Regular Season, Round 1: 2008-09 season starts with a bang!
The 2008-09 Euroleague Basketball season opened up with 12 games in eight countries over a span of four days this week as teams began to unveil the potential that for one side will result in a Euroleague title. This week’s games had one major theme – homes teams won 10 and only lost two. Also of note, while four games were decided by a total of 13 points, another four games saw the winners cruise to victories by more than 20. It all began on Monday whenTau Ceramica beat Fenerbahce Ulker 80-70 in the traditional Openeing Game in Vitoria, Spain. Will McDonald led the charge with 18 points, 8 rebounds and a career-best 5 blocks. The action continued on Wednesday with four more contests featuring the last two champions in action. Defending champion CSKA Moscow crushed Armani Jeans Milano 90-64 as Final Four MVP Trajan Langdon led five scorers in double figures with 18. The 2007 champion was also in excellent form as Panathinaikos blasted Zalgiris Kaunas 78-51 led by Dimitris Diamantidis’s 15 points. Another teams from last season’s Final Four, Italian champ Montepaschi Siena, was an 80-71 winner over Asseco Prokom. Last season’s stars Terrell McIntyre, Ksistof Lavrinovic and Rimas Kaukenas joined with newcomer Henry Domercant to lead the scoring charge. Also Wednesday, Unicaja beat Le Mans 84-79 behind excellent performances off the bench from Boniface NDong and Jiri Welsch. Seven games on Thursday completed the week’s schedule. After honoring basketball legend Drazen Petrovic before tip-off, Cibona edged Maccabi Electra 81-79 as Davor Kus and Rawle Marshall combined for 43 points. In another nail-biter, Milos Vujanic helped Efes Pilsen hold off Partizan Belgrade 61-60 with 17 points and 4 assists. Ersan Ilyasova shined with a double-double of 18 points and 12 rebounds as Regal FC Barcelona scored a 54-82 road win at Sluc Nancy. At the site that will host the 2009 Euroleague Basketball Final Four, the o2 Arena in Berlin, Germany, Alba Berlin overcame Lottomatica Roma 68-63 as Immanuel McElroy inspired his teammates with 17 points. Pops Mensah-Bonsu dominated the paint in helping DKV Joventut beat Union Olimpija 81-64. Mensah-Bonsu finished with 14 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks. Real Madrid coasted past Panionios On Telecoms 87-66 thanks to strong outings from Quinton Hosley and Felipe Reyes. And in the game that wrapped up the opening week, Josh Childress looked strong in his Euroleague debut as Olympiacos Piraeus defeated Air Avellino 69-83. Childress led five Reds in double figures in points with 14.