The first two-round week of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season was great for the local supporters in the stands; all of the teams playing at home won! LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne came back from 19 down to stun Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul, while AX Armani Exchange Milan rolled past Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv on Tuesday. On Wednesday, FC Barcelona edged Olympiacos Piraeus after overtime. Those three teams share the top spot in the standings with 3-0 records. UNICS Kazan, Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz, and ALBA Berlin each won their first games this season, too. The action resumes on Thursday with the first four games on Round 4.
Crvena Zvezda Belgrade 73-61 Zalgiris Kaunas
Crvena Zvezda Belgrade overpowered Zalgiris Kaunas 73-61 in the team’s home opener on Wednesday at Stark Arena. Nikola Kalinic scored 13 of his team-high 15 points in the second half to pace Crvena Zvezda, which won its second straight game to improve to 2-1. Ognjen Dobric added 13 points, Luka Mitrovic produced 12 points and seven rebounds, and Nate Wolters compiled 11 points, six rebounds, and seven assists for the winners. Zalgiris could not get its first win under new head coach Jure Zdovc and fell to 0-3 on the season. Josh Nebo was a bright spot for Zalgiris with 14 points and ten rebounds, and Niels Giffey and Lukas Lekavicius added 11 points apiece as the Lithuanian champs dropped to 0-3.
Real Madrid 94-86 AS Monaco
Real Madrid had to wait until the last minute to claim a valuable 94-86 victory over AS Monaco at WiZink Center, despite enjoying a 25-point difference early in the second quarter (44-19). Los Blancos had a strong start and dominated 30-12 after 10 minutes, but the visitors used a 2-15 run bridging the second and the third quarter to keep the game alive. Four three-pointers coming from four different players midway through the fourth quarter completed Monaco’s comeback, 81-83, but a key contribution by Guerschon Yabusele and a key triple by Rudy Fernandez saved the day for the home team. Real, which improved to 2-1, was led by Yabusele, who posted 18 points, three rebounds, and two assists for a PIR of 25. Thomas Heurtel followed with 13 points and seven assists, while Fabien Causeur poured in 12. Mike James led all scorers with 24 points on 6-of-10 three-point shooting, to which he added ten assists. Donte Hall and Will Thomas accompanied him with 12 and 11 points, respectively, in losing effort. AS Monaco lost its first game of the season and is now 2-1.
FC Barcelona 79-78 Olympiacos Piraeus
FC Barcelona remained perfect on the season after surviving a battle with Olympiacos Piraeus, winning 79-78 at home in overtime. Nikola Mirotic scored 22 points, and Pierre Oriola buried two free throws with 7.6 seconds left in the extra session to help Barcelona improve to 3-0. Cory Higgins added 11 points, Brandon Davies picked up 10 points, and Nick Calathes flirted with a triple-double with 9 points, 13 rebounds, and seven assists. Olympiacos dropped its first game of the season despite five players scoring in double figures. Kostas Sloukas had 14 points, Tyler Dorsey and Sasha Vezenkov both scored 12, Moustapha Fall tallied 11 points and eight rebounds, and Shaquielle McKissic netted 10 points in the loss.
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