If Anadolu Efes is supposed to have merit as a contender, they sure aren’t supposed to let a team with ten losses take them to overtime in their own building. But for a second straight week, Jordan Farmar scored 20-something and Istanbul’s darlings resisted the urge to tumble into their old ways, closing it out against Bamberg 89-86.
Above them in Group E, Real Madrid couldn’t respond, losing to Unicaja 77-74.
Even with Madrid throwing fresh bodies at him–Marcus Slaughter, Rafael Hettsheimer, Nikola
Mirotic–the Spaniards had no answer for Luka Zoric, and the Croatian big man ended up with 21 points, 12 boards and a pair of steals and blocks. Now, Madrid and Efes sit atop Group E at 9-2, with the Turks carrying the head-to-head tiebreaker after beating the Spaniards 74-72 in the seventh game of the Top 16.
Madrid picked a Hell of a day to go 5-of-23 from three, as leading scorer Rudy Fernandez (13.2) didn’t suit up for the Madrileños. But luckily for Fernandez that meant no more walks to or from the team bus, where last week he was allegedly attacked by two Zalgiris fans in Lithuania after Madrid’s overtime win against Zalgiris on March 7.
To my knowledge, Simonas Baranauskas broke the story with this tweet.
Rudy Fernandez got punched in the face by a fan, as he was heading to the bus. Plenty of blood, reportedly. Only in Kaunas.
— Simonas Baranauskas (@LithuaniaBasket) March 7, 2013
The Rudy hatred stemmed from this game earlier in the season between Madrid and Zalgiris, when Rudy ruffled some feathers with some trademark shenanigans, and that influenced these creative signs at Zalgirio Arena for the re-match and, eventually, the post game attack.
After an independent investigation by the Euroleague, the Macius brothers (devout Zalgiris fans and the perpetrators of the attack) have been banned for life from the arena, Zalgiris has been fined €25,000 and security will supposedly be buffed up near the busses (fences, guards, the whole nine) to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again.
Olympiacos went into Siena and held Bobby Brown to a Top 16-low eight points, as the Reds’ athletic duo of Kyle Hines and Kostas Papanikolaou paid huge defensive dividends and Olympiacos won 68-67. Hines, the 6-foot-5 center who gets off the floor quickly and recovers on screens as easily as a guard, might be the toughest two-way match-up in all of Europe at the moment; Papanikolaou has proven time and time again that his approach doesn’t loosen with more playing time, and the 22-year-old small forward responded to a career-high 37 minutes with 11 points (1-of-2 from two, 3-of-6 from three), seven rebounds, two assists, two steals, two blocks and no turnovers.
Amazingly, Papanikolaou has turned it over just twice in his last 125 minutes of floor time.
With the NCAA tourney bearing down on us, a look at some of the Americans performing at both ends of the spectrum and a 6-foot-10 Serb who could make the jump to the Timberwolves as soon as next season.