Since BiE will typically have to play catch-up with a week’s worth of Euroleague games on Saturdays, a new concept comes to the website in the Sunday hangover. Those of you who have followed BallinEurope since the days of its origins may recall the old “Monday cigarettes” column – and this one hopes to recall those days (but with video clips!). And so, notes and observations from the opening week of play in the big league…
• Sure to move up in the Euroleague power rankings: Emporio Armani Milano. In one of the few games BiE saw *live* this week, Sergio Scariolo’s side may have exposed Anadolu Efes Pilsen’s weakness in perimeter defense. Keith Langford was good for 16 points and Malik Hairston for 10 with a combined 6-of-11 on threes; heck, if this pair had performed a little better than their eye-popping 3-of-13 inside the arc, Milano could have notched a double-digit victory.
Tough to make a judgment call on daunted re-pairing of Sasha Vujacic and Jordan Farmar, as Anadolu’s game plan went to hell once Semih Erden performed disappointingly. With the likes of Stanko Barac (four TOs in just over eight minutes of court time) and Dusko Savanovic left to bang bodies, Ioannis Bourossis ate Efes Pilsen’s lunch.
Crazy what one week does in the Euroleague: Suddenly, Milano appears to dandy-looking Euroleague lineup with Bourossis, Langford, Hairston, Omar Cook and Antonis Fotsis – if very little bench to back it up. And Anadolu now looks a bit like a team that could have used a bit more practice. BiE’s feeling while watching was that the Istanbul’s offensive sets lacked zip; a look at the highlight video shows an astonishing lack of off-ball movement from Anadolu – particularly when Vujacic and Farmar aren’t in the game…
• What are they talking about in Chicago? Former Bull Andres Nocioni’s unfortunate miss to cap Caja Laboral Baskonia’s loss to Olympiacos.
• An annual tradition was observed right on schedule this season, as a Lithuanian powerhouse fired its coach: Lietuvos Rytas assistant coach Darius Maskoliunas has been promoted into Aleksandar Dzikic’s spot. A former member of Team Lithuania, Žalgiris Kaunas and Asseco Prokom, Maskoliunas last head-coached in 2009-10 when Gintaras Krapikas resigned from Žalgiris.
Ironically/absolutely typically enough, a couple of weeks ago, Žalgiris mastermind Vladimir Romanov denied firing Ilias Zouros because of a loss to CSKA Moscow early in 2011-12. Surely L.Rytas’ stirring show in a losing effort against The Red Army this week wasn’t the cause of Dzikic’s sacking…?
• Speaking of those Russians … looking a heck of a lot more vulnerable are CSKA Moscow. To say that CSKA lost so much with the departure of Andrei Kirilenko – that devasting European range, that long wingspan suited for a lanky PF, the court vision of a guard – would be simplistic excuse-making, not to mention cliché. But geez, was the AK-47’s absence the reason for the squeaked-out two-point victory over unheralded Lietuvos Rytas in Moscow? Otherwise, BiE can’t figure it out beyond some lazy defense from the backcourt that collapsed the CSKA middle repeatedly – mostly when new addition/instant hero Sonny Weems wasn’t around. Of course, there’s always this…
• Teodosic watch: Since the Serbian’s big blowup in the fourth quarter of the 2012 Euroleague championship game, BallinEurope has been tracking Milos Teodosic’ self-destructiveness in tight fourth quarters; the results have been shocking. Against Lietuvos Rytas in a nail-biter, Teodosic entered the game with about three minutes remaining in the final period. Up to this point, Milos had managed an effective if quiet night, running up eight points on 3-of-shooting while adding a couple of assists.
Teodosic’s stat line for the fourth quarter: two points on 0-of-3 shooting; one assist, one steal, one rebound, two TOs, three personal fouls.
In short, WWMD? (Or “What will Messina do?”)
• BiE sat through the Maccabi-Unicaja Malaga match live on Thursday night and remains unsure as to why he still doesn’t quite believe in the rebuilt Tel Aviv. Perhaps it was the way Earl Calloway looked so unstoppable in a way BiE’s unaccustomed to seeing; maybe it was the fact that Malaga displayed no passing game (five assists and 14 turnovers, read the stats; is this correct?) yet still outhustled and burned (ostensibly) better players time and again. When will this team come together?
• Hey, did you know that there’s a rapper with the tag Euro League? Oddly enough, he’s from the Bronx…
Tags: Aleksandar Dzikic, Anadolu Efes Pilsen, Andrei Kirilenko, Andres Nocioni, Antonis Fotsis, Asseco Prokom, basketball highlights, Caja Laboral Baskonia, CSKA Moscow, Darius Maskoliūnas, Dusko Savanovic, Earl Calloway, Emporio Armani Milano, Euroleague, Euroleague 2012-13, Gintaras Krapikas, Ilias Zouros, Ioannis Bourossis, Jordan Farmar, Keith Langford, Lietuvos Rytas, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Malik Hairston, Milos Teodosic, Olympiacos, Omar Cook, Sasha Vujacic, Semih Erden, Sergio Scariolo, Sonny Weems, Stanko Barac, Team Lithuania, Unicaja Malaga, Vladimir Romanov, Zalgiris Kaunas