EuroLeague's beat: Real's nightmare, in-form prospect and Maccabi's offensive clinic

2022-04-09 09:03
Credit: AFP, imago images/Lackovic - Scanpix, Panagiotis Moschandreou/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images
Credit AFP, imago images/Lackovic - Scanpix, Panagiotis Moschandreou/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images

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.

Record-breaking Maccabi in Barcelona, Jasikevicius' rotation, Wembanyama on fire, vintage Delaney, clutch Macon, unbreakable Bayern, shaky Real, and Zvezda's favor to Israeli champs - all of that and more in this week's EuroLeague Round 34 beat.

EuroLeague's beat Round 34

MACCABI IN RECORD-BREAKING MODE. If FC Barcelona are the EuroLeague regular season winners, Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv are entitled to think they deserve a better place than 5th or 6th.

The Israeli powerhouse won this season's games against the Catalans by a total margin of 41 points. At Palau, Maccabi poured in the most points ever scored against Barca by a visiting team. Maccabi also scored 100 points for the first time since 2019-20 Regular Season Round 8 (875 days ago).

2014 VIBES. Maccabi put on an offensive clinic in Barcelona. 57 points in each half, on 16/27 three-point shots (9/12 at half-time) proved too much for Barcelona to handle.

"We're growing every day, at the right time," James Nunnally pointed out post-game. That's the perfect description of a team that had almost bid farewell to the playoffs in February, but has been enjoying a spectacular surge since the Russian teams were eliminated.

Apart from the customary dunk session by Jalen Reynolds and Derrick Williams, Scottie Wilbekin hit a long-distance shot to close the first half in an ideal fashion for Maccabi.

The Israelis are the only playoff team to have a game scheduled next week, vs. Fenerbahce at home. If they prevail, it will be their sixth straight win.

ROTATION. As it happened in the game against Olympiacos, Sarunas Jasikevicius chose to distribute the playing time among his available players. With the exception of Alex Abrines, no one stayed on the court for more than 20 minutes. Having secured first place in the regular season two weeks ago, Barcelona and their coach had the luxury to rotate players without paying much attention to the result.

However, Saras wasn't exactly satisfied with the way his young guns performed. "If you want to fight for this club, you have to at least put in the effort, and I'm not sure some players had it tonight," the 46-year-old coach said.

ALEX ON FIRE. Alex Abrines has been feeling very well lately. After sitting out Barca's first 28 games, the 27-year-old made his season debut against Zalgiris, took and missed his first shots vs. Crvena Zvezda, hit two three-pointers in Berlin, before exploding with 6/7 against Fenerbahce.

Maccabi knew the Spaniard was on fire, but still, Abrines produced 17 points on 5/7 from the perimeter. That makes 15/22 in six games for the former OKC forward.

A STAR IS BORN. Once again, Brandon Davies and Pierre Oriola were sidelined for Barcelona. However, James Nnnaji seized the chance to break his scoring record and add another promising performance to his resume.

The 17-year-old Nigerian big man was a force to reckon with on the other end too. He blocked two Derrick Williams' efforts for a dunk and a lay-up, standing tall whenever needed. He finished with 8 points, 2 rebounds, and 3 blocks.

BALDASSO BEATING BUZZERS. AX Armani Exchange Milan struggled in Lyon, despite maintaining the lead for the most part against hosts LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne. Luckily, Tommaso Baldasso came to the rescue.

First, he made a buzzer-beater from half-court to give his team a seven-point lead going into the fourth quarter and when ASVEL went up 76-75, he produced another morale-boosting dagger to make it 76-78 before Malcolm Delaney sealed the outcome.

In his only second EuroLeague appearance, the 23-year-old Italian guard was the X-Factor in Milan's win, as he scored his first (13) points on 5/7 from the field.

MIGHTY LIGHTY VS. VINTAGE DELANEY. David Lighty dropped a career-high 28 points on Milan, which wasn't enough. Ironically, with 10 seconds left, the experienced guard-forward won an unsportsmanlike foul that could have changed the game's fate.

Alas, he missed his first free throw, leaving Milan's edge intact. Chris Jones took the last shot attempt, but the ball didn't go through the rim.

On the other hand, Malcolm Delaney deservedly won game MVP accolades. The veteran guard had 0 assists, but his 5 rebounds combined with a season-best 24 points did the job as well for Milan.

The Italian Cup Final MVP was coming off a shooting slump, having converted only 4 of his last 29 three-point attempts. Against the French champs, he reminded everyone of the prolific scorer he used to be while playing for Lokomotiv Kuban six years ago.

TWIN TOWERS. TJ Parker used Victor Wembanyama and Kostas Antetokounmpo in the same lineup for quite some time. The French NBA prospect broke his scoring record with 18 points, while the Greek center added 11.

ASVEL attempted 47 two-point and 19 three-point shots, taking advantage of their size. The interesting part is that Wembanyama had gone 6/28 from deep in the season, before hitting 4/5 against the Italian powerhouse. He and Lighty made all 9 of ASVEL's three-point shots in the game, while the rest went 0/10. 

