Nobody does it better when it comes to running a team, and now Nick Calathes has the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague first triple-double in 12 years to prove it!
On a night when Panathinaikos OPAP Athens needed to win to be sure of reaching the playoffs, team captain Calathes went beyond the call of duty in leading his team to a resounding 87-67 victory over Buducnost VOLI Podgorica.
In almost 37 minutes on the floor, Calathes amassed 11 points, 18 assists and 12 rebounds to join the great Nikola Vujcic as the only EuroLeague players this century to post triple-doubles. The milestone was reached on his 10th rebound, a tip-in attempt on the offensive glass, with 6:13 left in the fourth quarter.
Vujcic did it twice while playing for Maccabi; with 11 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists against Arka Gdynia on November 3, 2005; and then a little more than a year later against Union Olimpija with 27 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists on November 30, 2006.
"Obviously, it's an honor to be next to that guy, to be even considered, for the legend he is as a player and what he accomplished," Calathes said after the game. "I know I got close a lot in the last couple of years. It feels good to get it, but it feels better to be in the playoffs."
Calathes had 11 assists, 7 points and 4 rebounds at halftime, and soon started piling up more numbers after the break. His assists kept climbing until he threatened that all-time single-game record. His 18 assists in the end fell just short of the 19 that Stefan Jovic dished for Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade on November 12, 2015.
Calathes had previously held third place with 16, which set a playoffs record last season against Real Madrid, behind another Zvezda player, Marcus Williams, who had 17 assists on November 21. 2014. But he does not lack for assists marks.
Last week, Calathes beat his own single-season record of 249 total assists, set a year ago, a record which now stands at 268 and climbing as he and Panathinaikos head forward to a best-of-five playoffs rematch against Real Madrid starting the week after next.