Nikos Pappas delivered a spectacular performance for Panathinaikos Athens on Monday night, earning himself the bwin MVP award for Game 3 of the playoffs and – more importantly – keeping his team’s Final Four dreams alive. Pappas set four personal Euroleague career highs: 25 points, 5 three-pointers made, 4 steals and a performance index rating of 31 – the best in Game 3 of the playoffs – as the Greens defeated CSKA Moscow 86-85. He also tied career highs with 4 assists and 8 fouls drawn. His point total matched the third-highest in the club’s long playoff history of the Greens, a history that was prolonged as Pappas assured with the biggest night of his Euroleague career that Panathinaikos will play Game 4. The second-highest performance index of Game 3 was achieved by power forward Brian Randle of outgoing champion Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv. Randle tallied 19 points and 10 rebounds for an index rating of 27 in 74-75 overtime loss at the hands of Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul. Center Nenad Krstic of Anadolu Efes Istanbul was next on the list of Game 3 stars. He only missed 2 shots en route to 17 points and 7 rebounds for an index rating of 26. Rounding out Game 3’s best were CSKA Moscow swingman Sonny Weems and Panathinaikos point guard Dimitris Diamantidis. Weems posted 24 points on 5-of-6 three-point shooting for a 24 index rating. Diamantidis scored a 22 index rating after scoring 15 points and dishing 7 assists.
Individual leaders: Dario Saric of Anadolu Efes, 15 rebounds
Pappas was also the top scorer in Game 3 with 25 points and the leader in steals with 4. His average of 18 points per game is second in the playoffs to Maccabi guard Jeremy Pargo (20.7 ppg.). Brian Randle is the playoffs’ assists leader with 3 per game. Efes forward Dario Saric not only led all Game 3 participants with 15 rebounds, but came within a single rebound of the Euroleague Playoffs single-game record. Saric is averaging 9.7 rebounds per game in the playoffs, which is second only to Nemanja Bjelica (11 rpg.) of Fenerbahce. CSKA Moscow’s Milos Teodosic, who is the Euroleague’s 2014-15 leading assist man with 7.3 assists per game, dished 9 assists to lead all Game 3 participants. Four players – Jan Vesely of Fenerbahce, Sasha Kaun and Andrey Vorontsevich of CSKA and Bryant Dunston of Olympiacos Piraeus – tied for Game 3’s high with 2 blocks each. Dunston is tied with CSKA forward Andrei Kirilenko for the Playoffs lead with 1.3 blocks per game. Maccabi’s Brian Randle recorded the only double-double of Playoffs Game 3.