Khimki down Real Madrid in European champions battle, Euroleague hangover

Euroleague Basketball

BC Khimki took advantage of an out-of-sort Real Madrid side to record an 84-70 win in the Euroleague’s ‘battle of the European champions’.

And it was last season’s Eurocup champions that looked every bit like last May’s Euroleague champions, as Marko Todorovic paced Khimki with 15 points, putting Real to the sword as their slow start to the season in all competitions continues.

“For sure I’m happy that we’ve won today because we beat a really strong team, a reigning Euroleague champion,” Khimki coach Rimas Kurtinaitis commented.

“We have a new team that came to the Euroleague this season and it was very important to start from a win. I would like to thank my guys for their effort and energy that they gave on the court. I’m really happy.”

Sergio Llull led the reigning Euroleague champions with 20 points.

Elsewhere in Group A, Fenerbahce recovered from a slow start to beat Bayern Munich 74-67 on the Asian side of Istanbul.

But it was far from convincing from last season’s Final Four competitors, whom needed Bobby Dixon’s deadly accuracy from three-point land plus Bogdan Bogdanovic’s help to eventually get the win.

Italian international Gigi Datome highlighted his return to the Euroleague with 15 points for the winners.

EA7 Milano nearly threw away a 20-point lead but breathed a sigh of relief with a 78-76 home win over Laboral Kutxa in Group B.

Jamel McLean led five Milan scorers in double digits with 13, but crucially, the hosts connected on all 21 of its free throws.

But Milano coach Jasmin Repesa knows what his side has to do to improve in the competition this season.

“It’s hard to understand why we stopped playing,” Repesa said. “We had a big chance to win by more than 20, but we stopped attacking when they pressed us. But this is an important message for us in the future. The game is 40 minutes and we cannot stop before that.”

On his Euroleague debut, Jon Diebler hit six threes and scored 21 points as Anadolu Efes beat Limoges 89-77 in the other Group B clash.

Frenchman Thomas Heurtel dished out 15 assists for Anadolu. Heiko Schffartzik led Limoges with 20.

Lokomotiv Kuban marked their return to the Euroleague with an impressive 81-70 win over Panathinaikos in Krasondar.

Chris Singleton led the winners with 16 points and nine rebounds as he was outstanding down the stretch for Lokomotiv as they start life in Group C with a win.

Miroslav Raduljica led Panathinaikos with 15 points.

Zalgiris also started their Group C campaign with a win as they overcame Polish side Stelmet Zielona Gora 66-62.

Paulius Jankunas led Zalgiris with 17 points.