HIGH NOTE. Daryl Macon showed how to close the regular season for your team with a bang. He made an incredible three-pointer with less than a second remaining in the game to give Panathinaikos a three-point lead (62-59) and the final win over Fenerbahce.

"One thing about me, I'm going to keep shooting. And my teammates trust me enough to help me get shots up and to help me find open looks. I didn't shoot the ball well [tonight] but they trusted me that last possession to bring the game home, and I really appreciate those guys. I really do. It means a lot," Macon spoke after the victorious effort.

A STRETCH TO REMEMBER. Last Round, Georgios Papagiannis outdueled Walter Tavares, leading PAO to victory over Real with a dominant double-double: 18 points (9/11 2PT, 0/1 FT), 10 rebounds, 5 blocks, 1 assist, and 30 PIR. He tied his career-highs in points, blocks, and field goals made in the EuroLeague.

This time the Greek big man accumulated 14 points (6/8 2PT, 2/2 FT), 12 rebounds, 4 blocks, 1 assist, 3 steals, and 31 PIR. He tied his EuroLeague career-highs in steals and PIR.

CHARACTER. Bayern were trailing Real by as many as 20 points in the third quarter. They had minus 16, going into the final period of the game. However, Deshaun Thomas and Ognjen Jaramaz went on a mission, inspiring the 38-13 comeback to stun Los Blancos at WiZink Center.

It was the biggest Bayern's comeback in EuroLeague since 2007 and the second biggest in this EuroLeague campaign among all teams.

"I could be surprised by the final result. When you go down by 20, it's not easy to come back - especially on the road, especially here. But all the credit goes to my players. They played an excellent second half," Andrea Trinchieri commented post-game.

WASTE. Real drained 13 triples in the first half to make league history, besting the 12 first-half three-pointers made by Olympiacos earlier this season and by CSKA Moscow in 2014-15.

However, Real lost its way in the second half and ended up hitting 18-of-36 three-pointers - coming up just one made triple shy of the club record of 19 set exactly one year ago in Round 34. Real took a blow with 18 3FGs made - that's just the 2nd loss in 21 EuroLeague games with 18 or more 3FGs made.

MADRID, WE HAVE A PROBLEM! After the painful loss and fourth straight EuroLeague setback, Spanish media outlets reported that Thomas Heurtel and Trey Thompkins are on the verge of leaving Real Madrid. Guerschon Yabusele has been fined for certain unsportsmanlike behavior as well.

2ND PAIR IS SET. With this win, Bayern left the Royal club at the fourth position in the EuroLeague standings. Moreover, the Germans' victory revealed one more assured playoffs pair: Olympiacos Piraeus (2nd seed) vs AS Monaco (7th seed). It was clear earlier that FC Barcelona will meet the same Bayern Munich in another quarter-final series.

MIKE JAMES – POINTS MACHINE. AS Monaco eased past ALBA Berlin in a non-significant battle for the final EuroLeague standings. But it was a quite significant game for Mike James, who finished the duel with 7 points and scored a total of 3,230 points in his first 200 games played. That's the highest value in the league's history.

IT'S BEEN YEARS... Dwayne Bacon delivered a poster on the 2.24-meter center Christ Koumadje, with whom he played in college basketball.

"Christ Koumadje and I went to college together, so it's been years since I've been trying to get him [with a dunk], and I finally got him. I know he will be mad about it, but he is my guy. He competes at a high level," Bacon spoke on the magic moment of the game.

MEMORABLE NIGHT. Nikola Kalinic was outstanding for Crvena Zvezda, which took down the reigning EuroLeague champions Anadolu Efes in Belgrade's hell. The Serbian forward registered a double-double with 16 points (7/8 2PT, 0/5 3PT, 2/2 FT), 10 rebounds, 8 assists, 1 steal, 4 turnovers, and 25 PIR, coming close to being the third player in competition history to record a triple-double.

WAITING. The EuroLeague regular season ended officially yesterday, although Maccabi Tel Aviv still need to play one more game against Fenerbahce next week (Wednesday, April 13). And precisely Maccabi-Fenerbahce match will give us the full playoff picture. 

Milan secured the third seed, while Real are fourth in the table. The fifth and the sixth seeds still need to be decided. If Maccabi win their final game, they'll get the fifth spot, otherwise, Efes will finish as the fifth team and the Israeli powerhouse as the sixth.

TOP Plays of Round 34

Records of Round 34

Georgios Papagiannis
Georgios Papagiannis

Georgios Papagiannis (31)

David  Lighty
David Lighty

David Lighty (28)

Georgios Papagiannis
Georgios Papagiannis



Georgios Papagiannis (12)



Nick  Calathes
Nick Calathes

 Nick Calathes (9)

Chris  Jones
Chris Jones




Chris Jones, Austin Hollins, Leonidas KaselakisGeorgios Papagiannis, Pierria Henry (3 each)





Georgios Papagiannis (4)

3-pointers made
Scottie  Wilbekin
Scottie Wilbekin
Scottie Wilbekin, Alex Abrines, Malcolm Delaney (5 each)

Results of Round 34



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