By Johnny Askounis/ [email protected]
Billy Baron was named Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season Round 18 MVP, Euroleague Basketball announced Friday.
Baron, 31, led Zenit Saint Petersburg to the overtime win against his former team Crvena Zvezda mts in his return to Belgrade Thursday. Scoring 25 points behind 9/15 field goals alongside six assists and four rebounds made out a 30 PIR. He trailed Scottie Wilbekin in the list of players with the highest PIR but was the best among players on the win column Wednesday and Thursday, thus getting the first MVP nod in his EuroLeague career.
Five out of the nine Round 18 fixtures initially scheduled to be held in the last week of 2021 have been suspended due to teams being limited under eight available players by COVID-19 cases.
Wilbekin, Tornike Shengelia, and Nikola Mirotic have been named MVP of the Round twice so far this season. Brandon Davies, Will Clyburn, Daryl Macon Jr., Elie Okobo, Chris Jones, Lorenzo Brown, William Howard, Sasha Vezenkov, Mike James, Vasilije Micic, Shane Larkin, and Wade Baldwin IV landed the remaining MVP honors.
Per the press release: “Billy Baron had a big night against his former team to lead Zenit St Petersburg over Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade on Thursday night and in doing so earned MVP of the Round honors for the first time in his career. Baron erupted for 25 points on 5-of-9 three-point shooting and dished 6 assists in a 76-80 victory in the Serbian capital. He also had 4 rebounds, 1 steal and drew 5 fouls in compiling a PIR of 30, which was the highest among all players in winning teams in Round 18. The scoring and PIR totals were both the second-highest of Baron’s EuroLeague career. The highest PIR of the round was Scottie Wilbekin’s 31 for Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv in an 82-76 loss at AS Monaco. Wilbekin scored 31 points and dished 4 assists for the Israeli champs. John Brown III racked up a PIR of 28 in UNICS Kazan’s 75-67 victory over Anadolu Efes Istanbul. Brown shined with 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting and 5 steals. Completing the list of top performers for the round were Bitci Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz teammates Rokas Giedraitis and Steven Enoch with 25 each. Giedraitis scored 20 and Enoch posted a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds in their 94-75 shellacking of FC Barcelona.
Individual highs: John Brown III of UNICS, 5 steals
Wilbekin was Round 18’s top scorer with 31 points. He is now fifth in the league in scoring with 15.2 points per game. Barcelona’s Nikola Mirotic leads the league with 17.9 points per game. Zenit’s Mateusz Ponitka 11 rebounds led all Round 18 players. Panathinaikos OPAP Athens center Georgios Papagiannis is this season’s best rebounder with 8.2 per game. Former Alphonso Ford Top Scorer Trophy winner Mike James dished 13 assists to lead Monaco to victory. He not only led all players in Round 18, but also moved into first place for the season with 6.1 assists per game. Brown tied his club record with 5 steals and increased his league-leading average to 2.7 per game. His average is the highest since Ricky Rubio had 3.2 in the 2006-07 season. The all-time leader in blocked shots, Bryant Dunston of Efes, added 2 to his total to lead the weekly charts. Walter Tavares of Real Madrid is this season’s leader in blocks with 1.9 per game. Three players had double-doubles in Round 18; they were Mike James (12 points, 13 assists), Enoch (13 points, 10 rebounds) and his Baskonia teammate Matt Costello (13 points, 10 rebounds.)”
A great combination between Wilbekin and Derrick Williams for Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv highlighted the Top 10 Plays of Round 18.
Action resumes with Round 19 coming up Thursday through Friday.
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