Euroleague Weekly Review
Respect to Partizan.
by Erildas Budraitis
All Euroleague teams had two weeks to prepare for the upcoming championship tour. However, after the fifth Euroleague tour, the questions far outnumber the answers.
This week most interesting matches were played in the B and C groups. There were also two really big surprises. Of course, before the start of the tour, all Euroleague fans’ eyes was on the Montepaschi Siena/Regal Barcelona game. It‘s not a secret that the Spaniards and Italians were fighting for first place in group A. The end result was unexpected –- Regal Barcelona ran away with the game, and very easily won 84-65.
Certainly, it is not the end of life for Montepaschi – it‘s only their first loss and they have an opportunity to grab second place in group C. First place is reserved for Ricky Rubio and his crew, who remain undefeated.
The other big match was held in Vitoria, where the local Caja Laboral (ex-Tau Ceramica) was defeated by CSKA Moscow (71-67). This season the Russian team has demonstrated that they can defeat every club, but also that they can be defeated by everyone. Like always, the main work was done by Ramunas “The Baltic Pippen” Siskauskas – he scored a game-high 24 points and showed once again that he’s still a world class player.
GAME OF THE WEEK
Last week, the Greek super club Olympiakos Piraeus was in the spotlight and not exactly because of their good results. According to Greek media, former Houston Rocket Von Wafer has serious problems with trying to adjust to the European style of basketball, and the guard was expelled from team practice.
Wafer also didn’t play in this week’s Euroleague game against Partizan Belgrade and the Serbians surprisingly defeated Olympiakos (86-80).
After three quarters, the Greeks led by one point (61-60) but Partizan was able to make a 12-0 run and took control of the game. This young and ambitious Partizan team showed tremendous resolve in their triumph over Olympiakos and its stars.
“Teams with a lot of young talented players always play that way against big names,” said Greek club coach Panagiotis Giannakis. The coach added that “this is the beginning of the season, and I expect better performances from my team.”
Partizan center Aleksandar Maric, who got this week’s Euroleague MVP award, played the best game this season –- he recorded a season high in points and rebounds (23/15). Aleksandar Rasic added 25 points, while Privaterr Bo McCalebb chipped in with 19.
For Olympiakos, former NBA players Linas Kleiza and Josh Childress both scored 18 points in the loss. Yotam Halperin added 15 points.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
This week we have two MVPs: Aleksandar Maric from Partizan and Keith Langford from the Khimki Moscow Region. They both finished with 38 index ranking points and secured wins for their respective teams. Maric scored 23 and grabbed 15 rebounds, while the former San Antonio Spurs guard had 20 points, 5 rebounds and 9 assists.
Second in this week’s ranking is former Memphis Grizzlies center Mike Batiste from Panathinaikos Athens. In his first game back from injury, Batiste scored 25 points and snatched 6 boards.
Next week we will see if Khimki’s win against Real Madrid was just a coincidence or not, and if Regal Barcelona and Unicaja Malaga can stay undefeated.