The regular 2021/2022 Euroleague season opens on Thursday, September 30. That’s earlier than ever. As a result, the participating teams have been in training camp for a while and the Euroleague preseason is now in full swing with several tournaments and friendly games.
Spanish Super Cup
The most prestigious one was the Spanish Super Cup, where the eternal rivals Real Madrid and FC Barcelona met.
Real Madrid came up with a miraculous comeback to defeat FC Barcelona 83-88 and claim the Spanish SuperCup for the eighth time. Real trailed by 19 points 63-44 midway through the third quarter but raced back thanks to 24 points from MVP Sergio Llull for the club’s fourth straight SuperCup trophy – and third in a row over Barcelona in an “El Clasico.”
Nigel Williams-Goss knotted the game with a three-pointer at 81-81, and Guerschon Yabusele’s free throws made it 81- 83. Vincent Poirier, who collected 16 points and 11 rebounds, would add two free throws for Real with 35 seconds for an 83-85 lead. Brandon Davies missed a three-pointer in the final seconds, and Real took the trophy. Cory Higgins had 16 points in the loss, and Davies scored 13 for Barcelona.
Also celebrating a trophy was Crvena Zvezda Belgrade, which knocked off FC Bayern Munich 68-70 to win the MagentaSport Cup in Munich. Luka Mitrovic converted a running hook shot at the buzzer for the win after Augustine Rubit had evened the score with 4.1 seconds to play. Nikola Kalinic led Zvezda with 14 points, and Mitrovic ended with 12 points and 9 rebounds. Bayern, which was leading 37-24 at the half and 52-40 after three quarters, got 16 points and 8 rebounds from Rubit in the loss.
Panathinaikos OPAP Athens finished third at the MagentaSport Cup with a thrilling 112-111 double-overtime victory over Virtus Segafredo Bologna. Ioannis Papepetrou poured in 41 points for Panathinaikos, while Kendrick Perry scored 25 and Leonidas Kaselakis had 16 points. Virtus came back from 10 points down after three quarters, but Kaselakis drained a three-pointer with 11 seconds to knot it at 90-90. Jehyve Floyd blocked Virtus’ Kyle Weems at the rim to force overtime. Papepetrou drained a long jumper with 1.7 seconds left to send the game to a second overtime. Marco Belinelli knocked down a long wild three-pointer with 5.1 seconds left for a 110-111 lead, but Papapetrou hit a fade-away baseline jumper with 2.9 seconds remaining for the winner.
Paris European Games
In another all-EuroLeague match-up, LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne finally won its first preseason game by knocking off AX Armani Exchange Milan 76-63 in the Paris European Games. After dropping its first four games in the preparations, ASVEL surged ahead 40-30 at halftime and held on for the victory thanks to Elie Okobo scoring 18 points and Chris Jones picking up 15 points. Malcolm Delaney tallied 11 points as the only Milan player in double figures.
ALBA Berlin finished the Paris European Games with a 107-104 overtime loss to Paris Basketball. Marcus Eriksson collected 24 points with 8 three-pointers to go with 6 rebounds and 5 assists, and Tim Schneider added 15 points, but they were not enough for the German side.
Reigning EuroLeague champion Anadolu Efes Istanbul grabbed a convincing 82-60 win over Zalgiris Kaunas to claim the title at the 2021 Gloria Cup. Bugrahan Tuncer collected 18 points and 5 assists, Adrien Moerman had 16 points and 6 rebounds, and Filip Petrusev chipped in 11 points and 8 rebounds for Efes, which led 49-28 at halftime and was not challenged the rest of the way. Joffrey Lauvergne paced Zalgiris with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul hoisted the trophy at the Istanball Cup in Istanbul with a dominant 62-89 win over Partizan NIS Belgrade. Fenerbahce, which was facing former head coach Zeljko Obradovic on the Partizan sidelines, was ahead 10-22 after 10 minutes and 33-47 at the break. Ismet Akpinar led the way with 17 points, while Danilo Barthel scored 12 points.
Third place at the Istanball Cup went to UNICS Kazan, which defeated AS Monaco 84-85 in a rematch of the 2021 7DAYS EuroCup Finals. UNICS wasted a 23-point lead but managed to get some revenge with Artem Klimenko throwing down a dunk with 25 seconds left for the final score. Lorenzo Brown led the winners with 20 points, and Klimenko had 15 points while Rob Gray paced Monaco with 16 points, and both Jerry Boutsiele (12 points, 10 rebounds) and Donta Hall (10, 13) had double-doubles.
Neofytos Chandriotis Tournament
CSKA Moscow meanwhile won the Neofytos Chandriotis Tournament in Nicosia in rolling past Olympiacos Piraeus 68-85. CSKA roared ahead 5-23 after 10 minutes, and Olympiacos could never really threaten the rest of the way. Iffe Lundberg and Will Clyburn were top scorers for CSKA with 15 points each. Sasha Vezenkov topped Olympiacos with 17 points.
Zenit St Petersburg took third place at the Neofytos Chandriotis Tournament with a 51-79 win over Lavrio. Zenit fell behind 21-15 after 10 minutes but roared back with a 7-26 second quarter.
In another Euroleague preseason tournament, Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz rolled to a win at the 2021 Euskal Cup in Santzurtzi, Spain, as it beat Bilbao 93-68. Baskonia, which led 50-33 at halftime and never looked back, got 14 points from Simone Fontecchio and 10 from Wade Baldwin.