Photo: EuroLeague Basketball

The 2021/22 EuroLeague started Thursday with several strong performances and thrilling games. From the dominance of Real Madrid to Maccabi Tel Aviv, Scottie Wilbekin surviving in front of a full house against Bayern Munich.

Let’s delve in the different storylines of the first day in round 1 of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague:

Real Madrid’s French duo

Real Madrid started the 2021-22 EuroLeague with a huge win, dominating the reigning champions Anadolu Efes. The ‘Whites’ saw several players excelling in their roles.

Two newcomers made their debut in the EuroLeague with Madrid as the French duo of Thomas Heurtel and Guerschon Yabusele combined for 30 points (Heurtel 15, Yabusele 15), eight rebounds and seven assists to conclude the game.

“We started the game in a very good way. We didn’t let its backcourt players score, only Larkin had a great game, but the rest of them didn’t score a lot and that was one of our goals,” Heurtel said after the end of the game.

I believe that everyone played well, those who started the game and those who came off the bench. It is a great win to start the season.”

The Scottie Wilbekin show

Maccabi Tel Aviv survived a close-fought battle as the 10,352 fans in Tel Aviv witnessed a nail-biter that ended up with a victory for the home side.

Scottie Wilbekin had a masterful performance, getting an early candidacy for the EuroLeague round 1 MVP award. Maccabi was able to win mainly thanks to Wilbekin’s heroics.

The American guard made two free throws to put Maccabi ahead with 29 seconds remaining, while he finished the game with a career-high 28 points along with three steals and three assists.

“It feels great. I really didn’t want to lose the first game – with all the fans being here and the great start we had, probably because of the fans. I’m just happy we were able to pull through and get the win,” the veteran guard said after the game.

Monaco achieves historic win in front of 2,151 fans

AS Monaco Basket had a huge night in front of 2,151 fans, as they saw Danilo Andjusic finishing with a EuroLeague career-high of 17 points.

That was the first-ever win for the team in the EuroLeague, as their guard tantrum of Mike James, Paris Lee, Leo Westerman and Danilo Adjusic dominated the game with a total of 46 points and 15 assists.

“It’s a great feeling and a good sign. We kept playing, like I said at halftime, we played good defense for the whole game and it was the key for this win,” Adjusic said on Monaco’s convincing EuroLeague start.

“We got to keep playing like this. This is a big thing for the club, and for the country of Monaco, so I’m happy for everybody, and for the team.

Of course, we have to keep working and keep doing things like this because I think we have a great team and I think we can achieve good things this season.”

Nicolo Melli returns to EuroLeague with a bang

Nicolo Melli accompanied his first EuroLeague game since 2019 with a huge win as Olympia Milano prevailed over CSKA Moscow. The last time Melli played in the competition was the third-place game vs. Real Madrid in the 2018 Final-4.

He returned with a strong performance as he put up 15 points, six rebounds and a game-high 24 PIR to lead Ettore Messina’s side to the win.

“We had a great win to start this EuroLeague campaign. After last year, playing is already enough [for me]. Having an important role in the team is huge for me, but that’s because the team allows me to have this kind of role,” Melli said after the game.

“But we play as a team and this is the nice part, to suffer and battle on the court with your teammates. This is what I missed the most and I’m happy to have found this again.”