Credit: BNS, ANE Edition, ZUMApress.com - Scanpix
Credit BNS, ANE Edition, ZUMApress.com - Scanpix

BasketNews presents its very first Turkish Airlines EuroLeague beat edition. Here, you’ll be able to find all the info you need about what happened in the latest EuroLeague round.

The comeback of the fans, Martin Schiller’s firing, incredible Panathinaikos’ run at the end of the game, improved Barcelona, Mike James' factor, return of the MVP, Olympiacos' defense, Baskonia's struggles – all of that and many things more – in EuroLeague’s Round 2 beat.

EuroLeague's beat Round 2

WELCOME BACK, FANS. After a very long break, Zalgiris Kaunas welcomed its fan the way we are used to it. In their first home EuroLeague game against Zenit St. Petersburg, Zalgiris greeted 10,153 fans – almost the maximum allowed capacity.

After the game, both Xavi Pascual and Martin Schiller gave credit to the supporters.

“I can’t avoid congratulating Zalgiris one more time for this amazing atmosphere we had tonight. It’s always a pleasure to be over there,” Pascual said after the game.

“This is probably the most beautiful arena in the competition and one of the greatest atmospheres. It’s amazing what I feel over there,” he added.

Meanwhile, Schiller also emphasized the importance of home crowd.

“I have to really credit the fans. I thought they were fantastic. They’re a massive sixth man, and we need them,” said Zalgiris coach.

Despite fans’ efforts, Zalgiris lost the game 64-70.

FIRED. Those words to the fans were one of the lasts for Schiller. Zalgiris decided to part ways with the Austrian coach the following day after a defeat against Zenit.

“It is obvious that the team isn’t playing at the level, which everybody wants to see. We have mentioned a few days ago that everyone has to take responsibility for it,” Zalgiris director Paulius Motiejunas said in a statement. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t waste the precious time and had to take a quick decision.”

“It doesn’t mean that everything that Coach Schiller was doing didn’t work. Throughout 15 months, we took a lot of positivity from our collaboration. We want to thank Coach Schiller for his work and dedication.”

CLUTCH. Jordan Loyd scored the last six Zenit’s points, including the tough jump over Janis Strelnieks and both free throws in the final moments of the game.

He was the top-performer of the game, finishing the duel with 19 points (6/8 2PT, 1/3 3PT, 4/4 FT), 1 assist, 1 steal, 5 drawn fouls, and 19 PIR.

STRUGGLING. Zalgiris’ marquee signing Emmanuel Mudiay is still looking for the best version of himself.

In the game against Zenit, the former 7th NBA pick played only 12 minutes and scored 4 points (2/5 2PT, 0/2 3PT), adding 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 turnovers, and accumulating 1 PIR.

THE ESCAPE. With 40.3 seconds left to play, Panathinaikos OPAP Athens had a 5 points deficit (82-87), but that didn’t stop Greek champions.

Nemanja Nedovic and Darryl Macon responded with four made free throws to cut their team’s deficit to one with 10 seconds to go (86-87). Luckily for Panathinaikos, Devin Booker was awarded an unsportsmanlike foul with 2 seconds remaining.

Nedovic converted both free throws, Papapetrou added two more, helping their team steal a four-point victory.

WOKE UP. Even though Nedovic only had 2 points at halftime, he ended up leading his team with 20 points (3/6 2PT, 1/6 3PT, 11/11 FT), 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 turnover, and 20 PIR.

FAIR PLAY. Fenerbahce’s head coach Sasha Djordjevic used his words carefully after the game, referring to the last seconds’ decisions.

As a coach of the team that lost, I cannot say how I feel until I see in the video what exactly happened,” Djordjevic said. “I do not know what to say exactly. I think of mixed things. I do not want to say anything that could be wrong to the athletes and the team that won.”

Credit AP-Scanpix

“I always want the games to be fair. I do not think that fair play was observed against us throughout the match. We have to live with unsportsmanlike fouls or an unsportsmanlike foul with 2.9 seconds left,” he added.

RUINED PARTY. Just like Zalgiris, Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv welcomed more than 10 thousand supporters and got a sold-out crowd, but despite that, they lost 63-75 to Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade.

After three quarters, Maccabi had only 37 points, and only the high-scoring fourth quarter made things better. However, it didn’t have much effect on the outcome of the game.

ECSTATIC. Crvena Zvezda’s head coach Dejan Radonjic didn’t hide his emotions after the win, stating that it was a stellar performance of his team.

“I would like to congratulate my players on this win. We played a good game, a great game, even,” Radonjic said after the victory. “It was a very particular situation given the number of the injured players, but we have found the energy and played smart defensively. We have managed to fully realize on the court everything we planned before the match.”

SECOND HALF SHOW. FC Barcelona ground 80-72 victory against FC Bayern Munich, and Cory Higgins was the star of the game.

Despite 0 points first half performance, the American guard finished with 16 points (2/4 2PT, 1/2 3PT, 9/11 FT), 5 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, 3 turnovers, and 25 PIR.

“As a team, we had the right mindset about being physical today, Higgins said post-game. “I was struggling in the first half, but my teammates and coach gave me confidence, and that’s what this team’s all about, we always pick each other up.”

