Friday’s Euroleague preseason games took a new twist. This was a busy day that actually felt like a Euroleague Regular Season week. In fact, considering the match ups through the evening, it could even have been a Top 16 round.
Some of the biggest clubs on the continent clashed with each other in Greece, where Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens hosted the Diamonds Are Forever Tournament to celebrate the retirement of basketball legend Dimitris Diamantidis. There were also other mouth-watering clashes elsewhere.
Panathinaikos Athens hosted Maccabi Tel Aviv in the tournament and came away with a 78-68 victory. These two former Euroleague winners had seasons to forget on the continent last season, especially Maccabi Tel Aviv. The Israeli giant simply had one of the worst seasons in its illustrious history. There is a lot to prove this term for the club, but Panathinaikos edged this game at home. The hosts maintained a double-digit lead for much of the game, led by Ioannis Bourousis with 13 points and 7 rebounds.
Current Euroleague champs had a bit too much for FC Barcelona earlier in the day. The two giants will be contenders again this season, but CSKA is riding high on good preseason form. The Russians won by hitting a century of points to vanquish the Spaniards 100-96. Current MVP Nando De Colo scored 28 points to pace the win, and Milos Teodosic delivered 11 points and 8 assists for the Army Men.
Beaten 2016 finalist Fenerbahce overcame 2015 Euroleague champ Real Madrid 87-90 in Spain. Credit to the Turkish champions for playing so well just a day after being taken to triple overtime in the previous preseason game. This was a tight contest until Fener started the second half with a 2-12 run and held on to thwart a Los Blancos rally in the fourth act. Bobby Dixon led Fenerbahce with 22 points, while Bogdan Bogdanovic gathered 14 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists in a well-rounded performance.