In the first game of the four-game NBA Europe Live 2012 series, the host squad, Fenerbahce Ulker, took advantage of a sloppy contingent from the NBA’s Boston Celtics to treat their fans to a 97-91 victory over the 17-time NBA Champions.
Celtics Coach Doc Rivers stated, “Our goal was 14 (turnovers) and we had that at halftime,” said Doc Rivers. “So I had to explain to the guys that I didn’t mean 14 in a half, I meant 14 for the game. That was just sloppy.”
Fenerbahce got 45 points from Bo McCalebb (21) and Romain Sato (24), who was four-for-four from behind the arc. McCalebb shined in his new uniform, picking apart Boston’s defense throughout the night and guiding the hosts to victory.
The Celtics head a one-point advantage after the first quarter, but 10 second-quarter turnovers, many of which Fenerbahce was able to turn into points, put the visitors down by 10 at the half. Rajon Rondo rattled off seven points for the Celtics in a period of just over a minute and a half in the third frame, but the closest his squad could get to the Turks was six. By the end of the third quarter, the deficit was cut to seven, but Fenerbahce saw the positive side of a 79-72 tally.
Said McCalebb of facing Rondo, “I kind of get pumped up when I play against any good player, not just because it’s Rondo,” McCalebb said. “It was nothing personal, we just wanted to come out and do something positive after the loss we sustained yesterday.”
Boston ran their rookies for the better part of the fourth quarter, paced by newcomer Jeff Green’s 11 points in the frame. Sato kept the Fenerbahce’s led safely by dropping in key baskets when needed, including a clutch three with just over a minute to go when Boston had cut the margin to three.
The contest saw Serbian big man Darko Milicic in his first contest in Boston green. Milicic was released by the Minnesota Timberwolves over the summer and signed a three-year deal with Boston in September.
Boston will travel to Milano to take on EA7 Emporio Armani on Sunday. The next contest in the NBA Europe Live 2012 series will see the Dallas Mavericks square off with Alba Berlin later today.
Fenerbahce Ulker (97): Omer Onan 8 (1 rebound), Ilkan Fest 4 (7 rebounds, 1 assist), Oguz Savas 10 (4 rebounds), Romain Sato, 24 (7 rebounds, 2 assists), Bo McCalebb 21 (4 rebounds, 5 assists), David Andersen 8 (2 rebounds, 1 assist), Bojan Bogdanovic, 11 (2 rebounds, 2 assists), Michael Batiste 5, Emir Preldzic 4 (4 rebounds, 4 assists), Kaya Peker, Peace Hermit 2 (1 rebounds, 2 assists)
Boston Celtics (91): Paul Pierce 8 (3 rebounds, 3 assists), Brandon Bass 9 (2 rebounds, 1 assist), Kevin Garnett 6 (4 rebounds), Courtney Lee, 7 (2 rebounds), Rajon Rondo 13 (3 rebounds, 9 assists), Darko Milicic 2 (6 rebounds), Jason Terry 12 (2 assists), Jeff Green 16 (4 rebounds, 1 assist), Jared Sullinger 16 (8 rebounds), Fab Melo (3 rebounds), Jamar Smith 2 (1 rebound), Dionte Christmas, Kris Joseph (1 rebound) 1
PERIOD: 26-27 2 PERIOD: 55-45 3 PERIOD: 79-72 4 PERIOD: 97-91