After four exciting series openers, one man's stellar performance stood above the rest, and in fact, was the best in the playoffs so far this decade! Ricky Hickman of Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv earned the bwin MVP honor for Game 1 with a performance index rating of 36 in his team's unbelievable, come-from-behind, overtime road win against EA7 Emporio Armani Milan, 99-101. Hickman had a near-perfect shooting night, hitting 3-of-3 three-point shots and all of his 9 free throw tries on the way to 26 points. He scored 14 of those points in the game's last 7 minutes; the final 2 minutes of the fourth quarter - when Maccabi erased an 84-72 deficit - and overtime. He added 4 rebounds, a steal, 3 assists and 10 fouls drawn. With the highest index rating of Game 1, Hickman earned the second weekly bwin MVP honor of his career, after having done so in last season's Top 16 Round 3. His 36 PIR was one better than the previous best this decade - Linas Kleiza's 35 for Olympiacos in 2010 - and 2 more than this week's second-best performer, Rudy Fernandez of Real Madrid. Fernandez shined with 20 points on 4-of-6 three-point shooting, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and 8 fouls drawn to lead Real Madrid to an 88-71 Game 1 victory over defending champion Olympiacos Piraeus. Viktor Khryapa checked in at No. 3 with a great performance in CSKA Moscow's 77-74 overtime home win against Panathinaikos Athens. Khryapa had 17 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, a steal and 5 fouls drawn for an index rating of 28. His CSKA teammate Sonny Weems amassed an index ranking of 25 based on 21 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 fouls drawn. Only three players - Terrell McIntyre, Willie Solomon and Nikola Vujcic - had at least 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists in a playoffs game since 2005 - but both Fernandez and Weems managed to do so this week. Rounding out the list of playoffs Game 1's best was Nikola Mirotic of Real Madrid, with an index ranking of 24. MVP VIDEO
Individual highs: Diamantidis, 7 assists, gets closer to all-time record
Hickman had 26 points against Milan, more than anyone in playoffs Game 1, making Maccabi the only Game 1 road winner. Keith Langford of Milan (17.6 ppg.) keeps leading the overall standings. Khryapa and Joey Dorsey of FC Barcelona pulled down 11 rebounds each in their team's respective home wins. It was a season-high mark for Khryapa, while Dorsey tied his personal best in 2013-14. Dorsey leads the competition in rebounds per 40 minutes (15.1). Diamantidis dished 7 assists in Panathinaikos's loss against CSKA. He now has 971 career assists and ranks second in the all-time list, trailing only Theo Papaloukas (977). Diamantidis is also the leading assist-maker this season (6.52 apg.). Mirotic and Jonas Maciulis of Panathinaikos Athens each collected 5 steals in playoffs Game 1. Maciulis now has 41 steals in 2013-14, just one less than season leader Jamon Gordon of Anadolu Efes Istanbul (42). Gani Lawal of Milan and Alex Tyus of Maccabi each had 3 blocks to lead the weekly standings. Bryant Dunston of Olympiacos leads the competition at 1.4 blocks per game.