Game Center, Round 1: Returning teams rise at home
Round 1 is in the books with ALBA Berlin and LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne celebrating their Turkish Airlines EuroLeague returns with resounding home wins. Meanwhile, defending champ CSKA Moscow led a trio of road warriors that included KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz and FC Barcelona. Khimki Moscow Region and Panathinaikos OPAP Athens, Real Madrid and FC Bayern Munich all aced their openers at home. Devin Booker of Khimki had the honor of authoring the first basket of the season as one of several old faces in new places impacted Round 1.
Khimki Moscow Region 89-83 Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv
Khimki held off a late Maccabi rally to secure a season-opening 89-83 victory at Arena Mytishchi on Thursday evening. The hosts saw a 17-point third-quarter lead whittled down to 4 in the final minute before snatching the win. Alexey Shved led the way for Khimki with 22 points and 6 assists and Anthony Gill scored 18 points. Tarik Black paced Maccabi with 17 points.
Panathinaikos OPAP Athens 87-82 Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade
Panathinaikos overcame a slow start to defeat Crvena Zvezda 87-82 at OAKA on Thursday. The visiting team was ahead for the entire first quarter, but Panathinaikos soon hit its stride and produced a high-scoring third quarter to take the lead for good, establishing a big enough margin to withstand a fourth-quarter fightback from Zvezda. Nick Calathes led the Greens by pairing 21 points with 7 assists and DeShaun Thomas posted 18 points and 11 rebounds. Zvezda debutant James Gist led all scorers against his former team, registering 22 points and 7 rebounds.
FC Bayern Munich 78-64 AX Armani Exchange Milan
Bayern got its season off to a positive start by holding off Milan 78-64 in both teams' season opener on Thursday night. Milan was within 63-60 midway through the fourth quarter, but the hosts stepped it up another notch on defense and led by Nihad Dedovic and Vladimir Lucic pulled away to register their first win. Lucic led Bayern with 18 points while Dedovic finished with 16 points. Luis Scola paced Milan with 17 points and 6 rebounds.
Real Madrid 81-77 Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul
In a battle of giants, Real Madrid defeated Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul 81-77 in the Spanish capital on Thursday. Jeffery Taylor led the winners with 19 points and only 1 missed shot. and Facu Campazzo added 14 points plus 8 assists. Nando De Colo led Fenerbahce with 22 points. It was a back-and-forth battle; An 11-0 run helped Real to a 64-55 margin at the end of the third quarter. A jumper by Kostas Sloukas tied the game, 73-73, but Taylor made the difference down the stretch.
Kalgiris Kaunas 58-70KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz
KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz opened the season with a prestigious 58-70 road win over Zalgiris Kaunas 58-70 in front of a sellout crowd of 15,151 fans on Friday. It was Baskonia's third consecutive win in Kaunas. Shavon Shields led the way with 19 points. Toko Shengelia added 13 while Matt Janning and Luca Vildoza each had 10 for Baskonia. Lukas Lekavicius and Marius Grigonis paced Zalgiris with 10 points apiece. Baskonia was up 46-55 after 30 minutes, and though Zalgiris managed to get within 55-59 in the fourth, Baskonia kept its composure through strong defense for a well-deserved win.
Anadolu Efes Istanbul 64-74 FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona stepped strong into the new season with a 64-74 road win over last season's runner-up, Anadolu Efes Istanbul, on Friday. The victory avenged Barcelona's loss in Game 5 of the playoffs at the Sinan Erdem Dome last spring, which sent Efes to the Final Four. Nikola Mirotic celebrated his Turkish Airlines EuroLeague return with 24 points for Barcelona, hitting 4 of 8 shots from downtown. Malcolm Delaney added 11 points and Brandon Davies 10. Efes got 16 points from Alec Peters. Efes led early but 6 points in a row by Mirotic gave Barcelona the lead for good. Efes trimmed a 16-point difference after halftime to 46-49 at the end of three quarters, but Delaney, Ante Tomic and Pierre Oriola used a 0-7 run to open the fourth quarter and put the game away.
ALBA Berlin 85-65 Zenit St. Petersburg
ALBA Berlin celebrated its first EuroLeague game in five years with a resounding 85-65 win over Zenit St. Petersburg at home in Mercedes-Benz Arena Berlin on Friday. The Russian side was playing its first EuroLeague game ever. Landry Nnoko led ALBA with 16 points and 5 rebounds in an energetic display. Marcus Eriksson scored 15 points, while rookie Tyler Cavanaugh had 11 and Niels Giffey 10. The visitors were helped by Will Thomas's 14-point , 8-rebound effort. Tim Abromaitis had 12 points.
LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne 82-63 Olympiacos Piraeus
LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne made a triumphant return to the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague with a resounding 82-63 win over the visiting Olympiacos Piraeus on Friday. ASVEL took the lead for good in the second quarter, opened the double-digit advantage in the third, and never allowed the Reds to come closer than 7 points the rest of the way. David Lighty and Jordan Taylor paced the winners with 16 points apiece. Tonye Jekiri collected 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Livio Jean-Charles had 10 points for ASVEL. Georgios Printezis scored 15 for the visitors, Kevin Punter netted 11 while Nikola Milutinov finished with 10 points plus 10 rebounds.
Valencia Basket 71-96 CSKA Moscow
The reigning EuroLeague champion, CSKA Moscow, started its title defense in style on Friday by thrashing Valencia Basket 71-96 on the road. It was a battle of continental champions, as Valencia had lifted the 7DAYS EuroCup trophy last season. Darrun Hilliard led the winners with 22 points. Mike James added 20, while Andrey Vorontsevich had 13 and Will Clyburn 12. Mike Tobey led Valencia with 14 points. James and Vorontsevich shined early while Hilliard and Ron Baker helped CSKA claim a 39-50 halftime margin. Hilliard and James took over as CSKA boosted its margin to 54-76 at the end of the third quarter and never looked back.