The NBA: Turkish Delight

Ersan Ilyasova has stepped up big time for
the Milwaukee Bucks this season.

*All images are from the Associated Press.

"He's having a great year. He's doing a much better job of taking what the game gives him, not forcing it. Ers has always been able to shoot the ball… I don't know where we'd be without him." – Bucks coach Scott Skiles on Ersan Ilyasova, who has emerged as the Bucks' best all-around player.

A few days away from the trade deadline, one name floating around the rumor realm is one Ersan Ilyasova.


You know, the third most popular Turkish player in the NBA after Hedo Turkoglu and Mehmet Okur. The guys who’s averaging career-highs in points, rebounds, 3pt%, FG% and minutes. The guy who burned the Nets for 29 points and 25 rebounds last February 19. The guy who had an all-important put-back as the Bucks beat the Knicks.

Rumor has it, he might be wearing Orlando blue soon.

Right now, however, he’s just enjoying the ride, making the most of Andrew Bogut’s absence and being the Bucks’ number one big guy (Drew Gooden is averaging more points, but Ilyasova has been more of the game-changer). 

The 24-year old 6’10” Turk has averaged 17.1 points and 11.7 rebounds over the last 10 games while shooting around the 40% mark from beyond the arc in the last 10 games. 

All this and the Bucks have him on the tail end of a 7-mil, 3-year contract. Bargain deal if I ever saw one.

That also means Skiles can count on his Turkish Delight to continue playing well, as Ilyasova would surely want a sweeter deal next season, whether he’ll stick with the Bucks, or grab his rebounds elsewhere.

After the JUMP, March 9, 2012 stat-stuffers:

NJN over CHA, 83-74
Kris Humphries had 20 points and 15 rebounds, helping the New Jersey Nets beat the Charlotte Bobcats. Anthony Morrow scored all 17 of his points in the fourth quarter for the Nets, who saw guard Deron Williams exit in the second quarter with a sore right calf. Corey Maggette ended with 19 points and seven rebounds for the Bobcats, who went 1-3 on a four-game homestand. 

PHI over UTA, 104-91
In his third consecutive start for Philadelphia, Evan Turner filled the stat sheet with 16 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists as the 76ers defeated the Utah Jazz. Lou Williams and Thaddeus Young chipped in 21 points apiece off the bench for the 76ers, who have won two straight since losing eight of their prior 10 contests. Paul Millsap had 15 points and nine rebounds while Al Jefferson and Derrick Favors donated 14 points each for Utah, which had won four of its past five games.

BOS over POR, 104-86
Paul Pierce and Ray Allen scored 22 points apiece as a motivated Celtics team bounced back from a humiliating loss to Philadelphia with a rout of the Trail Blazers. Boston fell 103-71 to the 76ers on Wednesday, but led by as many as 43 against Portland, getting 12 points from Avery Bradley and 10 from Sasha Pavlovic. The Celts have won six of their last seven games. LaMarcus Aldridge paced the Trail Blazers, losers in five of six, with 22 points.

DET over ATL, 86-85
Tayshaun Prince scored 17 points and hit the go-ahead shot in the lane with 24.3 seconds left in Detroit's 86-85 victory over Atlanta. Greg Monroe tallied 20 points for the Pistons, who shocked the Lakers in overtime on Tuesday. Josh Smith scored 21 to go with 7 rebounds for the Hawks, who have lost back-to-back contests after winning three in a row. 

LAL over MIN, 105-102
Kobe Bryant made four key free throws in the final 16.4 seconds, lifting the Los Angeles Lakers over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Bryant had 34 points and surpassed 29,000 points for his career for the Lakers, who have won 18 in a row over Minnesota. Andrew Bynum added 26 points and 10 rebounds for Los Angeles, which bounced back from consecutive losses to the lowly Wizards and Pistons. 

CLE over OKC, 96-90
Kyrie Irving didn't have his best shooting night from the floor, but his offense down the stretch helped the Cleveland Cavaliers snap Oklahoma City's 14-game home winning streak. Irving scored five of his nine points in the final three minutes for Cleveland, which used a 12-0 run to put the game away. Irving also added 12 assists, 6 rebounds and 3 steals for the Cavaliers, who outrebounded the Thunder 21-8 on the offensive glass. Kevin Durant scored 23 points to go with 8 rebounds and 8 assists for the Thunder, who had won nine of their last 10 contests coming in.

