By Aris Barkas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
The three favorites in Groups A,B and C delivered one more time and can celebrate their qualification to Top16. Real Madrid dominating once again, Fenerbahce/ Ulker proving that it has already matured as a team and Olympiacos making one more of its trademark come backs got the wins, a 6-0 record and a ticket to the second phase of Euroleague.
On the contrary in Group D everyone can still hope, even Lietuvos Rytas despite its 1-5 record and newcomer Lokomotiv Kuban has the advantage leading with 5-1 wins. We should also note that there is not a longer a team without a win in the league, as Strasbourg in Group B beat Brose Baskets and even if it’s still a long shot can make it to Top16.
He was absent in the first half scoring just 2 points. However he finished the game with 22 points leading his team in a miraculous 26-11 fourth quarter that gave to EA7 Milano the 77-73 win against Anadolu Efes and one win advantage in the race for the second place of Group B behind Real Madrid. Not bad at all.
- Vasilis Spanoulis: Once more he was present when his team needed him most in its usual come back. He had 21 points on 4/6 three pointers in the 82-74 road win at Malaga
- Keith Langford: A true leader when it counted the most…
- Rudy Fernandez: The star of Real Madrid had 16 points, 3 rebounds, 7 assists and just 1 turnover in the 95-67 blow out against Zalgiris Kaunas, as Real continues to dominate
- Vladimir Dragicevic:Zielona Gora flirted with the road win against Olympiacos and finally got it in Munich, against Bayern (78-71). He had his best night in Euroleague, scoring 19 points on 7/11 shots and also 11 rebounds, 1 assists, 2 steals and 2 block
- James Gist: He played also for injured Stephan Lasme, he had 24 points, 6 rebounds, 5 steals and 3 blocks, saving Panathinaikos in the 80-72 win over Lietuvos Rytas
Best losing performance: Bogdan Bogdanovic
This time the losing teams didn’t have to show much, but Bogdanovic in the absence of injured Leo Westermann did his best against Barcelona. Of course the Catalans got an easy 82-64 win, despite his 24 points on 9/19 shots and 5 rebounds.
The biggest win: EA7 Milano
We chose this game as the encounter of the week and boy, what a game it was! The outcome was decided in the last minute, Anadolu Efes made some unexpected turnovers in the end, but still EA7 Milano proved that this season it has character, something that was missing the last year’s despite all the money spend on the roster. It’s not the 77-73 win, but the way it was achieved.
The upset: Zielona Gora
It’s not that the Polish champions are a bad team, but nobody expected Bayern Munich to give up a home game to them. Actually the Germans didn’t, the guests were the ones who took it (78-71) and now having the same record as Unicaja Malaga (2-4) they are hosting the Spaniards next week and will fight for the advantage in the Top16 race.
The underachiever: Maccabi Tel Aviv
It’s not the first time that Laboral Kutxa wins in Tel Aviv. This time the difference was the low score (70-65), the bad performance of Maccabi and its inability to take advantage of injured Andres Nocioni’s absence. Despite the 4-2 record of the Israelis, the situation seems to be more serious than expected and coach Blatt’s job is rumored to be in danger.
The unstable: CSKA Moscow
It’s still early in the season and a lot of things can change, but CSKA Moscow is not the team everyone was expecting them to be and once more against Nanterre that was evident. A 20 points game turned to a modest 72-60 win, injured Nenad Krstic is not ready yet to return to action and coach Messina has a lot of work to do.
The last word: Pops Mensah Bonsu
Galatasaray needed a savior after a series of bad luck and injuries and he is just delivering. He had played four games so far, his team has won three of them, has a respectable 4-2 record and the second place in Group C behind Olympiacos. His last performance was a admirable double double (16 p., 16 r.) and he is also averaging a double double in points and rebounds during those three wins. It’s not easy to say it, but if all those injuries were the way for Galata to bring Pops onboard, then maybe they were a blessing in disguise.