Euroleague: home comforts on Thursday

EuroleagueWhile we look forward to the CSKA Moscow vs. Real Madrid clash tomorrow, Euroleague Round 6 was ushered in by five high-octane games on Thursday. The story of the evening is that it was a good day to be the home team. Every host tasted victory on Thursday, while all visitors traveled home empty handed. Celebrating with their own fans were Barcelona, Darussafaka, Unics Kazan, Milan, and Panathinaikos.

FC Barcelona vs. Zalgiris Kaunas, 92-86

Fresh off its weekend win over rival Real Madrid, Barcelona overcame Zalgiris Kaunas at home for its third consecutive Euroleague win. The success pushed Barcelona into contention with a 4-2 record, while Zalgiris is sitting on a 1-5 record and is really struggling. This was no runaway win for Barca, however. The hosts were made to work and the contest ended with a thrilling 27-27 fourth quarter that saw Zalgiris Kaunas attempt to rally late on.

Tyrese Rice continues to impress since his summer switch to Catalonia and collected 23 points. Petteri Koponen added 16 points and Joey Dorsey grabbed 11 rebounds.

Brock Motum was in hot form in the losing effort and took a game high 26 points, while Paulius Jankunas added 12 points.

Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul vs. Brose Bamberg, 72-70

Darussafaka edged past Brose Bamberg in Istanbul, moving to 4-2 after an impressive start to the Euroleague season. Bamberg has also impressed this campaign, but still the Germans find themselves with four losses, highlighting just how tough this competition is. Thanks to a 20-10 third act, the hosts were 60-50 in front through thirty minutes. However, Bamberg made a game of it in a tense fourth before Brad Wanamaker settled it for the Turkish club in the closing seconds.

Will Clyburn scored 17 points in the win, while Dairis Bertans added 15 points. Adrien Moermann and Wanamaker finished with 11 points, with Moermann adding 9 boards.

Janis Strelnieks topped the losing effort with 14 points.

Unics Kazan vs. Crvena Zvezda Belgrade, 65-62

Another tight game saw Unics Kazan pick up its second consecutive win. While still on 2-4, the Russian club is moving in the right direction and finding form. Crvena Zvezda is moving in the opposite direction, after a good start the Serbian giant has lost three on the spin and is also on 2-4. The visitors led 27-32 through the long break and was still 41-43 ahead through three periods. However, Unics rallied in the fourth with a game-winning quarter.

Keith Langford is arguably the league’s standout performer so far, here he added another 23 points to his stats. It was a contribution that paced the victory.

Nate Wolters managed 11 points for a disappointing Crvena Zvezda.

Panathinaikos Athens vs. Maccabi Tel Aviv, 83-75

History will tell us this was Thursday’s exciting clash. Both of these clubs are multiple former champions of the Euroleague, so this was a massive game. However, both are also going through transition periods, so this would tell how they are progressing. Panathinaikos found the win to move to 4-2 and is in solid form. Tel Aviv has recovered in recent weeks after a poor start, but still there is obvious work to do with the Israeli giant. This game went to overtime after the game was locked 67-67 through regulation time. Panathinaikos spurred the home crowd with an excellent 16-8 winning run in the added frame.

Chris Singleton topped the hosts with 26 points and 6 boards. Nick Calathes followed with 13 points and James Gist with 12 points.

Sonny Weems bagged 15 points for Tel Aviv, with Andrew Goudelock adding 14 points and Maik Zirbes 12 points. Devin Smith collected a double-double of 11 points and 12 rebounds.

EA7 Emporio Armani Milan vs. Anadolu Efes Istanbul, 105-92

Milan got back to winning ways in strong offensive style, while also bucking Anadolu Efes’ recent resurgence. The Italian champs broke a century of points, 55 of them coming in a devastating first quarter. While the visitors did well, the hosts were never really in doubt. The win snaps Milan’s three game losing streak. The Italians are very hot in attack and are outscoring all Euroleague teams so far. Anadolu Efes has won its last two to recover, but took a step back here.

Rakim Sanders led the victory with 22 points, while Alessandro Gentile scored 17 points and Krunoslav Simon 14 points.

Thomas Huertal topped the Turkish guests with 18 points, followed by Bryant Dunston with 17 points.

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