"LEGA A" – ITALY
Another ex Celtic joins an Euro team: Jumaine Jones (left), the player who is the answer to the trivia question "who was the first player acquired by Danny Ainge in a non-draft trade". Jones signed for the Naples’ team last week, and then scored 22 points (7 for 10 from the floor, 3 for 5 from three point range) in his debut to lead Eldo to a 90-84 away win over Cimberio Varese (2-6). Jamel Thomas, the other Naples’ ex-Celtic, seemed revitalized as he canned 17 points (7 for 20 shooting) and snatched 7 boards in 33 minutes of play.
In the game of the week, dreadnought Montepaschi Siena (8-0) breezed over Angelico Biella (5-3) 100-65. The game was close for just a few minutes, and when Siena pulled away the whole attendance knew it was for good. Former Celtics Brandon Hunter (12 points and 9 rebounds) and Kevinn Pinkney (7 points and 5 boards) did all they could to keep Biella in the game, but Lithuanian forward Ksistof Lavrinovic (20 points, 6 rebounds, 3 blocks) couldn’t be kept at bay on both sides of the court. Lottomatica Rome (5-3) silenced the critics with an important 85-81 away win over Benetton Treviso (2-6). Allan Ray, spurred by the team owner’s criticism, finally came to play, scoring 19 points and grabbing 8 rebounds. So long for "The Ghost" nickname, or is it just a good break?
CSKA Moscow (2 won -0 lost) won the showdown of Group A by edging Montepaschi Siena 74-70 and extended its home-court winning streak to 19 Euroleague games at Universal Sports Arena of Moscow. Matjaz Smodis led the winners with 16 points while Italian Montepaschi dropped to 1-1. A week ago we were left wondering if Partizan Beograd’s big man Nikola Pekovic would have managed to back up his debut antics (29 points and 14 rebounds) with another strong outing. Pekovic indeed showed he is no hoax, converting a three point play with 7.8 seconds on the clock to lead the Croatian team to a 88-87 win over French champion Chorale Roanne (1 won – 1 lost). While Roanne is considered one of the rear echelon teams of the competition, Pekovic’s 23 points and 7 rebounds still stand as one of the top performances of week 2. For Partizan (2-0), ex-Celtic Milt Palacio scored 13 points (5 for 13 shooting) and dished out 6 assits. Lithuanian team Lietuvos Rytas (2-0) handed Maccabi Tel Aviv (1-1) its first loss of a season riding its best shooters all the way. Rytas shot an astounding 12 for 23 from beyond the arc, with Mindaugas Lukauskis (16 points) hitting both his treys and Arturas Jomantas (19 points) going 5 for 8 from the distance in the 92-73 blowout. In the meantime, Estéban Batista watched the game while being administered his first DNP-CD of the season. As it had happened in the Euroleague opener, Lottomatica Rome wasn’t able to play well in the clutch, and dropped to 0-2. Real Madrid (2-0) won the thriller thanks to former Utah Jazz Raul Lopez, who canned a three point shot to break an 81-81 tie and later iced the game with two free throws. Former Celtic Allan Ray’s inconsistency (0 for 3 shooting in 20 minutes of play) prompted Rome’s team owner Claudio Toti harsh comment: "Until now he’s been a ghost for us". Pacers’ second round draft pick Erazem Lorbek scored 24 points and snatched 6 rebounds for Lottomatica to get the MVP of the Week honours. Lithuanian top team Zalgiris Kaunas (1-1) kept working even when trailing polish Prokom Sopot (0-2) by 18, and was able to turn an abysmal performance in an 82-72 win. 22 years old Lithuanian national Jonas Maciulis had 17 points and 6 rebounds for Zalgiris, while Prokom’s Travis Best scored 20 losing effort points and former Celtic Ruben Wolkowyski had 9 points (4 for 9 shooting) and 1 rebound in 19 minutes of play. Unicaja Málaga (1-1) thrashed Croatian team Cibona Zagreb (1-1) 102-64 when Davor Kus – a former Zagreb player – went in "the zone" sinking all his five attempts from three points land. Kus’ 23 points were the top of a game which blew open in the second quarter, when Unicaja destroyed Cibona 33-16. Ex Celtic Jiri Welsch scored 7 points (2 for 6 shooting), handed out 6 assists and had 4 steals coming from the bench.
