We have a busy week of Turkish Airlines EuroLeague as Round 3 and Round 4 are being held from Tuesday through Friday. Real Madrid, Khimki Moscow Region, and Olympiacos stayed unbeaten, while CSKA Moscow got back on track with a win over Panathinaikos. Elsewhere, Zalgiris defeated Barcelona in Spain, while Fenerbahce claimed the Istanbul derby over Fenerbahce. Finally, Baskonia slipped to a third defeat at the hands of Valencia, while Bamberg got off the mark against Malaga.
Last season, we watched as Crvena Zvezda Belgrade established itself in the Turkish Airline EuroLeague elite with an underdog run to the Play-Offs. This season, it appears Khimki Moscow Region is taking up the dark horse mantle. The Russians downed Crvena Zvezda 85-78 at home to remain unbeaten at 3-0. The game was close through the first half, before the hosts pulled away with a 21-11 third act.
Olympiacos Piraeus is also still unbeaten after a narrow 68-69 win over Maccabi Tel Aviv, which takes its first loss. This was a one-point win, but any victory in Israel is massive. Olympiacos was up 45-51 through thirty minutes on the floor and managed to weather a 23-point barrage by the hosts in the fourth act. Georgios Printezis secured 21 points in the win.
In Catalonia, FC Barcelona was handed its second loss of the season courtesy of a 75-81 victory for visiting Zalgiris Kaunas. Last season was testing for Barcelona and the evidence so far suggests the former Turkish Airlines EuroLeague champ is in a transition. Zalgiris has opened its season with a 2-1 record and won here by leading the scoreboard through each quarter.
In the Spanish capital, Real Madrid joined Khimki and Olympiacos as the three undefeated clubs with a big 100-90 win over Milan. The Italian champs were undone by a consistent problem … Milan is hot in offence but is often undone in defence. Here, Real Madrid exploited it to full extent with a 54-point first half led by Luka Doncic with 27 points. Milan will be concerned with its 0% record this season.
CSKA Moscow and Panathinaikos Athens have both lost one from two games, so this clash of former champs was important. As it was, CSKA used home advantage to secure a cruising 81-63 victory. The hosts got the Russian crowd pumped and set up the victory with a 27-15 first quarter. Panathinaikos struggled to get into the game enough to reduce the deficit before CSKA closed it out in the fourth act.
Reigning Turkish Airlines EuroLeague champs Fenerbahce Istanbul picked up its second win of the season in a heated Istanbul derby. The club took out Anadolu Efes Istanbul 81-70, sending its city rival to 0-3 record without a single win. After trading the first two quarters, the game was locked 34-34 through the long break. Fenerbahce used a 28-18 run to put some distance on the scoreboard and collect the win.
Baskonia Vitoria is off to a torrid start this 2017/2018. In an all-Spanish clash, reigning ACB Liga Endesa holders Valencia inflicted a third straight defeat (63-80) to leave Baskonia without a win. It was a cruising success too, one which leaves Valencia on 2-1. The guests led 13-28 after ten minutes and rarely looked back, easing to success as the home team barely put up a fight. During the second half, Baskonia managed just 24 points.
Brose Bamberg bagged its first win of the season by travelling to the EuroCup champs and beating Unicaja Malaga 76-80. As the score suggests, it was a close contest and it looked to be going to the hosts after thirty minutes, with the Spanish club leading 58-54. However, the German visitors of Bamberg left the best until last and drained 26 game-winning points in the final quarter.