Panathinaikos Athens is the only undefeated team after week 5 of the Euroleague: the greeks who sport a familiar Celtic-like clover in the team logo manhandled French Chorale Roanne 123-83, tied the Euroleague record of most points scored in a game and took advantage of the contemporary loss of Real Madrid (4-1) at the hands of Barcelona in the classic "Spanish derby" to take the lead of the group. Ex-Rocket Vassilis Spanoulis shot a perfect 5-for-5 and Andrija Zizić dropped 26 on 10-for-10 shooting as Panathinaikos canned shots at a 62.5% pace.
In the weekly "Clash of the Former Celtics" Milt Palacio outscored Allan Ray as Partizan Beograd (3 won – 2 lost) upended Lottomatica Rome (1-4) 91-86 at the Pionir Palace in Beograd. Palacio had 15 points (6-for-11 shooting, 6 assists) while Ray scored 14 (3-for-6). Young big man Nikola Pekovic was the top scorer of the game with 21 points as he dominated the glass and snatched 8 rebounds, and 21 years old forward Noviča Velicković added 16 points and 10 boards.
Unicaja Málaga (4-1) defeated Belgian Le Mans (0-5) and took advantage of Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius’ (4-1) loss to take the lead of Group B. The Spaniards built a 13 point lead at the half, but played an awful third quarter (6 points scored in 10 minutes) and saw their lead dwindling away. Unicaja roared back in the fourth period and thanks to a couple of timely three point shots by Bojan Popovic, sealed the game 83-74. Former Celtic Jiri Welsch scored 7 points (2-for-4 shooting, 4 assists) for Unicaja, while French sensation Nicolas Batum registered 12 (4-for-11 shooting, 3 rebounds) for Le Mans. Maccabi Tel Aviv (3-2) seemed to be in control of the game after three quarters of play: the Israeli held a 23 points lead over Cibona Zagreb (2-3) late in the third stanza, but the Croatians charged back and cut the lead to 3 with 36 seconds to go in regulation. But that was as close as Cibona could get, as Yotam Halperin fed Marcus fizer for the dunk that wrapped it up. Estéban Batista played sparingly but contributed with a key basket in the paint. Another strong outing marked by 9 points (3-for-3 shooting, 4 rebounds) in 13 minutes is making fans wonder why coach Oded Kattash isn’t playing him more. Maybe it’s the 4 turnovers? Will Bynum added 2 points and 5 steals, and former Bull Marcus Fizer scored 11 on 4-for-7 shooting.Read more...
PREMIER LEAGUE – ISRAEL
Maccabi Tel Aviv (4-0), as usual, is dominating the competition in Israel. Hapoel Gilboa/Afula played the sacrificial lamb as Maccabi cruised to a 101-80 away win. Maccabi shot a terrific 77% from the field, an awesome 43% from three point range and pulled away right from the start. Local hero Yotam Halperin led the team in scoring with 18 points, while Estéban Batista scored 11 (3-for-3 shooting, 5-for-6 free throw shooting) in just 13 minutes of play.
"LEGA A" – ITALY
The Boston Celtics of the Italian League is Montepaschi Siena (11-0): the green jerseys and the winning attitude were clear as the tuscanian team defeated Benetton Treviso (3-8) 85-71. Terrell McIntyre scored 22 points and one of my favorite Euro players (whose name would drive Mike Gorman crazy), Ksistof Lavrinovic poured 18 (4-for-5 from three point range) and snatched 5 boards in 20 minutes of play. Lottomatica Rome (8-3) defeated Tisettanta Cantù (3-8) 78-67 as the capital city team reaches the second place in the standings. Allan Ray didn’t seem in the parting mood, though, after he shot 1-for-4, and registered more turnovers (3) than points (2) in 25 minutes of play. Icelandic guard Jon Stefansson had 15 points and 7 rebounds for Rome. Brandon Hunter scored 17 points and snatched 9 boards and Kevinn Pinkney added 13 points and 6 rebounds as Angelico Biella (7-4) upended Legea Scafati (3-8) 95-88 to grab the third place in the standings. Legea in desperate search of a big man, soon after the game announced the signing of Ruben "Never Say Die" Wolkowyski, fresh from the cut by polish team Prokom Sopot. Solsonica Rieti’s (6-5) defense focused on Jumaine Jones and managed to shut Eldo Napoli (3-8) down 77-68. The former Celtic shot a sub-par 6-for-17 and turned the ball over 7 times, and his 21 points and 11 rebounds were good only for the boxscore. Jamel Thomas added 3 points and 1 board in 17 minutes of play.
"ACB" – SPAIN
DKV Joventut Badalona and Real Madrid (8-1) are the two teams leading the ACB after week 9: the Catalans easily mashed Akasvayu Girona (5-4) 92-73 thanks to the incredible performance of young phenom Ricky Rubio (25 points on 6-for-9 shooting, 12-for-12 from the "charity stripe"). Rudy Fernández had 25 points too, showing incredible marksmanship from three point range (6-for-9), and Jerome Moiso had 4 points and 2 board in 15 minutes of play marred by constant foul trouble. Marc Gasol registered 19 points and 10 rebounds for Girona. Pamesa Valencia (6 won – 3 lost) is back on the winning path: "Los Naranja" upended C.B. Granada (4-5) 74-67 as Ruben Douglas scored 17 points, Shammond Williams added 10 (3-for-10 shooting) and 6 rebounds, and Albert Miralles had 5 points and 6 rebounds. For Granada, Curtis Borchardt scored 12 points and snatched 7 rebounds. Unicaja Málaga (3-6) finally managed to get back on track in the Spanish League: a team which is topping the Euroleague with a (4-1) had struggled to a 2-6 record before soundly thrashing Grupo Capitol Valladolid 103-65 (3-6). Jiri Welsch was back in double figure, scoring 18 (8-for-12 shooting) and dishing out 6 assists.
"SUPERLEAGUE" – RUSSIA
No news about Joe Forte, who wasn’t in the lineup for the third time in a row as slumping Unics Kazan (5-4) was crushed by CSKA Moscow (9-1) 93-61. Rumors say he is injured, although no official statement has been issued yet. Spartak Vladivostok (4-5) overran Lokomotiv Novosibirsk (1-7) 97-65 as J.R. Bremer scored 18 points and dished out 11 assists. Arizona alum Joe Blair added 19 points and 10 rebounds, and local star Aleksandar Makshantev scored 20.
ADRIATIC LEAGUE – FORMER YUGOSLAVIAPartizan Beograd (10-1) easily defended its first place in the standings by roughing Union Olimpija Ljubljana (6-5) 83-60. Milt Palacio’s shooting was subpar (1-for-6, 4 points), but big man Nikola Peković was up to the challenge as he poured 17 on 5-for-7 shooting. Črvena Žvezda (Red Star) Beograd (9-2) keeps tailing the rivals after a 92-71 triumph over Geoplin Slovan Ljubljana (3-8). Omar Cook was perfect as he canned 3 treys and 2 free throws without a miss and added 6 assists in 23 minutes of play. KK Split could not stand the heat of Široki’s Puerto-rican big man Karim Sharif Fajardo, who scored 25 points as the Bosnians won 79-77, the second success in eleven games. Marlon Garnett scored 19 points (6-for-14 shooting) losing effort points.