Anadolu Efes Istanbul came into a tough arena against the hottest team in the competition needing a victory to reach the playoff zone. And Derrick Brown stepped up once again with a monster game. Brown spearheaded the Efes attack in its 72-86 victory over Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade with a double-double to earn MVP honors for Round 21 of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season. Brown totaled 20 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals for a performance index rating of 33, which was the highest of any player in the round. This is the second time this season and third in his career that Brown has claimed MVP of the round honors. With two of Olympiacos Piraeus’s top scorers injured, the Reds were going to need someone to step to get a win on the road Thursday. That someone was Erick Green, who poured in a season-high 25 points in a 75-90 road win at Unics Kazan. Green made 7 of 8 two-point shots, 3 of 5 three-pointers and converted both of his free throw tries in compiling a career-high performance index rating of 31, which was the second-highest for the round. Teenage sensation Luka Doncic was the star for Real Madrid as it moved into first place with a 71-79 victory at Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz. Doncic amassed 16 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists for an index rating of 30. Brad Wanamaker was the tragic hero in Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul’s 89-87 loss at EA7 Emporio Armani Milan. The point guard posted a performance index rating of 29 after collecting 20 points and 6 assists in a game where his team blew a 25-point lead. Wanamaker made 9 of 11 free throws, but the first miss proved costly as it cost his team a chance to tie the game late and his second miss was of the intentional variety in the closing seconds in a desperate attempt to tie the score. Rounding out the list of Round 21’s best performers were Janis Strelnieks of Brose Bamberg and Georgios Printezis of Olympiacos, each with 28. Strelnieks had a perfect shooting night – 5 of 5 on two-pointers, 5 of 5 on threes – for 25 points in a 90-75 victory over Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv. Printezis posted 20 points and drew 8 fouls at Kazan.
Individual leaders: Thomas Heurtel of Anadolu Efes Istanbul, 15 assists
Three players tied for the weekly scoring honor with 25 points each. Green and Strelnieks were joined by Former Alphonso Ford Trophy winner Keith Langford of Unics, who remains the league’s top scorer for the season with 22.4 points per game. Baskonia big man Johannes Voigtmann collected 13 rebounds to top all Round 21 players and remains in the fifth place for the season with 7.3 per game. Zvezda center Ognjen Kuzmic continues to lead the league with 8.0 rebounds per game. Efes playmaker Thomas Heurtel not only led the weekly standings, but his 15 assists were tied the most of any player this season. Heurtel is ranked seventh with 5.7 assists per game; Injured CSKA playmaker Milos Teodosic leads all players with 7.6 assists per game this season. Four players – Pavel Antipov and Vadim Panim of Unics Kazan, Kenny Gabriel of Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens and Efes’s Tyler Honeycutt – share the lead for Round 21 with 3 steals each. Charles Jenkins of Crvena Zvezda leads the league with 2.0 steals per game. All-EuroLeague big man Anthony Randolph of Madrid blocked 3 shots to top the charts for the round. Ekpe Udoh of Fenerbahce owns the league’s best average with 2.1 blocks per game. Four players collected double-doubles in Round 21: Brown, Heurtel (12 points, 15 assists), Udoh (15 points, 11 rebounds) and Voigtmann (10 points, 13 rebounds).