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EuroLeague Diaries: Sergio Rodriguez, Kyle Hines milestone night; Nigel Hayes boosts FC Barcelona against Crvena Zvezda

Photo: EuroLeague Basketball

EuroLeague entered its last double-week before the end of the year as Day 1 of Round 15 presented us with several impressive matchups.

In Milan, Sergio Rodriguez has officially become the player with the second-most threes in the competition, while Kyle Hines did the same in the two-pointers category.

Let’s dive in Day 1 of EuroLeague’s Round 15.

Sergio Rodriguez, Kyle Hines makes EuroLeague history

Armani Milan had an easy Tuesday night against Panathinaikos as the Italian club prevailed over the Greek giants by 21 points (75-54).

Although Sergio Rodriguez had an outstanding passing performance with nine assists vs the Greens, what stood out was a three-pointer during the second quarter.

Rodriguez made another mark as he climbed into second place all-time in the competition’s three-point shooting chart with a strike from beyond the arc.

The two-time EuroLeague champion now registers 520 threes, surpassing Vassilis Spanoulis, who had 518 during his illustrious career.

Kyle Hines, similarly, moved into second place in two-point shooting by making 6 of his 7 attempts from inside the arc. The four-time champion now has 1,142 two-pointers, overtaking Ante Tomic (1,137) for second place.

“Me and Chacho [Rodriguez] have been playing together for a long time, we have many games under our belts, we know each other very well. We know December is the time we have to step up our games, our whole entire team has to step up our game and start making a push towards our goals,” Hines said following Milan’s win.

Nigel Hayes completes his best game in FC Barcelona uniform

Nigel Hayes joined FC Barcelona last summer, after spending two seasons with Zalgiris Kaunas. The American forward had his best game for the Catalans against the always tough-to-face Crvena Zvezda.

Hayes finished the game with 14 points, eight rebounds and three assists for a performance index rating of 23. All four numbers represent season-highs and the rebounds tied his career-high.

The versatile forward did most of his damage during the third quarter when he scored 12 points to help build a double-digit lead, which proved crucial later as Zvezda tried to get back in the game in the fourth quarter.

“Coach told me, he gave me some s*** about finally doing a post-game interview in EuroLeague. He said it’s only for good players. I’ll try to be more consistent and hopefully, he’ll be more proud of me,” Hayes said jokingly.

Anthony Randolph returns after a year away for Real Madrid

It had been almost one year since EuroLeague fans had the chance to see power forward Anthony Randolph in the competition. The veteran is in his sixth season with the Liga Endesa powerhouse.

Last season, he suffered a severe injury in a road game against Olympiacos Piraeus in December. The 32-year-old forward had the opportunity to play in a EuroLeague game, as he started Tuesday’s game against ALBA Berlin.

He finished the game with 13 points, with 11 of them coming in the third quarter. He also added four rebounds and a PIR of 11 in over 18 minutes, stepping up in Guerschon Yabusele’s absence.

“I still have a long way to go. It has been a long road to recovery, but thanks to my coaches, the teammates and everybody for supporting me and keeping the faith in me,” Randolph said.

Devin Booker leads Fenerbahce in the last three games

Fenerbahce is on a three-game winning streak after claiming a huge victory over Maccabi Tel-Aviv Tuesday night. Devin Booker was a big factor for the Turks, who improved to 6-9.

Against Maccabi, Booker had a season-high 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting inside the arc and 2-of-4 from downtown plus six rebounds, three steals and three blocks for a PIR of 23.

He also played a huge role during Fener’s last two games, averaging 14.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and a PIR of 16.3. Fener was desperate to get back on track after a four-game losing skid, just before the last three games, and Booker had a big role in his team’s resurgence.

“We fought hard in the end and got the win that we needed. Hopefully, we can keep that momentum going to the second game this week.

It is a big week for us and if we can get that win, hopefully that momentum, we can carry that momentum into the next game. It was definitely well-needed and we got it done,” Booker said.

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