The Euroleague, European basketball’s top level of competition, just finished the first half of the 4th round of the Top 16 round. With some of Europe’s top teams taking the floor, we take a look at some of the top performers around the league through Thursday night in this week’s Eurohoops update.
Teodosic and De Colo star in CSKA Moscow’s victory over Unicaja Malaga
CSKA Moscow continued their perfect Top 16 campaign, breezing past the Spanish side Unicaja Malaga 101-74 behind the brilliant backcourt play of Milos Teodosic and Nando De Colo. CSKA now sits atop Group B with a 4-0 record, and are looking like a virtual lock to make the Euroleague quarterfinals.
Teodosic, one of this decade’s top European point guards, set a Euroleague Top 16 record with 14 assists to go along with 13 points, reaping the benefits of being the lead guard on a team that shot 65.9% from 2 and 56.5% from 3.
Former Spur and Raptor Nando De Colo, was perfect from the field, scoring a season high 28 points on 7/7 from 2PT, 4/4 from 3PT and 2/2 from the line. De Colo returned to Europe this season after two years of being a relative non-factor in the NBA, and has quickly reestablished himself as one of the top guards in Europe.
With a deep bench filled with talent, coach Dimitris Itoudis has his team rolling, with CSKA looking like the odds on favorite to win the Euroleague title this season. However, as we saw last year in Maccabi Tel-Aviv’s miracle run in the final four, CSKA will still need a little bit of luck if they want to bring the title home to Moscow.
Vesley, Bogdanovic and Bjelica outshine Brooks and Hackett as Fenerbahce defeats Milano
Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul was powered behind the inspired play of their three former NBA draft picks and were able to step up on a quite night for Andrew Goudelock to pull off an impressive win over EA7 Emporio Armani Milano to move to 2-2 in Top 16 play.
Former lottery pick Jan Vesely was fantastic, finishing the night with 15 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks, continuing his solid play over the last two weeks after a rough start to January.
Bogdan Bogdanovic, who is being stashed in Europe by the Phoenix Suns after being selected 27th this past summer, finished the game with a season high 8 assists to go along with 11 points. Bogdanovic is having a solid, but unspectacular season for Fenerbahce, proving he belongs with a big time European club, but showing he may need at least another full year of seasoning before he is ready to contribute in the NBA.
Nemanja Bjelica, whose rights have been held by Minnesota since he was selected 35th in the 2010 NBA draft, had a strong showing with 14 points and 9 rebounds. Bjelica has really upped his play this season, specifically in the rebounding department, averaging a career high 6.7 rebounds per game in Euroleague and a ranking second in the Turkish league with 9 rebounds a game. After hiring power agent Arn Tellem to represent him after a breakout showing in the World Cup, it is possible Bjelica could be joining the Wolves next season if he continues his impressive play this season.
Milano was led by former first rounder MarShon Brooks, who finished with 24 points, and a double-double by Daniel Hackett, who had 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Real Madrid rolls past Panathinaikos in a big night for Felipe Reyes
Real Madrid remains undefeated in Top 16 play with a 83-65 with over Panathinaikos that was probably even more of a blowout than the final score suggested.
Real Madrid’s backcourt came out with a great energy and significantly limited former Euroleague MVP Dimitris Diamantidis, who contributed most of his 6 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds when the game was already out of reach. Real Madrid’s backcourt took their assignment to slow down the legendary point guard to the point where Argentinian PG Facundo Campazzo literally flipped him over his back.
Spanish veteran Felipe Reyes had a fantastic performance, finishing with 18 points and 9 rebounds. Reyes finished the night a mere 10 rebounds shy of the Euroleague record for career rebounds, and should not have a problem passing Mirsad Turkan to become the competition’s all-time leading rebounder before the season’s end. Reyes has been a dependable commodity in the Euroleague, the Spanish league and with the national team for quite some time, and there is no question that he has earned his place as one of the most important contributors to European basketball over the last decade and a half.
Redding leads Alba Berlin over Galatasaray
Alba Berlin pulled off a nice win over Turkish side Galatasaray Liv Hospital Istanbul, winning 75-65. Guard Reggie Redding led the way for the winners with 16 points and 5 rebounds, continuing his stellar season that started with a memorable steal as Alba upset the Spurs in the preseason. Redding was helped by good performances by Jamel McLean (8 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists) and Alex Renfroe (5 points, 4 rebounds, 9 assists), as Alba moved to 2-2 in Top 16 play.
Galatasaray was paced by Zoran Erceg, who poured in 19 points on 3/10 from 3PT after having a quiet 4 point performance last week. Erceg is having a career season for Galatasaray, with the 30 year old stretch forward averaging 16.7 points in Euroleague play. If Galatasaray wants to qualify for the quarterfinals, they will need to hope Erceg will shoot them into more games than he shoots them out of.
MORE EUROHOOPS COLUMNS:
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FORMER NBA FIRST-ROUND PICKS THRIVING IN EUROPE
FIVE AMERICANS OVERSEAS WHO CAN MAKE THE JUMP TO THE NBA
HERZONJA BREAKS OUT, SARIC AND JOKIC DOMINATE
SERBIAN FAN KILLED IN TURKEY; OMAR COOK SETS ASSISTS RECORD
GOUDELOCK SETS 3-POINT RECORD; OSMAN STANDS OUT FOR EFES
SARIC COMES ALIVE; ANDERSEON STANDS OUT FOR ZALGIRIS; MACCABI IN TROUBLE?
SPANOULIS AND TEODOSIC LIGHTING UP EUROPE; SARIC? NOT SO MUCH
AJ Mitnick is an American living in Israel and working as an assistant coach in the Israeli Basketball Winner League. A graduate of IDC Herzliya, Mitnick is an assistant coach with Bnei Herzliya, following three seasons with Maccabi Rishon-Lezion. Follow him on Twitter.