If there's one player in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague you would choose to give the ball to in the dying seconds with the game on the line, that man would be Vassilis Spanoulis…right? Or maybe it would be Sergio Llull? Perhaps even Nando De Colo? Well, think again, because Mike James deserves to be regarded alongside those superstars of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague in his ability to decide the outcome in money time, as he demonstrated once again on Friday night by sinking a spectacular game-winning triple with 1 second remaining in AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan's breathtaking 81-80 home win over Anadolu Efes Istanbul.
James is making a habit of this sort of thing. In fact, he's now been the hero for Milan two weeks in a row, albeit with his previous triumph coming in very different circumstances as he downed 3 free throws to defeat Khimki Moscow Region at the death in Round 4. But there’s more. Much more.
The Milan combo-guard has now scored the decisive basket in three of the last four EuroLeague games to take place in Milan – with the first of those coming when he was still playing for Panathinaikos, netting a driving jumper at the end of overtime in the final game of last season. And Panathinaikos fans will also recall that James had done the same thing just two weeks previously, netting the winning score against Maccabi FOX in Tel Aviv in Round 28, meaning that he has now scored – and this stat really is quite something – the game-winning basket in the dying seconds of four of his last eight regular season appearances.
This is, of course, great news for a Milan team that was burdened by an unwelcome habit of losing close games last season. With Mike James around, expect a few more of those Ls to turn into Ws…just as they have in the last two weeks.