Regular Season Round 2: Unforgettable drama
After the spectacular start to the Turkish Airlines Euroleague season, the action continued with most of the opening round's travelling teams heading back home to play in front of their fans for the first time in the new era of European basketball. The results were amazing, as seven of the eight games were decided in the final minute!
In the Round 2 opener, Olympiacos Pireuas defeated Anadolu Efes Istanbul 90-66 to register its first EuroLeague win of the season. Led by Georgios Printezis and Vassilis Spanoulis, the hosts opened a 38-19 margin midway through the second quarter. Cedi Osman carried Efes back and the visitors came within 46-40 in the second half, but Olympiacos pulled away once again and raced away to big victory in the fourth quarter. Spanoulis, who became the second player in competition to score 3,000 points early in the game, finished with 17 points and 9 assists, and Printezis with 15 points and 6 rebounds in victory. Osman scored a career-high 22 points and pulled down 6 rebounds in defeat.
Rallying from 12 points down in the second half, Brose Bamberg edged Unics Kazan 89-86 on Thursday night. Unics led for the majority of the night, and paced by Keith Langford and Coty Clarke opened a double-digit margin in the third quarter. The visitors had a 51-63 late in the third quarter, but Janis Strelnieks, Nikos Zisis and Darius Miller rallied the hosts. The Bamberg trio scored 17 consecutive Bamberg points in the fourth quarter to put their team in front and as the game went down to the wire, Bamberg made enough free throws to preserve the slim lead. Zisis had 16 points and 12 assists to lead Bamaberg, while Strelnieks netted 17 points. Langford scored 24, and Clarke had 20 in defeat.
In a classic showdown between Turkish Airlines EuroLeague powerhouses, Real Madrid bested Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv 82-89 at Menora Mivtachim Arena on Thursday. Madrid has a 2-0 record after win in a game in which it led 33-46 at halftime, but Maccabi went on a 16-0 run to open the third quarter and take the lead. However, Rudy Fernandez helped Madrid quickly regain control before Sergio Llull and Jaycee Carroll got Madrid to a double-digit margin which the visitors preserved in the end. Carroll led the winners with 18 points on 5-of-8 three-point shooting, Fernandez added 16 points and Llull totaled 14 points and 11 assists for Madrid. Victor Rudd led Maccabi with 18 points.
In the Game of the Week on Thursday, EA7 Emporio Armani Milan went on the road to hold off Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul 80-81 and score its second win in as many games this season. Milan led for most of the night, and had a 66-73 edge on Milan Macvan's three-pointer with five minutes to go, but Adrien Moerman and Brad Wanamaker fueled a 10-0 run that put the hosts in front. However, a triple from Mantas Kalnietis gave Milan the lead for good, as the visitors made enough free throws in the final seconds to seal the victory. Macvan had 19 points, 6 rebounds and 3 stelas to pace Milan, and Kalnietis scored 11 points on 3-for-3 shooting from long range. Moerman scored 20, and Wanamaker had 16 points for the hosts.
Defending champion CSKA Moscow bested Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens 81-77 on Friday at Megasport Arena in the Russian capital. CSKA dominated early, but Panathinaikos, playing under an interim head coach, came back to take the lead in the third quarter. The Greens led by 5 with six minutes left when James Augustine took charge on defense and CSKA went on an 11-0 run to take control en route to a second-straight win. Andrey Vorontsevich starred with 20 points on 5-of-6 three-point shooting for the winners and EuroLeague MVP Nando De Colo also scored 20.
Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade was inspired by Marko Simonovic to claim its first victory of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague season with a thrilling 83-85 road triumph at Galatasaray Odeabank Istanbul on Friday. Simonovic came into the action from the bench with his team trailing heavily after a fast start from Galatasaray. The veteran immediately pulled his team back into the game on the way to a EuroLeague career-best total of 23 points. Stefan Jovic also excelled with 14 points and 9 assists. Galatasaray had outstanding individual displays from Austin Daye, who had 24 points and 8 rebounds, and Alex Tyus, who combined 19 points with 4 blocked shots.
Leo Westermann scored a career-high 20 points to carry Zalgiris Kaunas over Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz 78-73 on Friday at Zalgirio Arena. The visitors took charge early, but Zalgiris used a dominant offensive rebounding effort to make up for its offensive shortcomings and stay in the game. Then everyhting clicked behind Westermann in the second half to snag the win. Adam Hanga paced Baskonia with 18 points and Andrea Bargnani scored 17 points and blocked 3 shots before fouling out.
Fenerbahce Istanbul edged FC Barcelona Lassa 72-73 in a thriller at Palau Blaugrana. Guards Kostas Sloukas and Bobby Dixon scored 15 points apiece to pace the winners. Tyrese Rice led the way for Barcelona with 19 points and 6 assists. Fenerbahce leaned on fantastic three-point shooting (11 of 21, 52.4%), which helped overcome Barcelona’s 31-25 rebounding edge. Fenerbahce led by as many as 9 before Barcelona battled back late and had a chance to win it, but Rice missed.