Yes, ladies and gentlemen it’s official! Euroleague has finally begun. And DunkStories will be there every week offering you a complete overview of the most notable moments on and off-court. Without further ado, it’s time that we take a closer look at the highlights of the first round:
I know that the majority of you would expect Barcelona in this category. But no! In my opinion, Malaga is the big winner for the first week of Euroleague. Joan Plaza managed to present a great team against the 2017 Euroleague champions of Fenerbahce (68-67). Despite the fact that the Turkish giant was holding a 7-point difference by the end of the third quarter (50-57), Malaga managed to find the way to return in the game and eventually win. Dragan Milosavljevic and Dejan Musli played their role greatly and helped the Spanish team to overcome the obstacle of Zeljko Obradovic. As far as Fenerbahce is concerned, Kostas Sloukas (23p. 7as.) and Jan Vesely (19p. 8rb.) did an amazing effort but in the end they couldn’t save the day for their team.
Anadolu Efes had a very bad night against Real Madrid. The ambitious transfers of the Efes and the fact that the game was taking place in Turkey weren’t enough. The final result was without doubt disheartening. To the contrary, Real Madrid controlled the game from the beginning and grabbed a valuable win. Luka Doncic (27p.), Gustavo Ayon (16p. 10rb.) and Anthony Randolph (12p. 8rb) were the most valuable players for Pablo Laso’s team, while the new-comer Errick McCollum (26p.) tried to keep Anadolu Efes in the game with no great success. Big win for Real Madrid and a lot of homework for Perasovic and his players.
It goes without saying, Panathinaikos! The 6 times Euroleague champions were more than disappointing in the opening game of the season. Xavi Pascual was hoping for a better return to Catalonia but this didn’t happen. The front line of his team seemed unable to defend against Kevin Seraphin (24p. 9rb.). On top of that, the “Greens” finished the game with 55% from the charity line and 11% in three-points. Panathinaikos has to change a lot if they want to be in Belgrade next May, while Barcelona seems to be back in the game after last year’s nightmare. The “Blaugrana” seemed to have great balance on their game and it will be extremely interesting to see how they will react in the upcoming weeks. A very promising start, in any case, though!
And the MVP:
Many strong candidates on the list, but I think that Pierre Jackson was the man of the night. Maccabi’s new point-guard did everything perfect (27p. 7rb. 9as.) and showed that an extremely interesting season is coming for the Israeli fans. What makes his performance even more impressive is that Jackson had Maccabi’s highest PR Index Rating, 41, since 2008. But that’s not all! He also claimed the Best PIR by a Euroleague player in any opening game this decade. A night to remember for Pierre!
That’s all folks for now! More action and Euroleague news next week after the completion of round 2. Until then…