The Catalonians dropped Messina’s troops by 21 points on CSKA’a home court 81-60, cutting the number of undefeated Euroleague teams from four to three. (Zalgiris and Maccabi are the other two.)
Sonny Weems came into the game averaging nearly 20 points per game yet finished with four, and Nenad Krstic’s 10 PIR (Player Index Rating) was the third lowest in his 27 Euroleague games since returning to Moscow.
Juan Carlos Navarro led Barcelona with 21 points on 8-of-16 shooting. It’s only the second time Navarro has gotten up 16 shots in an EL game since leaving the Memphis Grizzlies after the 2007-08 season (a February 2012 win in Kaunas was the only other such instance).
Not only has La Bomba made the All-Eurolegue team four times since returning (thrice first, once second), but he picked up MVP honors in 2009 and became the Euroleague’s all-time leading scorer last season. Imagine Kobe or LeBron going two games without watching shot No. 17 soar into the air.
You can’t even get a Wesley Matthews, a Marcus Thornton, a Dion Waiters to go more than two weeks without piling up a FGA in the high teens. This isn’t me riding high on my Eurohorse, complete with Italian leather saddle, declaring that the NBA is entertainment, not basketball like some Euroleague diehards mights.
No. The NBA and Euroleague are very different yet both are decidedly basketball and therefore perfect. It’s simply a marvel to me how two continents can approach the same game with such varying definitions of execution.
Yet even the scoring king Navarro has to give a tip of the beard to Bobby Brown of Montepaschi Siena, who made it his prerogative to pick up the Euroleague’s MVP honors for a second straight game. The 28-year-old guard out of Cal State-Fullerton needed just 12 shots for his 27 points and threw in seven assists as his Italians went into Poland and whooped Asseco Prokom 101-66.
Through 60 Euroleague games this season, Siena is the only team to crack a hundred. And after three losses to open the campaign, Montepaschi has now won two straight thanks to Brown’s two-game MVP run, which stacks up like so: 61 points (4-of-6 on twos, 10-of-17 on threes, 23-of-28 from the line), 12 assists, one rebound, one steal.
The man Brown was brought in to replace, Bo McCalebb, had a bum ankle and a bad evening against Cantu this Thursday, and fans of Bo’s Fenerbahce Ulker squad have started grumbling.