In the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague roll call, we take a look at five players that had a big impact on their respective games for Round 26.
Roll call, Round 26: Finding a way to stand out
Roddy Buckets was efficient in his minutes
He may have played just 14:51 minutes, but that was still enough time for Rodrigue Beaubois to reach 20 points in Anadolu Efes Istanbul’s 105-91 win against Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv. In the final minutes of the contest, the veteran guard netted 6 of Efes’s last 10 points to make sure there was no way for Maccabi to turn things around late on. “Roddy Buckets” also finished with a team-high +17 in the +/- column for Efes, showing that good things tend to happen when he is on the floor.
Mirotic showed he’s getting back to his best
Nikola Mirotic missed 12 games due to injury before returning Round 24, but his Round 26 performance in an 81-76 victory against Real Madrid was his best game yet since stepping back on the floor. Milan boss Ettore Messina had been easing Mirotic back in, playing him just over 15 minutes per night in Rounds 24 and 25, with the 2021-22 EuroLeague MVP recording 11 and 6 points, respectively, in a couple of losses. However, with Real coming to town, Mirotic’s minutes jumped to 25:59 and he netted 23 points on impressive shooting numbers, going 1-of-2 on twos, 6-of-7 from three and 3-of-3 on free throws. Those 6 triples made is a new career high for Mirotic, who will now be looking to build on his display in Round 26 in the coming weeks.
Peters was active on the boards
Olympiacos Piraeus can always lean on Alec Peters to contribute in the battle of the boards, yet Round 26 saw the 28-year-old have a career-best night in that regard by bringing down 11 rebounds in a 65-78 win at Valencia Basket. In fact, the only other time that Peters had grabbed a double-digit number of boards came in Round 1 this season – and on that occasion he had to rely on an overtime period to reach 10. This time, he got the job done in just three quarters. With Nikola Milutinov still out injured and Moustapha Fall in his first game back, Peters helping out with rebounds is a big plus for head coach Georgios Bartzokas.
Birutis kept rolling
Zalgiris Kaunas kept its good run going by edging Crvena Zvezda Meridianbet Belgrade 91-93 in the Serbian capital. Laurynas Birutis was rock-solid once again, getting 12 points on 5-of-7 two-pointers and 2-of-2 free throws. He added 4 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 blocks for a PIR of 14. It is no coincidence that Zalgiris has been playing better since Birutis stepped up to become the team's go-to guy in the frontcourt. In Zalgiris’s current three-game winning streak, Birutis is averaging 14.0 points on 18-of-24 two-pointers (66.7% 2FG), 4.3 rebounds, 1.7 blocks and a PIR of 17.7. His ability to change shots on defense and finish strong around the rim has allowed Zalgiris to stay in the play-in race.
First double-double for Yago Dos Santos
Friday night's game did not have a happy ending for Crvena Zvezda, but it does not take away from the fact that Yago Dos Santos had the best game of his young career. In the absence of Milos Teodosic, Yago had his first double-double with 21 points and 14 assists. He was on 10 points and 9 assists in the first half, then reached a double-double on the opening possession of the third quarter. The first-year playmaker was 5-of-8 on two-pointers and 2-of-5 from downtown, keeping his team close throughout the night, but Zvezda ended up falling just short to Zalgiris at the end.