Euroleague: Giants Flex Their Muscles

EuroleagueWhat a week of Euroleague action we are being treated to. Because there are two rounds being played in one week, we are getting the hottest hoops action on the continent on four consecutive days. On day three of this festival of Basketball, four more contest happened as the best clubs in Europe gathered for the tip off of Round 4.

On Thursday in the Euroleague, there were two country derbies as CSKA Moscow defeated Unics Kazan and Darussafaka lost to Anadlou Efes in an Istanbul derby. Elsewhere, Real Madrid bounced back and beat Milan, while Olympiacos outlasted Baskonia Vitoria. Aside from CSKA, today was defined by away teams, with three of the four contests going in favor of the road clubs.

CSKA Moscow vs. Unics Kazan, 98-80

CSKA Moscow smashed Unics Kazan in an all-Russian contest. The current Euroleague champ is in scintillating form and is now 5-0 in the competition this season. On the evidence so far, the Army Men look capable of making it back-to-back titles this season. As for Unics Kazan, they are in a sorry patch and are bottom of the standings with a 0-5 record. The game was close through halftime, with CSKA leading 47-43. However, it transformed in the second half as the hosts drained 51 points for a comfortable conclusion to the game.

Milos Teodosic doubled up with 16 points and 10 assists, while Nando De Colo added 11 points and Cory Higgins claimed 14 points.

Where would Unics Kazan have been without Keith Langford? He put in a tour de force performance on the way to a game high 36 points, a career high for the player.

Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul vs. Anadolu Efes Istanbul, 79-84

Istanbul is a sports caldron the best of times, but when two teams from the city clash expect fireworks. In this derby game, Anadolu Efes finally got its Euroleague season off the mark with its first win (1-3) while Darussafaka sits on 2-2. The hosts actually had control through the long break, with the scoreboard reading 46-35. Anadolu Efes ate into the double digit deficit in the third act and carried the momentum into the fourth quarter by draining 26 points to steal the win in comeback style.

DeShaun Thomas led the fightback with 17 points, followed by Thomas Huertal with 15 points, and Tyler Honeycutt and Bryce Cotton with 12 points each.

Scottie Wilbekin paced the losing effort with 13 points, while Brad Wanamaker made 11 points.

EA7 Emporio Armani Milan vs. Real Madrid, 90-101

Real Madrid bounced back from defeat in Round 3 to see off Milan in an exciting display. The Spanish giant broke 100 points to see off a spirited effort from the hosts. After a positive start to the season, Milan is now sitting on two straight losses at 2-2. Madrid is looking solid at 3-1 and is a force again this season. Los Blancos looked strong in attack in this game. Milan was consistent, but Madrid had the extra offensive gear and scored 26 points in three frames. Credit to the hosts for never letting the visitors really pull away, though.

Anthony Randolph picked up an impressive double-double of 20 points and 14 rebounds to stand out in the win. Othello Hunter and Sergio Llull proved able deputies with 18 points each, while Llull turned consistent provider with 6 scoring passes.

Ricky Hickman plundered 19 points for Milan, while Rakim Sanders hit 16 points and Krunoslav Simon 13 points.

Baskonia Vitoria vs. Olympiacos Piraeus, 90-95

Baskonia Vitoria’s patchy form continued as the Spanish club could not build on beating Madrid on Tuesday and slipped to Olympiacos at home. To be fair, Baskonia has looked good in each of its games and even the losses have come at the hands of teams in hot form. Olympiacos fits that bill as the Greek giant won its third consecutive game to move to 3-1 in the standings. This was no forgone conclusion though as Baskonia held a 74-72 advantage through thirty minutes. A strong fourth ended with Olympiacos snatching the win.

Vangelis Mantzris set the winning tone with 17 points. Vassiliss Spanoulis and Kostas Papanikolaou scored 15 points each for Olympiacos. Spanoulis impressed and looks to be completely rejuvenated this season, the legend capped a stunning performance with 15 assists for a huge double-double.

Tornike Shengelia led Baskonia with 20 points, while Adam Hanga nailed 15 points. Shane Larkin collected his own offensive double with 14 points and 11 assists.

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