When the crucial month of April began, Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv had lost five of its previous eight games, all coinciding with an injury to one of the team's signature centers. Today, after winning every game it had to win this month, Maccabi is returning to the Final Four, thanks in great part to the emergence of an exciting talent, forward Alex Tyus, Euroleague Basketball's choice as bwin MVP for April. Despite coming off the bench and playing out of position, Tyus gave Maccabi the same stabilizing inside presence that teams usually rely on experienced veterans to provide. Tyus seized his new role by the horns and didn't stop battling until Maccabi had become the only team to overcome a home-court disadvantage in the playoffs. Between the last two Top 16 games to start the month and Maccabi's 3-1 playoff series win over EA7 Emporio Armani Milan, Tyus posted four of the best six performances in his two-year Euroleague career. He did so in spectacular fashion, too, blasting dunk after dunk and swatting shot after shot as the playoffs leader in both two-point shooting and blocks. It all added up to exactly what Maccabi needed to climb the Final Four mountain for the first time since 2011, making Alex Tyus earning a very deserving bwin MVP for April.
The bwin MVP of the Month honor is now in its 10th season. Although statistics and performance index ratings are taken into consideration for the award, they alone do not determine who is honored. The winner is named by Euroleague Basketball based on his and his team's performance. The award for April was based on the last two Top 16 games and the four playoff series played during the month. Euroleague Basketball partner bwin is the sponsor of the MVP of the Month award. Just as the best Euroleague player each month combines performance and leadership for success, so does bwin's sponsorship communicate its conviction to be the best betting brand in European basketball.
Maccabi started April on the road with its playoff position was under threat by host FC Bayern Munich in the next-to-last Top 16 game. It took everything Maccabi had to escape with a 92-94 victory as Tyus played near to perfection. He led both teams in rebounds (9) and blocks (2) while making 6 of 7 two-pointers on the way to 14 points and an individual performance index rating (PIR) of 26, Maccabi's best that night. After a home loss to CSKA to finish the Top 16, Maccabi opened the playoffs on the road against Milan and staged one of the biggest comebacks in Euroleague history to win in overtime. Tyus contributed 8 points and 3 blocks, none bigger than his swat into the stands of a shot by Keith Langford, the Euroleague's top scorer, with under 10 seconds left in the fourth quarter. When Tyus then detonated a spectacular one-handed alley-oop dunk early in overtime, Maccabi was on its way to turning the series around. Maccabi lost Game 2 in Milan despite Tyus's 16 points on 6-for-6 two-point shooting, but came back to Tel Aviv knowing that two home wins would clinch the series. In Game 4, Tyus made 6 of 7 two-pointers for 14 points, pulled 8 rebounds and blocked 2 shots for a team-high 21 PIR as Maccabi won easily. And in Game 4, he led the team in scoring (16 points), rebounds (9) and blocks (2), with his 8 points early in the final quarter turning the game around and sending Maccabi to a 20-point victory and a spot in the Final Four!
After playing less than 150 minutes total during the first four months of this season, Tyus has become so important to Maccabi that he topped that figure in April alone. In the playoffs, he was downright dominant, averaging the most blocks (2) and two-point shots made (6), the second-most offensive rebounds (2.75), the third-highest PIR (18.25) and two-point accuracy (75%), the sixth-most points (13.5) and eighth-most total rebounds (5.5) among all Euroleague players. His great work at both ends of the floor was just what the doctor ordered for Maccabi, and for that reason, Alex Tyus will receive his bwin April MVP award at the Final Four.