The 7DAYS EuroCup Quarterfinals are a short blitz of games in which outstanding play by a player can easily make the difference between heading home and heading to the semifinals. One of the players who stood out the most in lifting his team through a tough series to reach the round of four teams for the first time was AS Monaco big man Mathias Lessort, who is Euroleague Basketball’s choice as this season’s Quarterfinals MVP. Lessort powered Monaco’s comeback 2-1 series win over Buducnost VOLI Podgorica. His average performance index rating of 24.0 PIR was the highest among players on quarterfinals-winning teams and he was the only quarterfinalist to top 20 PIR in every game in helping Monaco set up a semifinals clash with Herbalife Gran Canaria.
The Quarterfinals MVP award was introduced for the 2017-18 season. Dmitry Kulagin of Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar won the award in that first season and Peyton Siva of ALBA Berlin was chosen in 2018-19. The quarterfinals were not played last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This season, Virtus Segafredo Bologna guard Milos Teodosic was chosen as the 7DAYS EuroCup Regular Season MVP and his Virtus teammate Vince Hunter was the Top 16 MVP.
Lessort improved his numbers in almost every major category in the quarterfinals to average 18.7 points on 60% field-goal shooting, 7.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.3 blocks. He was tied for the quarterfinals lead in blocks and offensive rebounds (4.0 orpg.) tied for third in both scoring and rebounding. Lessort was third overall in PIR, too. For the season Lessort has been worth 12.8 points on 63.2% two-point shooting, 6.2 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.9 steals and 0.9 blocks for an average PIR of 18.1.
In Game 1 of the quarters, Lessort posted 13 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks. He also drew 8 fouls and sank 7 of 8 free throws, however, that game may be best remembered by Lessort for its final play in which he missed what would have been the game-winning basket from close range in a 76-77 loss. Lessort more than made up for that with 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting and 9 rebounds to lead Monaco to a 64-74 Game 2 victory. In the win-or-go-home Game 3, Lessort took charge with a career-high 24 points on 7-of-10 shooting, 7 rebounds – including 6 on the offensive end – and 3 steals to spearhead a 90-87 triumph. He made a club record 10 free throws and Lessort’s layup-plus-foul in the penultimate minute sent Buducnost star Willie Reed to the bench with 5 fouls and helped Monaco preserve the win.
This is Lessort’s second EuroCup campaign. In his first, he was named to the 2018-19 All-EuroCup Second Team after helping Unicaja Malaga to the quarterfinals. A native of Martinique, a French island in the Caribbean Sea, Lessort began his career in the youth system at ES Chalon-sur-Saone and made his professional debut with the club when he was 19. He also played for Nanterre 92 in France as well as for Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade of Serbia and FC Bayern Munich of Germany, appearing in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague with each of the latter two. Lessort’s trophy case includes a French Cup won with Nanterre in 2017, a Serbian League crown won in 2018 with Zvezda and a 2019 Basketball World Cup bronze medal with the French national team.