By Aris Barkas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Too many games, too many thrills, too many maiden wins for newcomers. The 3rd week of Euroleague’s regular season was more than great, but Fenerbahce/ Ulker and Real Madrid are the greatest of them all. In the two last Friday games, Real Madrid toyed for the third straight Euroleague game with its opponent and this time it was an ambitious club like EA7 Milano which was beaten almost by 20 points (93-74), while Panathinaikos found the way to survive in overtime and beat (90-86) Crvena Zvezda in Belgrade. The Spaniards are the only unbeaten team (3-0) in Group B, the Greeks with a 2-1 record have at this point the top spot in Group D and the tie break advantage over Laboral Kutxa (2-1) and Lokomotiv Kuban (2-1). In Group C defending champions Olympiacos is also the only perfect team left (3-0) and in Group A the top dog and also only unbeaten team left is Fenerbahce/ Ulker (3-0), followed by CSKA Moscow (2-1) and Barcelona (1-2).
Brose Baskets prevailed over previously unbeaten Anadolu Efes (88-86) and got their first win for the season in Euroleague thanks to a buzzer beater, made by Jacobsen. That was the biggest play in a game signed by the American leader of the German champs with 23 points on 7/10 three point shots. He also had 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal with no turnovers in 27 minutes of action.
- Lukasz Koszarek: In 35 minutes he had 15 points, two big three pointers, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 turnovers in the first ever win of Zielona Gora in Euroleague with Siena being the victim (73-65).
- Nikos Pappas: Pocius was great (23 p., 7/9 threes) in the easy win (88-64) of Zalgiris over Strasbourg, but Pappas with 24 points was the player who changed the game and essentially saved Panathinaikos, leading the Greens from a 15 points deficit to the overtime 90-86 win in Belgrade.
- Casey Jacobsen: A more than worthy MVP, the heard and soul of Brose Baskets.
- Nikola Mirotic: Laboral Kutxa’s Nocioni was here (20 p., 9 r., 2 s., 2 bl., 1 as.), but then came mr Perfect. Mirotic had 19 points without missing any shot and also 6 rebounds, as Real Madrid embarrassed EA7 Milano with a 93-74 win.
- Darius Lavrinovic: Budivelnik got also its first ever win in Euroleague (74-69 over Partizan) and the Lithuanian center had a big game with 22 points and 8 rebounds.
The best losing performance: Blake Schilb
There were many candidates for this space, but the American swingman of Crvena Zvzezda had 19 points and pushed Panathinaikos to the limits, sending the game in overtime with a three point shot.
Biggest win: Fenerbahce/ Ulker
After beating Barcelona, Fenerbahce left not even the slightest doubt that this season in Istanbul they mean business by destroying CSKA Moscow (86-60). As Ettore Messina admitted after the game: “It was the worst loss in the team’s recent history”. And it was also a triumph for Zeljko Obradovic and his new team. Just after the first month of the season, Fenerbahce is not a contender just on paper, but one of the most exciting Euroleague teams to keep an eye on. You may have noticed that no Fener player made our best five – even if Preldzic had a good chance – and that’s the scariest part about them, they are already a unit.
The upset: Nanterre
It was the first ever win of the French champions in Euroleague and they got it on the road against perennial powerhouse Barcelona (71-67). It was a close game, Juan Carlos Navarro missed the three pointer – and made just 2 points in the game – which could have been a buzzer beater for the win and the “smallest” club of the league made history.
The barnburner: Olympiacos – Panathinaikos.
The champions prevailed over Bayern Munich in a thriller decided in the last seconds. Malcolm Delaney had the chance to tie the game with a three point shot and probably send it in overtime, but Kostas Sloukas blocked his shot, the Greeks got the 88-83 win after two free throws by Printezis and Bayern proved that it can’t be underestimated by anyone. The situation in Belgrade was quite simular, but Panathinaikos survived in overtime and beat Crvena Zvezda by four points (90-86), despite trailing until the last two minutes of regulation.
The underachiever: CSKA Moscow
Do you need an explanation? We expect better and here are some questions about the current situation on Ettore Messina’s team.
Τhe disappointment: Siena
Crvena Zvezda and Strasbourg also have a 0-3 record, but the Italian champions not only are still searching their first win, but also became the first ever victim of Zielona Gora in Euroleague. It remains to be seen if they can react and if there is a player in their roster who can do what Bobby Brown did last season when the team also had a 0-3 start.
The last word: Maccabi Tel Aviv
Let’s be honest. Very few people expected an easy win of Maccabi on the road against Lokomotiv Kuban, but the difference in experience between the two teams and the big game of Joe Ingles made all the difference in the final 73-58. However, that’s not the point and here comes the funny part of the story. Do you remember the “war” between the two teams about signing Yogev Ohayon which ended with the player staying in Tel Aviv? In this game the Israeli guard played just 3 minutes and scored just 3 points. Not the best of his nights…