January MVP: Henry Domercant (vid)

For Domercant, who turned 31 before the Top 16 started, this is his sixth Euroleague season with his fourth different team.

His teams have made the playoffs in four of his previous five seasons. So far in this one, Domercant is ranked fifth among all Euroleague players in scoring (16.8 ppg.) and second in three-point shooting accuracy (53.1 %) with more threes made (34) than any other player.

Furthermore, his 4.4 rebounds per game is not only on pace for a career high, but more than any other guard to reach the Top 16. And his 7.5 fouls drawn per game is also No. 2 in the Euroleague.

With Domercant firing on all cylinders, more specials nights figure to be in the making for Unics Kazan, whose fans can enjoy watching one of their stars receive his award at an upcoming home game.

The first game of the Top 16 took place in Kazan, but things did not go the hosts’ way early.

After a 0-15 Fenerbahce Ulker second-quarter run, the Turkish champs led 21-38 and Domercant had just 1 point to his name. Then, the shooting guard netted two free-throws to end his team’s lengthy scoring drought and help narrow the gap to 14 at the halftime break.

Unics started to make its way back in the third quarter, though Domercant’s role was limited to 2 points, 2 assists and 1 steal. Then, he took over the fourth quarter. A Domercant triple gave Unics its first lead since the games early minutes, 58-56.

After FB Ulker tied the game, Domercant buried triples on Unics’s next two possessions. When the dust cleared, he had single-handily outscored FB Ulker 11-6 in the first 7 minutes of the fourth quarter and put Unics on the path to victory. He finished the night with 16 points, 3 assists, 2 steals and a career-high 2 blocks as Unics snatched a 76-71 win.

The next week, Unics travelled to Greece to visit the defending champs, Panathinaikos. Domercant knew what to expect from the hostile OAKA crowd from his playing days at the Greens’ biggest rival, Olympiacos. On this night, he went to work early. With Unics down by 7 points after 4 minutes, Domercant came through with 8 points before the first quarter ended, to prevent the game from getting ugly.

In the second quarter, after his teammates narrowed the gap, Domercant went to work against one of the game’s premier defenders, six-time Euroleague Best Defender Dimitris Diamantidis. His fade-away jumper over Panathinaikos’s star guard put Unics ahead 35-36.

After Panathinaikos answered, Domercant put Kazan ahead once more. The game was still close late in the third quarter when Domercant went to work again with a layup and a dish to Aleksey Savrasenko that made it 56-63 at the end of the quarter. His triple to start the fourth made it a 10-point game and Domercant polished off the win with free throws down the stretch.

His final tally in Athens was 21 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists as his team stunned the champs 83-89. It marked the first time in eight years that any team visiting Athens had scored so many points and won against Panathinaikos. 

by www.euroleague.net

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