PREMIER LEAGUE – ISRAEL
Vonteego Cummings (18 points) was a key factor in Maccabi Tel Aviv’s 90-87 win over Ironi Nahariya on day 1 of the Israeli league. With Maccabi ahead 88-87, Cummings stole the ball from Saša Ocokoljic, scored on the break and gave Tel Aviv a three points cushion with just three ticks left on the clock. Estéban Batista finally saw some action scoring 9 points.
"ACB" – SPAIN
Joventut Badalona stormed Grupo Begar Leon’s (1-5) arena, winning 90-80 to improve to 5 won – 1 lost and keep the lead of the Spanish league. Jerome Moiso had 8 points, 4 rebounds and 2 blocks in the win. Pamesa Valencia (4-2) manhandled Gran Canaria (3-3) right from the start, and kept the defensive pressure up to the final buzzer with a 21-3 run in the final stanza. Ex-Celtic Shammond Williams scored 11 points in the 75-51 win, and Albert Miralles had just 2 with 3 rebounds in 11 minutes of play. Unicaja Málaga (2-4) found out that Vive Menorca wasn’t ready to play the sacrificial lamb as Cibona Zagrabia had done at Palacio Martín Carpena just three days before: led by Serbians Marko Marinovic (20 points) and Ratko Varda (17), the "islanders" pulled the upset of the week with a score of 83-66 and won for the first time this season. Jiri Welsch scored just 4 points, all from the "charity stripe", and shot 0 for 5 from the field.
"SUPERLEAGUE" – RUSSIA
Only a handful of games were played in the last week of the Russian’s top league. League leader CSKA Moscow (7-0) easily defeated Triumph Moscow (7-1) in the game of the week. David Andersen (a big man who had reportedly drawn some interest from former Celtics GM Chris Wallace a couple of years ago) scored 16 points, and the "Alaskan Assassin" Trajan Langdon had 13. Unics Kazan (4-3) is still struggling, as its poor outing vs. Lokomotiv Rostov (3-3) eloquently showed. Unics couldn’t stop Anthony Goldwire, who scored 23 points as Rostov pulled the upset 83-77. Kazan’s coach Antanas Sireika seems to be losing his faith in Joe Forte, limiting his playing time and his offensive responsibilities. Forte missed a shot and went scoreless in 9 minutes of play in the deafeat. Former Celtic J.R. Bremer finally dominated a game, scoring 25 points (8 for 17 shooting), dishing 13 dimes and snatching 6 boards in the Spartak Primorie Vladivostok’s (2-4) 88-78 win over low seeded Enisey Krasnoyarsk (0-8).
ADRIATIC LEAGUE – FORMER YUGOSLAVIA
In the game between the two teams sharing the top of the standings, Partizan Beograd (7 won – 1 lost) upended Crvena Zvezda 82-67 to take control of the Adriatic League. Milt Palacio scored 17 points (2 for 4 from the distance), but once again the star was Nikola Pekovic, the Serbian forward who is storming the courts of Europe with his skilled inside play. Pekovic scored 23 points on 8 for 9 shooting (7 for 7 from the line) as no "Red Star" played managed to limit his offense. The other former Celtic Omar Cook was Crvena Zvezda’s only real threat , scoring 24 point (7 for 16 shooting and 2 assists), but he wasn’t enough to keep the game close in the final period. KK Split (3-5) could not stop Cibona Zagreb’s (5-3) couple Chris Warren (21 points, 8 rebounds) and Larry Ayuso (28 points), and fell 78-84. Marlon Garnett scored 13 losing effort points (5 for 12 shooting).
PLK – POLAND
Champion Prokom Sopot (3-1)was surprised by Polpak Swiecie (4-1) in week 5 of the polish league. Polpak had 16 points and 8 assists from Bobby Dixon and managed to pull away early and to resist every comeback attempt in the 79-68 win. Ex Celtic Ruben Wolkowyski scored 1 point and grabbed 2 rebounds in 19 minutes of action.