Only one Turkish Airlines Euroleague team came within a basket of a perfect month of November. That team, Real Madrid, had a leader every step of the way, Sergio Llull, who is Euroleague Basketball's choice as MVP of the Month.
Llull, 29, paced Madrid to a 4-1 record as the team's leading scorer in four of five games during November. Those victories were highlighted by a record-breaking 39-point road win over archrival FC Barcelona Lassa in which Llull scored 20 points and dished 7 assists in less than 22 minutes on the court. That victory came just two days after he set his career-high with 30 points, including a tie-breaking basket in the final minute, in a home win against Panathinaikos. Llull also had 23 points to help beat Galatasaray at the start of the month, and 14 plus 7 assists to end it with another home win against Unics Kazan. By the time November was finished, Llull had accumulated averages of 21.4 points and 5.6 assists while hitting 51.2% of his two-pointer, 37.8% on threes and 88.8% at the free throw line during five games. Most important, however, were the four victories throughout which Llull was the floor general who allowed Real Madrid to take sole control of second place in the standings. It was a show of consistent leadership and big-time playmaking from Sergio Llull, the EuroLeague's MVP for November.
The MVP of the Month honor is now in its 13th season. Although statistics and performance index ratings are taken into consideration for the award, they alone do not determine who is honored. The winner is named by Euroleague Basketball based on his and his team's performance. The award for November was based on the five regular season games that all teams played during the month.
At home against Galatasaray to open November, Llull was the dominant force on the court, and needed to be, as Madrid was behind on the scoreboard a lot until his 3 three-pointers in a row supplied a two-point advantage after three quarters that turned into a 90-81 victory. Llull led all scorers with 23 points in that game, matching the second-highest scoring total of his EuroLeague career until then. In a face-off of the last two champions the next week, Madrid lost by a single point on the road, 91-90, to CSKA Moscow, despite Llull's team highs of 21 points and 7 assists. Back home against Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens, a day after his 29th birthday, Llull was in a state of grace that Madrid needed to win another tough game, 87-84. This time, he shattered his career-best scoring night with 30 points and made 5 of Madrid's final 6 points, including a spectacular game-winning rainbow shot over much taller defenders in the final minute. The runaway Llull train's next stop was the homecourt of archrival FC Barcelona Lassa and he needed less than 22 minutes on court there to lead Madrid with 20 points and 7 assists in a 63-102 victory that was the widest winning margin by either team in EuroLeague play against each other. November ended with Madrid back home to stop Unics Kazan 89-75 as Llull had 14 points, 7 assists and spent more time on the court than any Madrid player helping to hold the EuroLeague's top scorer, Keith Langford, to 13 points, his season low.
Llull finished the month sitting third in the full-season rankings for EuroLeague scorers, with 19.4 points on average, and tied for sixth in assists, at 5.8 per game. That scoring pace would exceed his previous best over a full season by more than 6.5 points per game, while his assists average would match his previous best, proving that Llull is getting more out of himself than ever before, and Madrid is the beneficiary as it now sits in second place after an intense first two months of the season. His fans in the Spanish capital will have a chance to show their appreciation when Llull receives his MVP of the Month award at an upcoming home game.