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Euroleague Basketball's November MVP: Mike Batiste, Panathinaikos
Only two previous teams this decade have won their first six Euroleague regular season games. That is the case now with a third team, Panathinaikos, one of whose top contributors so far, forward Mike Batiste, has been chosen Euroleague Basketball MVP for November. Batiste, 29, has been a force for the Greens since the opening night of the season, when he led a 24-point comeback to a road victory. He continued to dominate throughout five Panathinaikos victories last month, leading the Greens in scoring three times and in rebounding four times. Batiste finished November with the Euroleague's seventh-highest performance index rating average while leading the Greens in scoring, rebounding, blocked shots and two-point shooting percentage. And he does it all in less playing time - under 25 minutes per game - than any of the other top 20 players according to index rating. During home wins last month against Cibona, Lottomatica Roma and Unicaja, then on the road at Union Olimpija and Partizan, Batiste was the go-to guy for Panathinaikos whenever needed. The Greens now own the biggest group lead in the competition, making Mike Batiste a perfect choice for MVP in November.
Euroleague Basketball's MVP of the Month honor enters its third season in 2006-07. Although statistics and performance ratings are taken into consideration for the award, they alone do not determine who is honored. The winner is named by Euroleague Basketball based on his and his team's performance during the previous month. Because no monthly MVP was awarded in October, the first week's worth of opening games were taken into consideration when naming the November honoree.
Batiste had opened his fourth season with Panathinaikos with one of his highest scoring games ever, 25 points, to beat Joventut in comeback fashion at the Euroleague Basketball opening game in late October. He carried that momentum right into November's first game, coming off the bench for a team-high 15 points and 6 rebounds while maing all 6 of his two-point shots in a home victory over Cibona. On the road against Union Olimpija, Batiste had his quietest game of the month, 10 points, but came back home to Athens to register his first double-double, 16 points and 10 rebounds against Lottomatica Roma. His rebounds were double those of any other player in that game. Still at home against Unicaja the next week, Batiste came off the bench in the first quarter and helped build double-digit leads that the Greens guarded the rest of the night. He finished with 9 points and 5 rebounds. And in the last game of November, a road win at Partizan, Batiste posted another double-double, 15 points and 11 rebounds, while making 2 steals and blocking 2 shots. Even though his on-court time is lesser than that of many Euroleague stars, Batiste's consistency while playing the third-most minutes for Panathinaikos last month helps explain why the Greens led at the end of 17 out of the 20 quarters in their November games.
While the team concept at Panathinaikos makes big individual numbers rare, Batiste's efficiency in limited minutes has helped give the Greens a perfect season so far, making him a solid choice for November MVP. Batiste will receive the trophy awarded to the Euroleague's monthly MVP at an upcoming Panathinaikos home game.
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Monday, December 04, 2006
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