With AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan in must-win mode, playing against a direct rival in the playoffs chase, Mike James stepped up once again when needed the most, inspiring Milan’s vital 66-57 victory over Olympiacos Piraeus and earning MVP of the Round honors in the process. James scored 18 of his 27 points in the second half, shooting an identical 4-for-9 for two-pointers and three-pointers on the night. James also dished 6 assists, claimed 6 rebounds and had 2 steals while drawing 6 fouls. His performance index rating of 31 is his fifth of 30 or more this season, earning him the second weekly MVP award of his career. The second-highest PIR, 30, belongs to Kostas Sloukas of Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul who had 22 points on 5-for-5 three point shooting, along with matching his career-high 11 assists in an 88-82 win over FC Barcelona Lassa. Next on the list of the best performers this round is Olympiacos center Nikola Milutinov, who had 13 points plus 9 rebounds for an index rating of 25. Real Madrid’s Fabien Causeur had a PIR of 24 in his team’s 75-100 road win over Khimki Moscow Region, netting 22 points along with 4 rebounds and 2 assists. Rounding out the list of top performers are Marius Grigonis of Zalgiris Kaunas, Ioannis Papapetrou of Panathinaikos OPAP Athens, and Madrid’s Walter Tavares who each accumulated an index rating of 22 in Round 26.
Individual leaders: Vincent Poirier, KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz, 13 rebounds
James was this round’s top scorer with 27 points, improving his league-leading scoring average to 20.0 points per game. Vincent Poirier of Baskonia set his career-high with 13 rebounds, which is the most of any player in Round 26. Milutinov remains EuroLeague’s top rebounder with 8.0 per game. Sloukas led the way this round with 11 assists. His countryman, Nick Calathes of Panathinaikos, remains on top of the assists charts with 8.4 on average. Norris Cole of Buducnost VOLI Podgorica had 4 steals, more than any other player in Round 26. Toney Douglas of Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul leads the steals chart for the season, averaging 1.8 per night. Buducnost big man Goga Bitadze led all the shot-blockers this week with 3 blocks. Tavares remains EuroLeague leader in blocks with 1.7 on average. Kostas Sloukas, with 22 points and 11 assists, had the lone double-double of this round.