EuroView: Madgen is getting to playoffs rhythm, Creek is adapting very quickly

Ben Madgen | Credit: Fotodiena.lt/M.Baranauskas

Australian men are playing far and wide across Europe, with Ben Madgen getting into the rhythm before Lietuvos rytas Vilnius’ playoffs campaign, while Mitch Creek is adapting very quickly in Germany.

Creek had the best week among all Aussies in Europe. The 2018 NBL runner-up was very efficient in the offence and that helped BG Gottingen to grab 1 win out of 2 games. His team suffered a loss against Telekom Baskets Bonn 70-82 on Friday, but bounced back to beat Giessen 46ers 111-102 two days later. In both games, Creek was one of the leaders in the scoring list with a team-high 18 points (8-14 FG) in 25 minutes against Telekom and a season best 23 points (11-17 FG) against 46ers.

After his NBL Grand Final campaign with the Adelaide 36ers shooting forward didn’t waste his time and moved to Germany, where he adapted quickly, becoming the side’s leading scorer in averaging 17.3 points across his first four games. His production has been vital for Goettingen, which is fighting to keep its spot in German first division.

After a loss against this season’s EuroLeague sensation Zalgiris Kaunas, the opportunity to finish the Lithuanian basketball league (LKL) regular season on top slipped away from Madgen and Lietuvos rytas. However last week the team from Lithuanian capital grabbed two wins and one of them helped to guarantee second spot before the playoffs.

Lietuvos rytas beat BC Siauliai at home 87-75 and took a solid win in Klaipeda against 3rd seeded BC Neptunas 90-75. In both games Madgen was the key player for his team. The 33-year-old guard had 16 points with 4-7 three pointers in just 19 minutes against Siauliai and scored 13 with 50% shooting from the field in 20 minutes against Neptunas in strong performances.

With three rounds left, Lietuvos rytas is comfortable in second place with home court advantage secured for the quarterfinal and semifinal series. That could be a very important factor for this EuroCup team to get back to the LKL finals after failure for the last two seasons.

That’s the same goal that Brock Motum and Anadolu Efes are seeking as the end of Turkish Basketball League (TBL) regular season nears. The 2018 Turkish Cup winners had a pretty easy win at home against Istanbul BBSK 86-67 on Saturday. Motum was a bit quiet this time, yet despite missing all four field goals, he was aggressive enough to finish the game with 6 points, all of them scored from a free point line with 100% of shooting.

With just 4 games left to play Ergin Ataman’s squad still stands in the third place and is 1 win behind Tofas Bursa, which also has one more game in advance.

Mirko Djeric played two really solid games in Serbian league, but his KK Vrsac team won just once. 19 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists in 33 minutes with 4 of 9 three pointers weren’t enough against KK Dynamic 74-94, but his teammates stepped up in the next game to give Vrsac an 84-79 win against KK Vojvodina. The 23-year-old guard left this game with 11 points and 4 assists in 30 minutes of action.

It was a different story was for centre Isaac Humphries. The former Kentucky Wildcat and Sydney King had just 5 points and 3 rebounds in 12 minutes for KK FMP in their easy win against KK Metalac 101-74. Two days later the 213 cm centre played just 7 minutes and scored 2 points as his team lost to KK Partizan 90-94.

Mitch McCarron finished his week in Slovenia with much better mood. The Boomers guard was very stable as Petrol Olimpija won both their games. The perennial Slovenian champions defeated Sentjur 96-62 and a very sweet win against Krka 79-71. McCarron played 25 minutes against Sentjur and finished the game with 10 points and 4 assists, and then added 12 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists in 30 minutes in the battle against Krka.

In Israel, Jonah Bolden has had to endure a tough tenure. After a woeful finish to the EuroLeague regular season which saw them lose 5 games in a row and miss out on the playoffs, Maccabi’s struggles have continued in the national championship as well. Coach Neven Spahija and his side have lost 2 of their 3 games in the Winner league since their EuroLeague campaign ended. Last week it couldn’t hold on against its biggest rival Hapoel Jerusalem, going down 81-82. Bolden couldn’t play, with just 10 suiting up to play.

And last, but not least is Ryan Broekhoff. Yes, he was still sidelined due to his thumb injury, but it may have been the last week off for him. His 6-week recovery schedule has officially expired, with his return almost imminent.

However, it could be hard for Borekhoff to immediately get a lot of minutes as his replacement, Jonas Maciulis, showed his best performance of the season on Sunday. In Lokomotiv’s impressive win against Parma Perm Region 94-64, the Lithuanian power forward had 13 points, a team-best 12 rebounds, as well as 25 efficiency points in 29 minutes of action.

With just 4 rounds left, ‘Loko’ is sharing third place with Zenit Saint Petersburg with both teams having 14 wins and 6 losses. But if either of them wants to participate in the next season’s EuroLeague, they would love to avoid top seeded CSKA Moscow in the semifinal (because CSKA has already secured a place in EuroLeague, while the VTB finalist will automatically earn a place too). The fourth placed team will have to battle against 5th seeded Khimki Moscow Region in the quarterfinal, so 3rd place takes on great significance.

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