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EuroLeague Diaries: Nick Calathes registers first double-double with FC Barcelona; Alexey Shved leads injury-riddled CSKA Moscow

Photo: EuroLeague Basketball

FC Barcelona survived a tough matchup vs. AS Monaco Basket, which added another close-fought defeat against a EuroLeague giant. Real Madrid cruised past Panathinaikos thanks to its bigs, while Alexey Shved had his best game with CSKA Moscow.

In other interesting notes of Round 4 of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague, Nick Calathes registered his first double-double with FC Barcelona, while Kostas Sloukas excels to a new role with Olympiacos this year.

Alexey Shved keeps injury riddled CSKA Moscow afloat vs. Crvena Zvezda

CSKA Moscow learned today that Tornike Shengelia will be out for at least two months, as the superstar forward was added to the injury list along with Nikola Milutinov and Marius Grigonis.

Against Crvena Zvezda, CSKA remained afloat thanks to Alexey Shved, who had his best game since he rejoined the Muscovites. The veteran star finished Friday’s contest with 16 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists.

He also had a season-high PIR of 25. This was the first time he scored in double digits as went for nine, nine and eight points against AX Armani Exchange Milan, Anadolu Efes Istanbul and Zenit St. Petersburg, respectively.

Opposing to the first half, CSKA improved its defense in the second to manage its third victory in four games, keeping Zvezda under 20 points in both the third and the fourth quarter.

“The second half, defensively [was crucial]. We managed to play better defense and make some stops that kind of turned things on offense for us,” Will Clyburn said after the contest. “[The coach told us at halftime] we got to play our basketball, we got to play better.”

Kostas Sloukas, the star to come off the bench for Olympiacos

Olympiacos chose to manage Kostas Sloukas different this season, as the veteran guard became something of a game-changer by being the first player to come off the bench for the Reds.

The home side managed to shake off a slow start and return from a first quarter 11-point deficit to win the game vs. Zalgiris. Sloukas was instrumental in changing the pace of the game with his scoring and playmaking ability.

He ended up registering a season-high 17 points along with five rebounds, four assists, and a steal. He finished the contest with an index rating of 19, which was the best in the game.

“Our reaction was really good because Zalgiris came here and played aggressively. We came back after a really bad start for us – they hit big shots. We found our rhythm and played our game. I have the feeling that with our fans we can beat anybody. This is so important,” the Greek guard said after Olympiacos’ win.

At the same time, the ‘Reds’ remained one of the most discipline teams on the defensive end, keeping Zalgiris to a total of 68 points. The Lithuanians were the fourth team in four games to score under 70 against the Greek club this season, as the 79 points that Barcelona managed to score in Round 3 was in OT.

Nick Calathes registers first double-double as FC Barcelona player

Nick Calathes had 41 double-doubles in his EuroLeague career, before the game vs. Monaco. The FC Barcelona guard did not register any of those with the Catalans since he joined them during the summer of 2020.

Calathes finally scored his first double-double with the Blaugrana on Friday night. He had 12 points, 11 rebounds and five assists in FC Barcelona’s OT victory over Monaco.

It’s the 42nd double-double in his EuroLeague career and ranks second all-time in the standings, only trailing Mirsad Turkcan, who managed 50 during his career.

At the top of Calathes’ impressive performance, Brandon Davies had a night to remember against his former team, as the American big registered career-highs in points (27) and offensive rebounds (6) to probably secure the MVP award for Round 4.

“In front of their home fans, they have a very good team and I think they will make the playoffs. They have one of the best players in the EuroLeague in Mike [James].

We didn’t play our best game, but every road win in the EuroLeague is huge, and it was a good comeback from us,” Nick Calathes said after the game.

Real Madrid front-court trio of massive destruction

Real Madrid will try to build any potential success this year on its front line, which could definitely be considered one of the best to ever play in Europe.

The trio of Walter Tavares, Vincent Poirier, Guershon Yabusele run Panathinaikos’ front line out of the building as they combined for 41 of the 88 total points the Whites scored in the game.

They also managed to grab 23 of the total 42 Real Madrid’s rebounds, while they combined for a massive PIR of 60. Individually, Walter Tavares had a commanding performance with 17 points, nine rebounds, two steals and two blocks.

Panathinaikos is maybe Tavares’ favorite opponent, as he holds his career-highs in index rating (36), offensive rebounds (8), total rebounds (16) and minutes (40) against the Greens.

“We are feeling great. I think we have a lot of room to improve. We know from last year and a couple of years ago, that the EuroLeague is super hard to play.

We have to guarantee wins at home, and that is the key for us to go to the Final Four,” Tavares claimed after the Friday’s win.

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