A run through of all the action from day two of Euroleague Round 9.
Euroleague Round 9 is now over. Here’s a run through of all the action from Thursday night.
Day Two’s game of the night featured Montepaschi Siena against FC Barcelona Regal. Barca, undefeated prior to tip-off, lost in a thriller, 77-74.
Igor Rakocevic (21 points) and Pietro Aradori (20 points) were fantastic for Montepaschi and the victory gave the Italian side an outside sniff at first place in Group D.
A close one throughout, there wasn’t even a whole lot separating the two statistically. Montepaschi shot 43% from two point range while Barca shot 45. Two percentage points separated their three point effeciency, Barca totaled one more rebound, one more assist and had only two more turnovers than Montepaschi.
In Group B, Brose Baskets faced off against Zalgiris Kaunas in a fight for the fourth position. Zalgiris came out on top behind 14 points from Sonny Weems and Vytenis Lipkevicius. The two also combined for nine assists.
Zalgiris is an average team at best, but the Bamberg made them look like a tournament contender for stretches in this one. Sloppy rotations allowed the Lithuanian team to shoot well from three and their efforts on the offensive glass was vital at keeping Brose at bay during late moments.
A blowout at half-time, Bamberg fought their way back and brought it to single digits in the fourth, but their lack of height was again a problem. With only one real center, Tibor Pleiss, Bamberg struggles against bigger teams. I’ve mentioned far too often about Pleiss’struggles in recent times and I don’t want to bash the NBA prospect any further, but he doesn’t impose himself at all and occasionally gets crushed rebounding the ball despite being one the tallest guy on the floor. Let’s just say if basketball was a game of reaching for thing on high shelves, Tibor would be the equivalent of Michael Jordan. Oops, did it again.
A close game for much of the first half, Maccabi Electra came out much stronger after the main break and routed Anadolu Efes, 96-57. The game was a battle for second position in Group C, but Maccabi’s depth and talent ended up being far superior.
Sofoklis Schortsanitis was dominant in under 20 minutes of action.The mammoth sized center had his way with the Efes defense, scoring 17 points and grabbing five rebounds. Shaq like size with some post moves, the Greek national is quietly having a very solid campaign in a reduced role.
American born David Blu was also decent and the combo forward added 18 points of his own while point guard Keith Langford was exciting at times
Missing NBA player Ersan Ilyasova and leading scorer Tarence Kinsey, Efes was fairly depleted. Sascha Vujacic, a guy that made no fans here during his stints with the Los Angeles Lakers and New Jersey Nets, is having a solid Euroleague campaign (13 points, three rebound, two assist average), but his best Kobe Bryant impression (king of the contested jumper) was not good enough to keep his team competitive in this one. 4-11 shooting and 12 points for him.
Unics blew out Assecco Prokom 68-41. It’s not very often you see a professional team in any sports play like amateurs, but Assecco came dangerously close on Thursday night, scoring an incredible 11 first half points. The victory was somewhat expected considering Assecco has been one of the Euroleague’s worst teams this year (1-7 win-loss record) and allowed Unics to make a push for second place in Group D.
American born, Bosnian national player, Henry Domercant, was Unics best player. The guard totaled 18 points, eight rebounds and shot 4-5 from downtown.
In another blowout, Olympiacos defeated Bennet Cantu 86-61 in a surprising win for the home team. Cantu came into the game second in Group A, separated only by point differential, but didn’t put up much of a fight. Cantu remains one of four teams now tied for first place in the division. With only the top four teams in group qualifying for the Top 16, Olympiacos improved their chances of making the next round dramatically and received a superb performance from former Houston Rocket, Vassilis Spanoulis. One of the elite players in the Euroleague competition (averaging 20 points and five assists per game), Spanoulis managed a game high 22 points and five assists.
Also in Group A action, Fenerbahce Ulker went down to Gescrap BB 70-80. D’or Fischer dominated for the visiting Gescrap side, hauling in a double-double performance with 16 points and 10 boards.
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