist (12 points, 10 rebounds) of Panathinaikos Athens.