Motum and Bolden finish EuroLeague season in style
People like to say that everybody will remember you not how you entered the room, but how you left it. And the exit from the 2018 EuroLeague season for both Aussies were very solid. Jonah Bolden repaid his coach with an efficient performance, while Brock Motum maintained the fire which helped Anadolu Efes Istanbul to end their difficult losing streak.
The 2018 Turkish Cup winners were deep down at the bottom of the EuroLeague standings, yet they entered the court for the last time this season with one goal – fight for pride. But the challenge wasn’t that easy – Ergin Ataman’s squad faced Baskonia players who were fighting for a better position in the playoffs.
At the beginning of the game in Vitoria, things were not promising, yet Anadolu turned everything around in the second quarter. They reversed a 5 point deficit into a 1 point advantage at the main break. Usually the 'white-and-blues' have lapsed in the third quarter, but this time it wasn’t the case – they won it 27-19 and gained a 9 point lead.
But would they did it without drama on Ataman’s side? With more than 10 thousand fans helping the local team, they would for on a late run. Courtesy of a two-pointer from Marcelinho Huertas, Baskonia edged ahead by 1 with 2:13 left on the clock. However Toney Douglas and Krunoslav Simon were perfect from the free throw line down the stretch, as Anadolu took back the lead by 3 and moments later grabbed a long-waited 81-79 win [video highlights].
Motum had a huge impact for this win. The Boomers forward scored 16 points that including an impressive 3-5 on three-pointers, alongside 1 assist and 1 steal, leaving the court with 12 efficiency points. Only Errick McCollum (21 points) added more scoring to a victory after suffering 8 losses in a row.
Bolden’s season in EuroLeague ended differently, with his Maccabi Tel Aviv side who was so close to reaching the Top 8, experiencing a 5th straight loss. Even though both teams had no chance to get advance, it seemed that Valencia Basket players wanted to finish the season with a smile on their faces more, with the home team dominating on the court in first two quarters that led to a 13 point lead before the half time break.
But after a conversation with the coach at the break, Maccabi started to play much better on defence, restricting their opponents to just 9 points in 10 minutes. However Valencia responded to scored almost 30 in the last quarter, and while Maccabi had 1 more point, it wasn’t enough to get back home with a win, going down 84-87 [video highlights].
Bolden, as usually, started the game, but this time Aussie played much more than in most of the previous games – he had 12 points (5-8 FG), 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals and 16 efficiency points in 29 minutes. Bolden was the second in a scoring list of Maccabi team after two time NBA champion Norris Cole, who scored 22.
After 30 rounds of amazing basketball, 8 teams, which includes Anadolu and Maccabi, will continue their season just national championships and the best 8 will fight for a spot in the Final Four.
EuroLeague Quarterfinal Duels
CSKA Moscow (1) vs Khimki Moscow (8) Panathinaikos Athens (4) vs Real Madrid (5) Olympiacos Pireaus (3) vs Zalgiris Kaunas (6) Fenerbahce Istanbul (2) vs Baskonia Vitoria (7)