MIL over NYK, 119-114 
Ersan Ilyasova was one of three Milwaukee players with 20-plus points as his 26 led the Bucks over the Knicks. Brandon Jennings and Mike Dunleavy netted 25 points apiece while Carlos Delfino and Drew Gooden scored 14 and 12, respectively. The Bucks pulled within two games of the Knicks for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Jeremy Lin chipped in a double- double with 20 points and 13 assists, but turned the ball over five times as New York dropped its fourth straight contest.

LAC over SAS, 120-108
Mo Williams connected on 7-of-9 three-point attempts en route to a season-high 33 points as the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Spurs on the road for the first time in a decade. Chris Paul also recorded a season-high 36 points with 11 assists for the Clippers, who had not won in San Antonio since January 31, 2002, snapping a 17-game losing streak. San Antonio suffered a rare home loss, falling to 15-4 as the host this season.

DEN over NOH, 110-97
Arron Afflalo scored 28 points as the Denver Nuggets downed the New Orleans Hornets. Al Harrington added 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Ty Lawson finished with 11 points and 10 assists for the Nuggets, who won for the fifth time in six games. Lance Thomas had 18 points and Jarrett Jack netted 17 for New Orleans, which dropped its fourth straight.

SAC over DAL, 110-97
Marcus Thornton and Tyreke Evans scored 17 points apiece to lead seven Kings players in double figures, as Sacramento ran past Dallas to snap a 10-game skid against the Mavericks. DeMarcus Cousins tallied 15 points, while Isaiah Thomas ended with 14 in Sacramento's second straight victory. Jason Terry had 23 points for the Mavericks, who hadn't lost to the Kings since Jan. 11, 2009.  

Super Scorers (Top scorers of the night!)
Chris Paul (LAC) – 36
Kobe Bryant (LAL) – 34
Mo Williams (LAC) – 33
Arron Afflalo (DEN) – 28
Amar’e Stoudemire (NYK) – 27 

Chris Paul was a scoring blur as the Clips
beat the Spurs in Texas.
Ragin’ Rebounders (Top rebounders of the night!)
Kris Humphries (NJN) – 15
Shelden Williams (NJN), Nikola Pekovic (MIN), & Reggie Evans (LAC) – 13 

Dynamic Dishers (Top playmakers of the night!)
Jeremy Lin (NYK) – 13
Kyrie Irving (CLE) – 12
Chris Paul (LAC) – 11 

Jeremy Lin and the Knicks have nosedived since the
return of Melo and BD.
Terrific Thieves (Top thieves of the night!)
Ivan Johnson (ATL) – 5
Jeremy Lin (NYK), Wesley Johnson (MIN), & Chris Paul (LAC) – 4 

Boomin’ Blockers (Top blockers of the night!)
Serge Ibaka (OKC) – 6
A LOT with 3!!!

Sharpshooters (Top 3-point shooters of the night!)
Mo Williams (LAC) – 7
A LOT with 4!!!

March 9, 2012 First Five
C – Nikola Pekovic (MIN) – 25pts, 13rebs, 2asts, 1stl
F – Amar’e Stoudemire (NYK) – 27pts, 11rebs, 1stl, 1blk
F – Kevin Durant (OKC) – 23pts, 8rebs, 8asts, 3blks
G – Mo Williams (LAC) – 33pts, 7 treys, 2rebs, 2asts, 1stl
G – Chris Paul (LAC) – 36pts, 11asts, 4rebs, 4stls, 3 treys

Nikola Pekovic (R) continues to thrive as
the T-Wolves' number one center.

Honorable Mention:
Arron Afflalo (DEN) – 28pts, 4asts, 4treys, 2rebs, 1stl, 1blk
Brandon Jennings (MIL) – 25pts, 10rebs, 5rebs, 4 treys, 1stl
Andrew Bynum (LAL) – 26pts, 10rebs, 3asts, 1stl, 1blk

Daily Zap:

*Game recaps were compiled and compressed from the Sports Network.

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