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EuroLeague Diaries: Mike James shows clutch gene; Olympiacos achieves first win in three years over Real Madrid

Photo: EuroLeague Basketball

EuroLeague Round 2 concluded with two huge clashes that involved CSKA Moscow, Anadolu Efes, Olympiacos and Real Madrid. At the same time, AS Monaco showed that its victory against Panathinaikos was no accident as they achieved another huge win over UNICS Kazan.

Olympiacos wins for the first time in three years against Real Madrid

Olympiacos had another excellent performance in the EuroLeague, as the Reds beat Real Madrid at home to improve their record to 2-0.

The Greek club has won its first two games of the season for the first time in three years. In addition, they have won their first two home games for the first time since October 2017.

It is also the Reds’ first win over Real since November 2018. The Reds played in front of recently retired Olympiacos and EuroLeague legend Vassilis Spanoulis, who got a massive ovation from the home crowd.

CSKA Moscow, Tornike Shengelia explodes in Istanbul vs. Efes

CSKA Moscow and Tornike Sengelia ruined Anadolu Efes celebration night, as the reigning champions played in front of their fans for the first time in more than a year.

Shengelia had a memorable night for CSKA, as the Georgian forward scored 23 points along with four rebounds and three assists.

He stopped Efes’ late comeback try with a put-back dunk and free throws in the game’s last half minute. He was followed by Johannes Voigtmann, who covered for Nikola Milutinov with an amazing performance.

“It was a thriller game. You have to give credit to Efes; they never gave up. But neither did we. Even though they came back to within a couple of points, we kept our cool and followed the game plan that Coach gave us, and executed.

We moved the ball. Everyone contributed defensively and offensively,” Shengelia said after CSKA’s first EuroLeague win for the season.

Olympiacos’ Sasha Vezenkov on his way to a breakout season

While Olympiacos is experiencing one of his best starts in EuroLeague the last few seasons, Sasha is on his way to have a breakout season in Piraeus.

Vezenkov was once again the best Olympiacos’ player in the huge win over Real Madrid Friday, despite shooting poorly from deep.

The Reds’ forward finished the game with a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds, along with a team-high PIR of 18. His performance on Friday followed another 16-piece against Baskonia last week.

“It was a demanding game. It was an exhausting game. Real Madrid is a really physical team. We needed to manage their offensive game.

On offense we did not play great, but in the second half we allowed 32 points, which is incredible in the EuroLeague nowadays.

We did a great job and we won this game. I hit one out of seven threes, but I try to give everything to the team, in good moments and bad moments, but the most important thing is that we won,” said Vezenkov.

Mike James shows his clutch gene in Monaco’s OT win

Mike James is instrumental in AS Monaco Basket dreamy start in its first-ever participation in the EuroLeague. James made some crucial plays in crunch time during Monaco’s OT win over UNICS.

Monaco used an 0-11 run during the OT to get the win, as Mike James buried the go-ahead jumper in a “Jamesque” one-on-one isolation play. He then found Paris Lee for a critical triple, and soon connected with Donta Hall for an alley-oop slam.

That was the fifth win for Monaco in all five of their matchups in European competitions vs. UNICS Kazan. The French team kept the Russian club scoreless for three minutes in the OT, as James did his thing on the offensive end.

“Getting a win on the road in the EuroLeague is always tough, so I am happy that we could do it, really. Defense. We started buckling down and sharing the ball, too, getting better shots, better looks.

Basically, we starting getting stops and sharing the ball. We played together, as a team; it creates a nice energy and that leads to good things,” James said after the game.

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