Play-Offs Week 5 standout performances
MIES (Switzerland) - Week 5 of the Basketball Champions League Play-Offs was as action-packed as they come, featuring 11 games over three days, and it was well worth it as it gave us no less than five more participants to the Final 8.
The level of play was so high that even players on teams that dropped out of the race could have made it among the star five of Week 5, were it not for the fact that we had a host of head-turning individual displays on teams that achieved their goal this week.
Brandon Jefferson of SIG Strasbourg, C.J. Harris of Hapoel Unet-Credit Holon, Lukas Palyza of ERA Nymburk, Tyler Cavanaugh of Lenovo Tenerife and Kyle Wiltjer of Turk Telekom are the standout performers of Week 5 in the 2020-21 BCL Play-Offs. Here's a closer look at their exploits in this week's games:
Strasbourg win by presidential decree
Entering the final week of the Play-Offs with chances to advance to the Final 8 despite starting off with three losses in as many games in the group seemed unlikely, but SIG Strasbourg have achieved just that, thanks in great part to Brandon Jefferson spurring them on to an improbable feat on Wednesday.
The French team traveled to the previously unbeaten in the Play-Offs Nizhny Novgorod and fell behind by 15 points but the Strasbourg point guard decided, with a gravitas akin to somebody who shares his surname with the third President of the US, that a comeback was possible.
Jefferson drilled four triples in quick succession in the third quarter for Strasbourg to tie the game at 63-63, gain the momentum, and ultimately ride out 97-87 winners. He led all scorers with 24 points on 8 of 15 shooting, 2 steals, 1 assist and 1 rebound for an efficiency rating of 19.
Harris leads Holon's ensemble cast
😎 There's a reason why he was #1 in the MVP Race! @cjharris11 goes north of 20 for the 5th time this season, carrying @HapoelHolonBC all the way to the #BasketballCL Final 8! pic.twitter.com/TQECbCir4Y— Basketball Champions League (@BasketballCL) April 1, 2021
Hapoel Unet-Credit Holon needed overtime on Wednesday to bend the resistance of Happy Casa Brindisi and clinch an 81-79 win that earned them their maiden trip to the Final 8, and they pulled if off thanks to their team play, as they have been doing all season long.
Even an ensemble cast needs a lead actor though and C.J. Harris stepped into that role once again for the Israeli team down the stretch, as he had 10 points and 1 assist in the final period of regulation.
The Holon guard finished with a game-high 24 points and 5 assists, 3 rebounds and 2 steals. Harris has now scored 20 or more points in three of his last four BCL games, and has hit at least three triples in each of the last three contests.
Palyza grabs the chance to shine
If the premise of every superhero film is that an unassuming character can discover phenomenal powers and save the day, well then Lukas Palyza starred in his very own superhero film on Tuesday night - by coming off the bench and turning into Klay Thompson for a quarter.
ERA Nymburk trailed Brose Bamberg by 18 points and, with Retin Obasohan out of the game and Vojtech Hruban only playing for six minutes, even their most optimistic fan must have doubted a comeback was on the cards.
Palyza however (almost literally) caught fire in the final stanza and poured in 19 of his BCL career-high 26 points in the period to inspire Nymbrurk's phenomenal 91-80 win.
The Czech international went 6 for 11 from downtown and added 2 assists and 2 rebounds as Nymburk became the first team this season to score 35 points in a single quarter in a road game.
Cavanaugh is Tenerife's fourth musketeer
The likes of Giorgi Shermadini, Marcelinho Huertas and Sasu Salin are in the spotlight in almost every single Lenovo Tenerife game in both the BCL and the Spanish Liga Endesa, and sometimes that star trio can make us forget just how much depth the yellow-blacks' roster has this season.
Wednesday was not one of those times, however, as Tenerife traveled to VEF Riga and Tyler Cavanaugh made sure to remind us that he has earned the role of fourth musketeer on the islanders' team since joining them this off-season.
In the absence of Shermadini, the 27-year-old power forward came up with a BCL season-high 18 points on 7 of 12 shooting from the field, and added 5 rebounds and 2 assists for an efficiency rating of 20, paving the way for Tenerife's 77-64 win in Riga.
Wiltjer knows how to make an entrance
Turk Telekom were playing host to AEK in a do-or-die clash on Wednesday and the Turkish team's main offensive weapon, Kyle Wiltjer, seemed out of sorts during the opening quarter having just two missed shots to show for his efforts.
The Canadian international was simply biding his time though and once he arrived, fashionably late, he got the Ankara show under way. Wiltjer stepped up in the second frame to give his team the lead once and for all and he seemed unstoppable on every trip down the floor from then on.
The Turk Telekom power forward finished with 24 points on 8 of 12 shooting, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steal as he registered an efficiency rating of 28 to lead his team to a 78-66 win, that sets up a deciding clash with Strasbourg on the final day.