Regular Season Round 2: A week to remember!
It was a week to remember in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague with both remarkable and historic results. Three games were decided in the closing seconds, while three others saw the Euroleague come to town for the first time and in yet another, a former champion celebrated its first Euroleague home game since the turn of the century. For the second consecutive week, home teams ruled the action in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague, winning eight of 12 games. But in the end, it will be the late-game heroics of Valdas Vasylius, Sergio Llull and Kostas Vasileiadis, with the latter beating the buzzer, and the home debuts that make this another memorable Euroleague week.
All three games in Group A were played on Friday. Sergio Llull hit a game-winning jumper with 1.2 seconds to go, and Real Madrid pulled out a thrilling 75-76 road victory at Unics Kazan. Keith Langford scored 23 points to keep Unics ahead in the fourth quarter, but Madrid rallied in the final three minutes behind Gustavo Ayon, who had 10 points, and won it on Llull's jumper. Zalgiris Kaunas overwhelmed Nizhny Novgorod 97-63 in its home opener. The hosts led 48-24 at halftime, extended their margin to 75-40 late in the third quarter and never looked back. Paulius Jankunas led six Zalgiris scorers in double digits with 13 points. Anadolu Efes Istanbul held off Dinamo Banco di Sardegna Sassari 75-82 for an important road win, raising its record to 2-0, good for a first-place tie with Madrid, The hosts, looking for their first ever Euroleague win, closed within 56-57 late in the third quarter, but Efes never relinquished its lead. Veteran center Nenad Krstic led in victory with 15 points, while Matt Janning and Stephane Lasme added 14 points each, the latter with a team-high 7 rebounds, too.
Kostas Vasileiadis hit a three-pointer with the buzzer, to lift Unicaja Malaga over ALBA Berlin 87-84 on Friday. The teams traded leads throughout the contest, and the visitors led 82-84 in the final minute, but Jayson Granger drove for a layup, and Vasileiadis nailed a game-winner, improving Unicaja to 2-0. Ryan Toolson had 13 plus 8 assists in victory. Also on Friday, in the club’s first Euroleague home game since 1998, Limoges CSP downed Cedevita Zagreb 71-60. The crowd, decked in yellow celebrating Limoges’ home opener, saw its team lead from start to finish. A 14-0 early run that put Limoges in control, and the hosts protected its cushion throughout the game. Nobel Boungou-Colo paced the winners with 17 points. Revenge for a late loss in last season's semifinals was sweet on Thursday as CSKA Moscow blew out visiting champions Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv 99-80 to stay undefeated. The expected showdown turned into a runaway as CSKA could do no wrong in a 32-13 third quarter and protected big leads the rest of the way. Andrey Vorontsevich was the catalyst early for CSKA and finished with a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds, leading CSKA's devastating 45-25 advantage on the boards. Sonny Weems led all scorers with 18 points.
In the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Game of the Week, FC Bayern Munich outlasted Panathinaikos Athens 81-75 in the first ever official game ever between the two teams on Thursday at Audi Dome. The hosts took charge in the fourth quarter, and Dusko Savanovic hit 5 three-pointers, including a pair in the final 2 minutes, to lift Bayern to victory. Savanovic finished with 20 points on 5-of-7 three-point shooting, Djedovic followed with 14 points while Esteban Batista led the Greens with 18 points plus 7 rebounds. Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul downed PGE Turow Zgorzelec 76-91 in Lubin, Poland, improving to 2-0 behind Andrew Goudelock’s 27 points. Fenerbahce opened the game with 0-13 run, and never relinquished the lead. A three-pointer by Damian Kulig brought Turow within 73-78 with three minutes left, but Goudelock and Jan Vesely stepped up in crunch time for Fenerbahce victory. Kulig had 23 points with 8 rebounds for the hosts. FC Barcelona took care of EA7 Emporio Armani Milan 63-78 on the road to remain unbeaten. Behind Alex Abrines outside and Tibor Pleiss inside, Barcelona opened an 18-point lead in the second quarter and never looked back. Abrines netted 5 of 5 triples for 21 points and Pleiss scored 16 without missing a single shot, and grabbed 6 boards.
Thursday was a day to remember in basketball-crazy Lithuania. Valdas Vasylius banked in a shot with 3.2 seconds left as Neptunas Klaipeda edged Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade 83-81 for its first-ever Turkish Airlines Euroleague victory. Neptunas took a double digit lead with an outside shooting clinic in the first half, but Zvezda rallied to come back and set up the dramatic finish. Deividas Gailius netted 14 of his 19 points in the first half, and also grabbed 7 rebounds for the winners. Galatasaray Liv Hospital Istanbul held on late to beat Valencia Basket 71-64 after leading by as many as 28 points in the first half on Thursday at Abdi Ipekci Arena. The hosts took over with a 23-2 tear that bridged the first and second quarters en route to a lead that peaked at 45-17, but the second half was a different story. Luke Harangody hit a few key baskets and eventually drew the visitors within 5 with a minute and a half remaining. However Galatasaray managed to hang on. Carlos Arroyo led Galatasaray with 16 points and 5 assists. On Friday, Olympiacos Piraeus beat Laboral Kutxa Vitoria 63-57 at the Peace and Friendship Stadium to improve to 2-0. Matt Lojeski led a balanced attack for the Reds with 15 points and 4 steals. It was a 1-point game in the closing minutes, but Bryant Dunston came up big at both ends to help preserve the victory.
Follow all the action as it happens live on the Euroleague's official twitter account, @Euroleague, on LiveBasketball.tv, on many other television networks around the world and, of course, right here on Euroleague.net!