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Walter Tavares and Gran Canaria Pull Big Upset

It was a big week for Walter Tavares and Gran Canaria. Both came through in two big victories.

We highlighted last week that 2014 second-round pick Walter Tavares had a big week ahead. Tavares did not put up incredible numbers, but he played a huge role in two big victories for Gran Canaria. On Sunday, Tavares caused huge problems inside for FC Barcelona Regal in a 76-70 upset in Spanish ACB play (see highlights here). Gran Canaria followed the big upset by putting away KK Cedevita 75-72 to advance past the Eightfinal of the Eurocup.

Tavares scored 7 points while playing 25 minutes without a turnover against FC Barcelona, but made most of his impact on the defensive end where he dominated a strong Barcelona front line. He had a 11 rebounds (10 defensive), 4 blocks, and 2 steals. He was less dominant in closing out Cedevita, but managed 6 points, 5 rebounds, and 1 block in 21 minutes of play. His play was partly affected by a game that was more perimeter oriented due to Cedevita needing to overcome a large net deficit for most of the game due to their previous 8-point defeat. In a Hawks-like approach, it also appeared that Gran Canaria tried to give Tavares some rest as they took control of the game:

The win over Barcelona moved Herbalife Gran Canaria into an eighth-place tie with Laboral Kutxa in the Spanish ACB. Gran Canaria will travel to third-place Bilbao Basket this week in another tough matchup as they try to secure a spot in the top eight with nine games left to play. The quarterfinals of the Eurocup will match Tavares up with Turkish League affiliate Pinar Karsiyaka. Former Ohio State forward and Portland second-round selection Jon Diebler was named MVP of the Eightfinals and leads a Pinar Karsikaya that should not challenge Tavares to the same degree as Cedevita. Gran Canaria will play the first game at home and then travel to Turkey on Wednesday, March 25. The team with the most points between both outings will advance to the semifinals.

Update on Lamar Patterson

While Tavares continues to thrive, Lamar Patterson followed one of his worst outings of the year with a miserable game this week. Patterson was 0/6 with a lone free throw and 5 turnovers against one assist in a loss to Turk Telecom. Patterson managed to secure 4 rebounds and a steal, but is now 2 for 15 over his last 2 games. He will look to recover this Saturday against Royal Hali Gaziantep.