With one spectacular play after another, supertalent Nicolas Batum made the first home game of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague season one to remember for the home fans in Nancy as the hosts pulled away to their first victory, 87-73 over Bizkaia Bilbao Basket on Thursday. Batum not only played nearly the entire game and flirted with a triple-double, but took over with 11 points in a 15-0 run in the final three minutes. The final boxscore showed the mercurial small forward to have a Euroleague career high 26 points – including making 11 of 12 free throws – plus 7 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals and 11 fouls drawn. That impressive performance left Batum with a performance index rating of 36, which was the most of any player in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague this week and earned Batum the bwin MVP honor for Week 2 of the regular season. Though Batum’s was the best, it was not the only impressive showing of the week. Olympiacos Piraeus forward Georgios Printezis and KK Zagreb big man Sean May tied for the second-best index ratings of week 2 with 31. Printezis had his best scoring night in two-and-a-half seasons with 21 points on perfect shooting and also recorded 7 rebounds, 1 assists, 1 steal and 1 block in an 81-74 victory over Fenerbahce Ulker. May was Zagreb’s lone bright spot with 23 points and 9 rebounds – both representing personal bests in his second Euroleague season – in a 62-81 loss to defending champion Panathinaikos. Rounding out the list of best Week 2 showings were All-Euroleague Second Team selection Ksistof Lavrinovic of Montepaschi Siena and Anadolu Efes forward Ersan Ilyasova, who each had 27 index ratings. Lavrinovic scored 12 points with just 1 missed shot in addition to 8 rebounds, 2 assists and s steals in just 20 minutes of a 79-57 blowout of Union Olimpija. Ilyasova tallied 21 points and collected 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks, but it wasn’t enough to stave off a 79-80 loss against Belgacom Spirou.
Individual highs: Kosta Perovic, 4 blocked shots
Batum was also the top scorer among all Turkish Airlines Euroleague players in Regular Season Week 2 with 26 points. Batum’s 19.5 points per game average ranks fifth in the league. The top scorer through two games is Henry Domercant of Unics Kazan with an average of 23 points. The foursome of Pero Antic from Olympiacos, teammates Joel Freeland and Luka Zoric of Unicaja and Thabo Sefolosha from Fenerbahce Ulker were the best rebounders of Week 2 with 12 boards apiece. Freeland and Zoric are also tied for fifth in the Euroleague with 8 rebounds per game. The league leader is CSKA Moscow forward Andrei Kirilenko with 9.5 per night. Batum was joined by Euroleague MVP Dimitris Diamantidis and Efes playmaker Vlado Ilievski as the players with the most assists in the week, 8. Batum, with 8 per game and Diamantidis with 7.5 per game are first and second, respectively, in the Euroleague. Nancy center Akin Akingbala and Efes swingman Tarence Kinsey each collected 4 Week 2 steals, which topped the league. Kindey is tied for second in the Euroleague with 3 steals per game behind only Caja Laboral’s Pablo Prigioni (3.5 spg.). Kosta Perovic of FC Regal Barcelona blocked 4 shots to lead all Euroleague players this week. Kirilenko and Zagreb’s Mario Kasun lead the Euroleague with 2.5 blocks per game. Only two players, Freeland (21 points, 12 rebounds) and Sefolosha (17 points, 12 rebounds) amassed Week 2 double doubles.