by Devon Jeffreys, November 10, 2011
The Besiktas Milangaz Black Eagles tipped off competition in the EuroChallenge on Wednesday, and with his team facing a lower level opponent, coach Ergin Ataman decided to try a different lineup.
Rather than start his superstar, Ataman brought Deron Wlliams off the bench, and the move worked to perfection. With fresh legs, D-Will dropped 14 points in the second quarter on a gassed ZZ Leiden defense to lead Besiktas to a 44-29 lead at the half. The Black Eagles cruised from there, defeating ZZ Leiden, 86-58, in Amsterdam for their 10th straight win.
After the game, D-Will tweeted in jest that he's gunning for the EuroChallenge "Sixth Man of the Year" award. But Deron continues to be willing to do whatever he can to help Besiktas be successful.
The plan by Ataman appeared as if it might backfire early in the first. ZZ Leiden jumped out to an 11-8 lead before D-Will entered with 5:27 remaining in the first quarter. They pushed their lead as high as five, but by the end of the first, the Eagles had closed to within three again.
The teams battled back and forth early in the second, but once No. 8 got hot, Besiktas quickly pulled away. Deron made his first bucket, — a driving layup — with 6:16 to go in the second to give the Eagles a 28-25 lead. ZZ Leiden cut the lead back down to one, but D-Will responded with back-to-back threes to make it 34-27. He added two more treys at the close of the second quarter to expand the Besiktas lead to 15.
With his team firmly in control and well on its way to a tenth straight victory, D-Will played limited minutes in the second half, adding six more points. He posted two layups in the third and ended with authority in the fourth, slamming down a dunk as Eagles put the game away. Watch below:
Deron finished with 20 points -- his fifth straight contest with at least that many -- and made 8-of-15 shots, including 4-of-6 from deep. D-Will has shined from beyond the arc since arriving in Turkey, and in his last five regular season games (four TBL and one EuroChallenge), he is 17-of-30 (57 percent) from three.
In addition to his scoring, Deron added a team-high seven assists and grabbed four rebounds in the victory.
Thanks to a passionate European fanbase, we're able to bring you several clips of D-Will's game in Amsterdam via YouTube. Check out another one of Deron's threes, some video from shootaround and a nice driving layup. Enjoy!
Besiktas plays its fifth game of the TBL season on Saturday when they head for Mersin, Turkey to take on Mersin Bşb (3-1). Tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m. local time.
The Eagles return to EuroChallenge action next Tuesday when they host Armia at Besiktas Milangaz Arena for an 8:30 p.m. tip-off.