Play-Offs Week 2 standout performances
MIES (Switzerland) - It is mid-March and we're in the second week of the Play-Offs, so the majority of players has reached the stage of the season where they hit peak form and we're witnessing several great performances in every game.
That makes picking a team of the week harder than ever, but we have selected five players who were representative of the great displays we saw this week - either because of their statline or through their intangible contribution.
Darius Thompson of Happy Casa Brindisi, Jerrick Harding of ERA Nymburk, Edin Atic of Igokea, Jonas Maciulis of AEK and Isaiah Miles of Hapoel Unet-Credit Holon are the standout performers of Week 2 in the 2020-21 BCL Play-Offs.
Darius puts on D'Angelo's superhero outfit
When Happy Casa Brindisi played host to Pinar Karsiyaka on Tuesday they had one very clear and straightforward mission statement, to avoid sliding to 0-2 in the standings, despite the fact they had to continue the battle without their injured leading scorer, D'Angelo Harrison.
Darius Thompson not only understood the mission, but he took it upon himself to execute it. The 25-year-old guard, who is in his second season with Sassari, came up with a BCL career-high 23 points and 33 efficiency rating (his previous personal bests were 22 and 32, respectively).
Brindisi snatched an 83-79 win over Karsiyaka and thanks to Thomspon stepping up in this way they can be optimistic about their chances in the Play-Offs. Thompson is averaging almost identical figures with last season in scoring and efficiency, but he is now averaging 5.8 assists per game compared to 3.5 assists per game in the 2019-20 campaign.
Harding schools defenders
⌚ If you've broken Damian Lillard's records at @WeberStateMBB, that means you're good. @JHarding_10 had 28PTS in 25MIN to inspire a comeback W by @BasketNymburk! #BasketballCL #road2Final8 pic.twitter.com/UVHmjkmhry— Basketball Champions League (@BasketballCL) March 10, 2021
ERA Nymburk's Jerrick Harding is a recent college graduate but on Tuesday night he was the one giving lessons to Dinamo Sassari's defense, as he relived his glory days at Weber State.
The 22-year-old guard, who left the Wildcats as the program's all-time leading scorer, delivered his second-best scoring display since turning pro in the summer. Harding poured in a BCL career-high 28 points on 10 of 15 shooting from the floor and registered an efficiency rating of 20, which is also a personal best in the competition.
Thanks to Harding's decision to showcase the scoring prowess that earned him a reputation in college, Nymburk came back from a 14-point deficit and were able to claim a 90-89 win over Sassari. The Czech champions are now 2-0 in Group L, tied with Casademont for first place.
Atic career night leads Igokea to first road success
There is a reason why Igokea are the only team in this year's Play-Offs to have started their campaign from the Qualification Round: they keep improving as the season progresses, so they are always prepared to meet the challenge when the bar is raised.
Edin Atic is the very embodiment of this constant evolution, as he seems to be getting better by the week. On Tuesday, the 24-year-old swingman helped his team reach yet another milestone in the BCL and propelled Igokea to their first ever win on the road in the competition, 91-75 at VEF Riga.
The Bosnia and Herzegovina international collected a BCL career-high 23 points on 4 of 7 three-point shooting and added 7 rebounds and 3 assists to register an efficiency rating of 26, his new personal best in the competition.
Maciulis has been there, done that and printed the t-shirt
"My suggestion to those who comment on our defense and on us having 35-year-old and 40-year-old players is to come to a practice session, and try to score on those so-called old guys," AEK head coach Ilias Papatheodorou said after his team held Turk Telekom to a season-low 65 points on Wednesday night to start off the Play-Offs with a win.
Jonas Maciulis is definitely one of those players the Greek coach was referring to, because he turned 36 years old in February but he remains an immovable rock in the post and the brilliant help-side defender he was back at the peak of his career.
The captain of the Lithuanian national team has amassed a vast collection of medals and personal accolades but on Wednesday night he demonstrated that his basketball IQ remains as sharp as ever, as he posted 15 points, 3 rebounds, 1 steal and an efficiency rating of 15 and he personified the AEK veteran attitude that led them to a 74-65 win over a much younger Turk Telekom side.
Miles makes smallball look easy
It is a very, very tough task to beat Tofas Bursa on their own court, but you can be forgiven for not realizing that after watching on Tuesday the way Isaiah Miles and his Hapoel Unet-Credit Holon teammates made it look almost effortless, as they forced the Turkish side to play out of their comfort zone and picked up a 93-81 win.
The 27-year-old forward fits Holon's five-out basketball like a glove, as he guards the opposing team's center and holds his ground in the paint on the defensive end, but then stretches the floor on the offensive end as he rarely sets a foot inside the arc.
Miles scored 16 points on 3 of 6 three-point shooting (he is averaging 60 percent from downtown for the season) and added 9 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 block for a BCL career-high efficiency rating of 25, and Holon are now standing atop the Group I standings, on a 2-0 record.