TalkBasket Blog – EuroLeague Round 2: Olympiacos triumphant in the post-Blatt era

Photo: EuroLeague Basketball

The second round of the EuroLeague came to an end on Friday (11/10) and TalkBasket presents the five things that stood out.

The post-Blatt era starts with a triumph for Olympiacos

In the first match after the departure of David Blatt, Olympiacos decimated Valencia (89-63) and registered its first win in the EuroLeague.

The “Reds” were tremendous on both ends and cruised to the victory. With Kestutis Kemzura taking over, the Greek team showed its talent and character and earned a much-needed win.

Following its triumph, Olympiacos gained confidence and momentum, yet there are many changes that need to be made, on and off the court, in order for the team to fight for a spot in the playoffs.

Zeljko Obradovic’s all-time low and Fenerbahce’s poor start

Fenerbahce suffered its second straight loss and remained in the bottom of the league (0-2). The Turks have been out of form in the season so far, struggling to perform at high standards on both ends.

Playing excellent defensively (56 points), Crvena Zvezda exposed all the offensive flaws of Fenerbahce at the “Stark Arena”.

Having to deal with injuries to key players, it is difficult for Zeljko Obradovic and his players to reach their full potential. However, it is still early in the season and the Turks are expected to bounce back very soon.

For his part, coach Obradovic reached an all-time low, after losing back-to-back games in the start of the EuroLeague.

This is the first time since 2001 that a team coached by Obradovic was defeated in the first two rounds of the EuroLeague.

Surprisingly perfect

ASVEL Villeurbanne “shocked” the European basketball stage, getting two victories in the first two rounds of the Euroleague.

The French team got the win against Panathinaikos (79-78), after returning from a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter, and improved to 2-0 in the standings.

ASVEL is living the dream right now, having prevailed against both Greek “giants”, with Tonye Jekiri dominating the paint and David Lighty shooting the “lights out”.

At the same time, Khimki became the other pleasant surprise of the second round of the Euroleague, with the Russian team being victorious against Baskonia (79-76).

Rimas Kurtinaitis has a “deep” roster at his disposal, consisting of many quality players. For example, Anthony Gill and Alexey Shved took control against Maccabi Tel-Aviv in the opening round.

On Friday’s (11/10) game against Baskonia, the Russians improved to 2-0, with Jeremy Evans dominating the paint and keeping his team alive in the second half, with an incredible performance of 17 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocks.

The first evident mistake in this year’s competition

Zalgiris Kaunas came close to an upset win in Milan, even if the Lithuanians had an atrocious first quarter (23-7).

Zalgiris made the comeback and had the chance to escape from Milan with the victory, but Sarunas Jaskevicius’ team didn’t get that chance.

An obvious mistake in the last few seconds was decisive for the final outcome of the game.

Michael Roll got trapped near the line and committed a traveling violation at first, while he stepped in the back area of the court after the initial non-call.

In any case, Milan took the win (85-81) and the Italians will travel to Athens to face Panathinaikos next week.

The duo of Shane Larkin and Vasilje Micic is back

Shane Larkin and Vasilije Micic played together for the first time this season and led Anadolu Efes past ALBA Berlin in a late thriller that was decided in overtime (106-105).

Larkin was unstoppable and finished the game with a game-high 26 points (8/16 shooting) and a PIR of 31, showing why he is the team’s undisputed leader.

The other part of the dynamic duo of Efes was Micic, who had a vital role in the incredible game against Alba Berlin.

The Serbian guard had 23 points and a career-high 13 assists in about 42 minutes. Micic was the player that made the two crucial free throws that sealed the deal for the winners, earning the MVP award for the second round of the EuroLeague.

Both Larkin and Micic proved that their performance will be pivotal for Anadolu Efes’ effort to make it to its second straight Final Four.

*Yiannis Bouranis and Alexandros Tsakos contributed to this article.