EuroLeague Diaries: UNICS’ John Brown has dream-like night vs Anadolu Efes; Maccabi’s tough slump

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Photo: EuroLeague Basketball

EuroLeague round 18 came to an end with three games taking place. Prior to that, the competition had to postpone five of the round’s nine games due to COVID outbreak in various teams.

Regardless, the elite of European basketball had some moments to offer despite the adversity. Here is the things that we cherry-picked from Wednesday’s and Thursday’s action.

John Brown leads UNICS with career-night vs Anadolu Efes

John Brown had a night to remember against the EuroLeague reigning champions Anadolu Efes. The forward stepped up his game to register a career high in PIR and points.

He also had some huge plays down the stretch to lead UNIKS Kazan to its 11th win the EuroLeague this season. Brown finished the game with 20 points, three rebounds, two assists, five steals and seven fouls drawn for a PIR of 28.

In UNICS’s last two showdowns, Brown is averaging 20.5 points, 5.0 steals and a PIR of 26.0 showing his has the offensive talent to help the Russian club add to its win total.

“It was my night! We got the win, that’s more important, but we still have some things to focus on, little mental lapses, but we should be fine. Everything is wonderful – smiling and ready to go for the next game,” Brown said.

Maccabi’s struggles continues

Maccabi Tel Aviv seems to be in a tough spot as, AS Monaco Basket added to the Israeli club’s misery on Wednesday night.

The Israeli giants lost its eighth straight game and fell to 7-11, having the same record with their opponents. Monaco put an end to a two-game slide as Mike James dished 13 assists.

Scottie Wilbekin (31 points) was the only player to stand tall for the struggling visitors; however, that was not enough for Maccabi, which dropped another game at home.

“When you are on a bad streak, some shots that were supposed to go in go out and you miss layups and make some bad plays. The toughest thing is to stop the streak. When we stop the streak, we will be great,” Ante Zizic said on his team’s struggles.

FC Barcelona defensive slump

FC Barcelona could not handle Baskonia’s offense in Round 18’s clash between two ACB teams. Barcelona came into the game with the No. 1 defense, having allowed just 76.1 points per game.

However, Baskonia was the third straight team to score at least 82 points against the Catalans.Baskonia scored a season-high 94 points after averaging just 70.1 points before the game—the second-fewest in the league.

The Basques were also the better team in defense as FC Barcelona scored just 75 points, while the 19-point deficit was the biggest in a loss for the Spanish giants.

“I feel this defines our character as a team. We took a hit in our last game and we wanted to come back and give a good performance. Coach David [Gil] lit a fire under us to get us going, to pick up our character and as a team, come together. So it worked out in the end,” Steven Enoch said after the game.

COVID-19 the “major factor” in Round 18

The EuroLeague came to a decision to postpone five of its nine games this week. The decision was forced by the situation around Europe as several teams battle COVID-19 outbreaks.

Panathinaikos requested the suspension of the game against Zalgiris on Thursday fter several team members tested positive for COVID-19. The Greens did not the minimum eight players on the Authorization List fit to play.

Olympiacos faced a similar situation priot to the game against CSKA Moscow. Olympiacos requested the suspension after several team members and coaches tested positive for COVID-19 including seven players.

ASVEL is facing its own COVID crisis with eight players in the safety protocols, as the game against the German Cup winners Bayern Munich was also suspended.

Those three teams were the latest to face a surge in COVID cases, while Real Madrid and Armani Milano are also battle with a huge increase.

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