The 2010/11 season of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague was launched on Monday as Olympiacos hosted Real Madrid as a repeat of a season opener ten years ago. Ettore Messina was once again forced to leave the game with his head down after his team lost the game 66-82 against the Reds.
Olympiacos lost Linas Kleiza, Josh Childress, Nikola Vujcic and Patrick Beverley in summer, just to name a few players that left the team, they also replaced Panagiotis Giannakis with Dusan Ivkovic at the head coach position. Yet all these changes were rather smooth as the team convincingly defeated Real Madrid. Meanwhile Messina is struggling to find a winning formula for his new team after leaving CSKA Moscow two years ago.
Sergio Llull topped the scoring charts for the Spanish side 18 points. Ioannis Bourousis and Vassilis Spanoulis each scored 16 points for Olympiacos. Last year’s Euroleague MVP Milos Teodosic added 15 points.
Polish champions Asseco Prokom travelled to Moscow to face Khimki. The Group A opening game ended with the Russian side clinching a narrow win 82-76. Tomas Pacesas’ men will try to bounce back and will try to win by a larger margin as it might be crucial when the two teams meet in Gdynia.
Keith Langford was the top scorer for Khimki with 17 points in 33 minutes of play. J.R. Giddens had 20 points for Asseco Prokom. Only three Polish players were registered for the game and the scored only 5 points in total.
Fenerbahce Ulker started the season with a comfortable 82-66 win against Lietuvos Rytas in Istanbul. The Turkish club took control of the game already in the first quarter. The gap between the two teams continued to grow for most the time. Lithuanian champions tried to make spurts several times but that wasn’t enough as Neven Spahija’s new team was quick to respond with even more impressive runs. It was only the second official game for Aleksandar Trifunovic, the head coach of Rytas, who replaced Drazen Anzulovic only a week ago.
Darjus Lavrinovic, who didn’t find a place in Ettore Messina’s Real Madrid scored 21 points and finished the game with an index ranking of 20. Milko Bjelica and Brad Newley had 15 points each for Rytas. One of the hottest prospects in Europe, Jonas Valanciunas, marked his Euroleague debut with a double double (10 points and 10 rebounds) at the age of 18.
Slovenian side Union Olimpija is back on its feet after overcoming financial troubles that hit the club last season. The hosts pleased around 9,000 thousand local fans that gathered to the new Ljbuljana Arena by defeating Efes Pilsen 95-90 in a thriller after two overtimes.
Kevin Pinkney, one of many new players at Olimpija, collected 23 points for the hosts while Igor Rakocevic seemed to be back to his usual self as he also scored 23 points for Efes Pilsen.
Virtus Roma recorded a solid win against German champions Brose Baskets. The Italians won the game 83-65. Charles Smith scored 16 points for Roma, Kyle Hines had 20 for the German side.
CSKA Moscow vs. AJ Milano 18:15 CET
Zalgiris vs. Partizan mt:s 18:45 CET
Caja Laboral vs. Maccabi Electra 20:30 CET
Unicaja vs. Spirou Charleroi 20:45 CET
Regal Barcelona vs. Cibona 20:45 CET
Power Elec. vs. Panathinaikos 20:45 CET
Montepaschi vs. Cholet Basket 21:00 CET