Play-Offs Week 1 standout performances
MIES (Switzerland) - No matter how excited you were for the start of the 2020-21 Basketball Champions League Play-Offs, you were not excited enough!
The new-look BCL Play-Offs kicked off this week with a seven-game slate and fans were treated to a host of spectacular performances across Europe.
We have picked five players who not only delivered such a stellar display but also propelled their respective team to a winning start in the postseason, in ERA Nymburk's Retin Obasohan, Nick Johnson of Türk Telekom, Amath M'Baye of Pinar Karsiyaka, Jonathan Barreiro of Casademont Zaragoza and Jasiel Rivero of Hereda San Pablo Burgos.
Obasohan doesn't dwell on the past
ERA Nymburk point guard Retin Obasohan must have a lot of useful advice for those who can't move forward and spend countless hours dwelling on their ex.
When the Belgian international's former team, Brose Bamberg, came to Nymburk on Tuesday night riding a perfect 6-game winning streak, he poured in 18 points in the first half to stop the German side in their tracks and steer his new team to a 91-87 victory.
Obasohan finished with 21 points to tie his BCL season-high and added 6 assists, 4 rebounds and 3 steals, for an efficiency rating of 23. The Belgian guard has become the first player this season to register three games of 20 or more points and 5 or more assists.
Nick will fix it
There are plenty of reasons why Turk Telekom wanted to bring back Nick Johnson and his fifth BCL game since he returned to the Ankara club, on Tuesday, showcased one of the most important: the 28-year-old American guard steps up whenever the team needs him.
Turk Telekom had to face SIG Strasbourg without star forward Sam Dekker but Johnson picked up the slack and didn't allow the French visitors to seize the opportunity to get a road win.
Johnson finished with a BCL season-high 21 points on 4 of 5 shooting from behind the three-point arc and added 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 block, for an efficiency rating of 25, as Turk Telekom secured an 83-76 win in the Group K premiere.
M’Baye picks up where he left off
Back on January 27th, Amath M’Baye scored a BCL career-high 23 points on the final day of the Regular Season to help Pinar Karsiyaka defeat RETAbet Bilbao and punch their ticket to the Play-Offs.
On Wednesday, the French international started off the postseason as if not a day had passed since that performance and he set a new BCL career record, of 25 points, on 10 of 14 shooting from the floor.
M’Baye added 2 assists and 1 steal to lead Karsiyaka to a 78-70 win over Tofas Bursa in the Turkish derby that raised the curtain on Group i action. This is the first time in the French forward's BCL career that he had back-to-back games scoring 20 or more points.
Sharp-shooting Barreiro sets three personal records
🎯 @JBarreiro10 igualó anoche el récord de triples sin fallo de la @BasketballCL— Casademont Zaragoza (@CasademontZGZ) March 3, 2021
🏀 2⃣6⃣ puntos
✅ 2/3 tiros de dos
✅ 6/6 triples
✅ 4/5 tiros libres
👐🏻 2⃣ robos
📈 2⃣5⃣ de valoración#DSSCZA | #Road2Final8 #BasketballCL | #MásUnidosQueNunca🦁 pic.twitter.com/8blYcQtRmX
Casademont Zaragoza's Jonathan Barreiro must have waited for a big stage to set a triple personal best in the BCL, and beating Dinamo Sassari on the road in the premiere of the Play-Offs certainly meets the criteria.
Fresh off his excellent performances with Spain in the February window of the FIBA EuroBasket 2022 Qualifiers, the 24-year-old forward drilled on Tuesday a career-high six three-pointers, without a single miss, and scored a BCL career-high 26 points.
Barreiro, who had made a combined 5 three-pointers in his previous 12 games in the competition, registered an efficiency rating of 25, which is also a new BCL career-high, to pace Zaragoza to a 95-83 victory at Sassari.
Rivero double-double rescues champions
Even championship-winning teams can find themselves in difficult times but what separates them from other teams is how they react when they get tested - and Jasiel Rivero is the kind of player who ensures the champions get back up even when they get knocked down.
Very little seemed to work correctly for reigning BCL champions Hereda San Pablo Burgos when they received VEF Riga on Tuesday in the Group J opener, and the Spanish team trailed by as many as 10 points.
The Cuban big man however came up with big plays in the fourth frame for Burgos to force overtime, and then lifted them to a 76-75 overtime win. Rivero finished with a double-double of 25 points and 11 rebounds and tied his BCL season-high efficiency rating of 29.