Seven takeaways from Wednesday: Only four teams remain unbeaten
MIES (Switzerland) - With only two Gamedays gone in the Round of 16, we are down to just four teams with perfect records. Unicaja got there on Tuesday, SIG Strasbourg, Telekom Baskets Bonn and Lenovo Tenerife followed suit on Wednesday.
Here to help you cruise along are our Seven takeaways, with all the news and stats that you may have missed on the day.
#1 In your face, Power Rankings
"LOL how we finish out right 2nd team to Round of 16 and not even Top 10"
That was Marcus Keene's comment on the Power Rankings before the Round of 16 started, where SIG Strasbourg were down in 11th spot. He had a point, Strasbourg were among the first teams to win their group, and now found themselves out of the Top 10, mostly because they finished the Regular Season with a defeat to Falco Vulcano Szombathely, while their three Group I rivals were all on fire to reach the Round of 16.
45 Keene points later, Strasbourg are going to move up in the Power Rankings next week, for sure, because those points led the squad to a 2-0 start. After 23 points against Hapoel Atsmon Holon, Marcus followed it up with 22 points, 7 assists and 6 rebounds to take down JDA Bourgogne Dijon 85-72 on the road in an all-French battle.
He had a lot of help from his teammates, Paul Lacombe mirroring those numbers with 18 points, 7 assists and 6 rebounds, DeAndre Lansdowne playing the best basketball of his career with 18 points, Bodian Massa making his impact felt with 14 points, and Rodions Kurucs had 11 to make this a memorable day for the starters.
The best part about the win? Coach Luca Banchi still knows there's a lot of room for improvement because he only got two (yes, 2) points off the bench on the day.
Imagine where they'll be in the Power Rankings when they get 20+ points from the second unit...
#2 Not the same Dijon without McDuffie
Markis McDuffie was selected to the Team of the Month in January, and he really was the best player on that loaded JDA Bourgogne Dijon team. How do we know that? Because we found out how powerless Dijon are without him.
He was ejected in less than five minutes of action for an unsportsmanlike punch on a SIG Strasbourg player. The referees went to the official review and showed a disqualifying foul immediately, leaving coach Nenad Markovic without his first option for the remaining 35 minutes.
Sure, David Holston had 19 points, Gregor Hrovat, Gavin Ware and Robin Ducote were also in double digits. But without McDuffie's 20+ points and everything else that he brings to the table, JDA Bourgogne Dijon are just not good enough to match up with a 2-0 Strasbourg squad.
#3 Jerusalem are fun
Not just talking about the events on the floor during the game. Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem won the biggest game of the week, with Khadeen Carrington hitting the dagger shot against Hapoel Atsmon Holon, setting the final score at 65-63.
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But after the game, coach Aleksandar Dzikic decided not to talk about his heroics, but rather give praise to the first player who won two MVP of the month awards in the same season.
"Joe (Ragland) was not the MVP of January for nothing. It's super hard to cover him, believe me, it's super hard. You need to send help, so you need to leave another guy open," he said.
That's exactly what happened on the last Holon offense. Jerusalem overreacted on Ragland twice, which led to CJ Harris being wiiiiiiiiide open on the potential game winning shot. The gamble paid off, Harris' shot bounced off the rim and out.
Carrington finished with 16 points off the bench, while Levi Randolph led the way with 21 points. Just like his coach, he decided to talk about other people, not about himself.
Jerusalem are fun. That's all.
#4 Holon offense appears missing
Since Guy Goodes took over in January 2022, Hapoel Atsmon Holon have been all about their offense, feeding off of Joe Ragland's basketball IQ and Marvin Jones' high flying basketball.
For a day, their identity disappeared. Holon scored just 63 points, the fewest for them in a BCL game in nearly two years.
Holon made just eight (yes, 8) two-pointers, a joint-low in the entire BCL this season. Only VEF Riga had such a horrible day inside the arc, back in October, in a game against Limoges CSP.
Big lead evaporated in Strasbourg in double overtime. Wide open three did not fall against Jerusalem. Instead of being 2-0, Holon are 0-2. Somehow.
|2||JDA Bourgogne Dijon||2||1||1||50.0||156||162||-6||78||81||3|
|3||Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem||2||1||1||50.0||142||147||-5||71||73.5||3|
|4||Hapoel Atsmon Holon||2||0||2||0||173||177||-4||86.5||88.5||2|
#5 A guy from Finland
If the season ended today, who would be the Coach of the Year? Ibon Navarro? Luca Banchi? Txus Vidorreta?
Well, Tuomas Iisalo deserves a mention, too. Telekom Baskets Bonn head coach created a monster, a team that: (1) won their seventh straight BCL game; (2) won their seventh straight BCL game, on the road, against last season's runners up; (3) won their seventh straight BCL game, on the road, against last season's runners up, by handing them their biggest BCL defeat in Manresa; (4) all of the above, with MVP contender TJ Shorts scoring just five (yes, 5) points on the night.
Bonn defeated BAXI Manresa 87-69. And this year's Coach of the Year candidate praised last season's Coach of the Year winner afterwards.
"I have tremendous respect for coach (Pedro) Martinez, he is probably the coach I have studied the most during the last five years, out of anyone in the world, he always brings new ideas and is willing to share them, so that even a guy from Finland can learn," Iisalo said.
Just a guy from Finland, living his dream on international stage.
#6 Manresa's home struggle
Remember when BAXI Manresa's home court was a fortress? When no opponent could do anything over there, when those fans were so loud that they just carried the team towards win after win after win?
Those days are over. Manresa lost three of their last four home games in the BCL. They are also just 2-8 at home in the Liga Endesa, the worst mark of the Spanish League.
Something is not right. And they are running out of time at 1-1 and three road games left the rest of the way.
|1||Telekom Baskets Bonn||2||2||0||100||161||137||24||80.5||68.5||4|
#7 Defending champs, literally
Some numbers for you after Lenovo Tenerife defeated Darussafaka Lassa 80-59 on the road:
This was Dacka's first time they scored less than 69 at home in the Basketball Champions League.
This was Dacka's third straight home defeat by 20 or more.
Dacka shot 2-of-21 from beyond the arc.
Dacka had 18 turnovers, 10 of them being Tenerife steals, allowing the champs to get 17 points from turnovers.
We always talk about Tenerife's offense, but that doesn't mean they are a bad defensive team. In fact, for a couple of games, they took the term "defending champs" literally. Two games in, Tenerife allowed a total of 124 points, nine points less than anybody else in the Round of 16.
Offensively, Marcelinho Huertas became the first player in BCL history with 400 assists, he had his 11th game with 10+ assists, also the most in League history, while Sasu Salin climbed up to 175 three-pointers made. Nobody else has more than 150...
With everything clicking, Tenerife picked up their sixth straight win in all competitions. No better test to their true strength than a matchup with Real Madrid over the weekend, followed by a battle with Surne Bilbao next week, and the FIBA Intercontinental Cup from February 10 to 12.
Busy schedule, but that's what happens when you keep winning all over the world.