Steve Tibb takes a quick look back over the European basketball action over the past week or so and provides a recap on the notable performances by the Australian contingent.
Only two Aussies remain active in arguably the best league in the world outside of the NBA. Swingman Joe Ingles and Maccabi Tel-Aviv of Israel are currently on top of Group D with a 8-2 record, while Aussie big man Aleks Maric and his Russian outfit Lokomotiv Kuban are right behind them in 2nd place with a 6-4 win-loss profile. Both teams played games since we last checked in.
Maric and Lokomotiv Kuban first up hosted Greek powerhouse Panathinaikos. They started the game well and opened to a 23-21 lead heading into quarter-time, however it was all Panathinaikos in the second period as the Greek’s went on a 25-7 run that ultimately would prove too much for Russian’s to overcome. Lokomotiv Kuban lost badly in a what turned out to be a lop-sided contest 63-82, with Maric contributing 2 points on 1/3 shooting to go with 3 rebounds in just 12 minutes of action. Lokomotiv Kuban’s next Euroleague game was on the road at Laboral Kutxa, however they again couldn’t get the win and fell 71-84. Maric again played a limited role in collecting just 2 points to go with 3 rebounds.
Maccabi Tel-Aviv also played Panathinaikos this week with greater success, earning a 68-55 win away from home. Ingles was once again his usual self, filling the stats sheet with 10 points on 4/7 shooting that included 2/4 from beyond the arc to go with 2 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steal.
Both Maccabi Tel Aviv and Lokomotiv Kuban advanced to the final 16 and remain in the same group (Group F). Ingles’ next game is away to Turkish side Galatasaray on 2 January, with Lokomotiv Kuban hosting CSKA Moscow that same day.
Daniel Kickert made a successful return from injury for Azovmash in the Ukranian Superleague with a 77-63 win over SC Kryvbas. The Aussie forward showed no signs of rust, dropping 17 points on 6/14 shooting and a perfect 4/4 from the free throw line. He also dragged in 6 rebounds and played the role of helper in dishing out 4 assists. Azovmash will hope that having their leading scorer back will assist in climbing back up the standings after dropping their previous 3 games. They are currently sitting in 5th position with a 5-4 record.
Aleks Maric and Lokomotiv Kuban took on Polish team PGE Turow in the VTB United League and came away with a 73-65 win. The imposing center contributed 10 points on an efficient 5/8 from the field while pulling down 5 rebounds (3 offensive) in 19 minutes of court time. Lokomotiv Kuban improved to 3rd in Group A with a 6-3 record.
In Las Palmas the 5th placed Gran Canaria and Brad Newley took on 6th ranked Zaragoza in a tight back and forth tussle, with Newley’s club eventually pulling off a 3-point win 58-55, and in turn move into 4th place in the Spanish ACB. In just 14 minutes of action off the bench, Newley provided 9 points of instant offence in a low scoring affair. Newley and Gran Canaria next hosted 5th placed Joventut with the game going down to the wire. In a thrilling end to the game, it was Newley who flew above all else to tip-jam a missed shot as the regulation clock expired to put the game into overtime! Thanks to Newley’s heroics, Gran Canaria eventually pulled away in the extra period to earn a satisfying 89-82 victory. The Australian had a massive game, putting up 17 points on 8/12 shooting along with 4 rebounds and 3 assists. You can relive Newley’s late game heroics below:
Former Sydney King Anatoly Kolesnikov (Bose) and his club BC Astana took on BC Kapshagay in the Kazakhstan Division 1 for back-to-back games. It was the Australian’s team that earned the victory in both contests, earning a comfortable 104-72 win in the first game. Kolesnikov was the star player for BC Astana, dropping 18 points on 7/8 shooting including 1/1 from behind the arc and 3/4 from the charity stripe. He also pulled in 2 rebounds and grabbed 1 steal in the runaway victory. It was a similar result for Kolesnikov’s team the following night when they once again hosted BC Kapshagay, winning 90-58. Kolesnikov was well held this time, only putting up 5 points on 2/2 shooting whilst grabbing 5 rebounds.
Brock Motum and Virtus Bologna played host to Sidigas during the week with the young Aussie star’s side going down 74-78 in a close affair. The big Aussie however had a very good game, shooting a red-hot 3/4 from behind the 3-point line and a pair of free throws for 11 points. The 207cm forward showed his versatility for a big man with his outstanding shooting display.
Former Melbourne Tigers swingman Daniel Dillon and his Romanian outfit Oradea were on the road at Rovinari Targu-Jui. Dillon played 32 minutes going off for 15 points on an efficient 6/8 shooting alongside 2 rebounds and 5 assists.
As an early Christmas present, our player of the week goes to Brad Newley. Not only for his big game tying play but also his 17 points on a hot 8/12 shooting. Honorable mention goes to Daniel Kickert for his big game returning from injury. Kickert is also averaging an outstanding 19.7 points per game and shooting 52.4% on the season. Who was your pick for player of the week?
Wishing you all a safe and happy Christmas!