STRETCH. Barcelona’s youngster Rokas Jokubaitis had a stellar two-minute stretch in which he scored 7 out of his 9 points. Before Jokubaitis’ run, Barca were trailing 7-13, but after that, Catalans were ahead 16-15.

IMPROVEMENT. When asked to compare Barcelona with last year, Bayern’s head coach Andrea Trinchieri was certain about Barca’s defense.

“For sure, they are better in defense. They played a good game and won it. It’s pretty simple, but I don’t know if they are better this season than they were the last one,” Italian said.

STRONG FINISH. UNICS Kazan went into the final period with an eight-point lead. However, AS Monaco had a strong quarter, almost winning the game in regulation and eventually bringing home an 88-80 overtime victory.

MIKE JAMES FACTOR. James didn't have a spectacular game but was clutch down the stretch. After being fouled with 2.1 seconds remaining in the fourth, he had a chance to win the game but only made one of two free throws. He redeemed himself in overtime, orchestrating the offense and bringing his team their second EuroLeague win.

INCREDIBLE DEFENSE. Olympiacos Piraeus held Real Madrid to 68 points and only 32 in the second half, taking a 74-68 win. Defense is proving to be a key factor for Olympiacos so far. They also limited Baskonia to just 50 points in their first game.

"In my opinion, the key was our defensive stability after the game, Giorgos Bartzokas said. "We were consistent on defense for 40 minutes, staying with our plan. Everybody gave everything on defense. It is not easy to hold Real Madrid to scoring 68 points. They have a lot of talent, and we needed to make a great effort on defense."

GETTING THEIR MONEY'S WORTH. Olympiacos handed Sasha Vezenkov a three-year, 2.7€ million contract in the off-season and it's paying off so far.

Vezenkov led the Greek powerhouse with 16 points, 10 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 turnover, and 10 PIR. He is averaging 16.0 points (71.4% 2PT), 6.5 rebounds, and 17 PIR in the first two Olympiacos games.

DYNAMIC DUO. LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne won their second straight contest led by their two backcourt players in Chris Jones and Elie Okobo. This time, they combined for 37 points to take down ALBA Berlin 71-67.

Jones is averaging 19.0 points (60% FG), 3.5 assists, 2.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals, and 19.0 PIR. Okobo is close behind with 18.0 points (79% FG), 4.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 17.0 PIR.

3-POINT STRUGGLES. ALBA only converted 6 of 33 long-range shots against ASVEL (18.2%), only making 14 of 60 threes (23.3%) through the first two EuroLeague games.

GEORGIAN NIGHTMARE. The new President of the EuroLeague Players Association, Tornike Shengelia, dominated in CSKA's 100-96 victory against Efes. He went off for 23 points (7/8 FG, 7/8 FT), 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 29 PIR.

"It was a thriller game. You have to give credit to Efes; they never gave up," Shengelia said. "But neither did we. Even though they came back to within a couple of points, we kept our cool and followed the game plan that coach gave us, and executed."

MVP IS BACK. Vasilije Micic only had 9 points and 0 PIR in Efes' first EuroLeague game of the season but came back with a vengeance against CSKA, scoring 32 points (7/11 3PT) and 23 PIR.

LACK OF HELP. Micic didn't get much help on offense, with the rest of the team only converting 4 of 18 (22.2%) from deep. Even though Shane Larkin finished with 12 points, he missed all 7 of his long-range attempts.

GRUELING START. Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz dropped four of six games of the new season, including two hopeless losses in the EuroLeague and the most recent one against Milan 61-73.

With just 57.5 points per game, Baskonia are the worst offensive team in the league so far. They have also lost by an average difference of 19.5 points, making them the lowest-rated team in the EuroLeague on that account.

BALANCED EFFORT. AX Armani Exchange Milan reached another team victory, with four players scoring in double digits. Nicolo Melli has been exceptional for Milan so far, accumulating 12.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 20.0 PIR.

SOLIDARITY: The head coach of Milan, Ettore Messina, supported his former colleague, Martin Schiller, after it was announced that Zalgiris have terminated his contract.

"In two games, a coach has already been fired," Messina said. "This is not a good day for coaches, and of course, clubs are fully free to do whatever they think is right to do, I am not questioning that."

"I am just saying that the EuroLeague is so challenging that every game is so important, every possession is so important, that to come out with a win tonight from my players means a lot, and I am very, very grateful," he concluded.

TOP Plays of the Round 2

Records of the Round 2

PIR
Tornike  Shengelia
Tornike Shengelia

Tornike Shengelia (29)

Points
Vasilije  Micic
Vasilije Micic

Vasilije Micic (32)

Rebounds
Luka  Mitrovic
Luka Mitrovic

 

 

 

Luka Mitrovic (11)

 

 

 

Assists
Shane  Larkin
Shane Larkin

Shane Larkin (7)

Steals
Nick  Calathes
Nick Calathes

 

 

 

Nick Calathes
Darrun Hilliard
Stefan Lazarevic

James Anderson

Rokas Giedraitis (4 each)

 

 

 

Blocks
Josh  Nebo
Josh Nebo

Josh Nebo
Walter Tavares (3 each)

3-pointers made
Vasilije  Micic
Vasilije Micic
Vasilije Micic (7)

Results of the Round 2

72-80
63-75
91-87
64-70
64-78
74-68
67-71
96-100
80-88

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