It was a scary sight for Anadolu Efes Istanbul fans when Bryant Dunston wobbled off the court in the third quarter. He caught the elbow of FC Barcelona Lassa big man Chris Singleton in his face as the latter drove to the basket and Dunston went straight down. Play stopped before Dunston eventually got up, but he was unable to set himself before the ensuing play and he was promptly removed from the game to receive treatment.
A game Efes had already led by double figures in the first quarter before Barcelona stormed back in the second was now on the line. With Dunston on the bench, Barcelona went to Ante Tomic on three successive possessions and the center score each time. Fortunately, Efes was able to match Barcelona on offense and after the TV timeout at 4:44 of the quarter, Dunston was able to return to the game.
From that point on, Barcelona did not score in the paint spare a Victor Claver dunk after a steal. Dunston helped lock down the area with the second of his 3 blocks on the night. He also ignited the offense with his first three-pointer of the season – and the third of his career – plus a slam-and-foul that restored a double-digit lead.
It would be nifty if the story ended there, but Barcelona was too proud for that and the visitors rallied to within 5 with 2 minutes left. The game was once again at stake when Singleton leaped to the rim with the intent of making it a one-possession game with 35 seconds left. He was met there by Dunston with another block, this time almost sealing the outcome.
Dunston finished the game with 11 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist and a season-high 3 blocks for a performance index rating of 21. His numbers were great. However, Dunston's toughness to come back after taking a shot to the face and make such an instant impact is the type of silent leadership winning teams desire. His biggest contributions on Wednesday weren't in the stats. They were toughness and leadership.