With his team shorthanded due to injuries and sickness, veteran point guard Marcelinho Huertas stepped up in a major way to lead KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz to an 83-66 blowout of Herbalife Gran Canaria and earned the MVP of the Round 18 honor for his effort. Only once before in his 213 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague games played did Huertas score more than the game-high 24 points he had on Friday, when he hit 5 of 9 two-point shots and 4 of 5 threes. He also dished a game-high 6 assists and collected 3 rebounds for a performance index rating of 29, the highest among players on winning teams this round. His highest PIR in five years gave Huertas his fourth MVP of the Round honor in nine seasons. Mike James of AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan had a PIR 31, the highest of Round 18, but it came in a losing effort against FC Bayern Munich. James netted 29 points to go with 5 assists, 2 rebounds, 2 steals and 9 fouls drawn. His teammate, center Arturas Gudaitis accumulated an index rating 28, third highest of this round, collecting 18 points and 10 rebounds. Two more big men round out the list of top performers in Round 18, as Jan Vesely of Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul and Anthony Randolph of Real Madrid had PIRs of 26. Vesely led Fenerbahce to a 78-61 win against Zalgiris Kaunas with 13 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. Randolph paced Real Madrid to a 94-78 win against Olympiacos Piraeus with 16 points, 8 rebounds and 3 steals.
Individual leaders: Jan Vesely, Fenerbahce, 12 rebounds
James led all scorers in Round 18 with 29 points and boosted his average to 19.8 points, tops in the competition. Jan Vesely was this round’s top rebounder with 12 boards. Nikola Milutinov of Olympiacos remains the league leader with 8.4 per game. Olympiacos playmaker Vassilis Spanoulis was the only player with double-digit assists this round, dishing 11. Nick Calathes of Panathinaikos OPAP Athens remains the best passer overall with 8.1 assists on average. Three players had 4 steals on Friday, the most in this round: Ioannis Papapetrou of Panathinaikos, Luca Vildoza of Baskonia and Toney Douglas of Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul. Calathes is the steals leader overall with 1.7 per contest. Alex Tyus of Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv and Goga Bitadze of Buducnost VOLI Podgorica led all players in Round 18 with 4 blocks apiece. Madrid’s Walter Tavares is the EuroLeague’s leading shot-blocker, averaging 1.8 blocks. Four players registered double-doubles this round: Spanoulis had 12 points and 11 assists, Vesely amassed 13 points and 12 rebounds, Gudaitis collected 18 points plus 10 rebounds, while Ilimane Diop of Baskonia had 13 points and 10 rebounds.