The Turkish Airlines Euroleague season got underway on Wednesay with Brose Baskets Bamberg and Galatasaray Liv Hospital getting off to a flying start. Bamberg defeated Strasbourg 84–70 in what was a comprehensive victory in the Brose Arina while Galatasaray saw off Montepaschi Siena 75–84 in the Nelson Mandela Arena.
Bamberg didn’t have the best of starts, trailing 16 – 21 after the first quarter, but when Jamar Smith came off the bench, the flow of the game changed. Making his Euroleague debut, Smith scored 11 points for the German champs, consisting of two jumpers, a three-pointer and a driving layup to bring Bamberg to within 25-26. Overall, he scored 19 points during his 14 minutes on the court, an impressive scoring rate.
Also helping out in the game was Anton Gavel who added 16 points and 6 assists, Sharrod Ford scored 11 while Maik Zirbes got 10. After Smith brought the side back into contention, it was Ford and Rakim Sanders that pushed them ahead 35 – 28. The final six minutes saw Bamberg finish the second quarter with a 19 – 1 run, bringing them into half time with a 43 – 29 scoreline.
However, Strasbourg wasn’t going to go down without a fight and always tried to catch up with Bamberg. Despite a forgettable third quarter where it trailed 66 – 45, Antoine Diot and Alexis Ajinca, who was Strasbourg’s top scorer with 19 points, brought the deficit down to 69 – 56. Yet it was Bamberg’s night as additional scores from Smith and Ford saw them lead 80 – 66 with two minutes left. Romain Duport reduced the lead to 12 but it wasn’t enough to worry Bamberg who ended the game comfortably.
Over in Florance, Italy, Galatasaray Liv Hospital made its return to the Euroleague in style as it saw off Montepaschi Siena 75 – 84. Thanks to Carlos Arroyo clocking up 21 points, and Jamont Gorden recording 19, Galatasary strong performance in the first half was the key difference as it saw off Siena.
This was down to Galatasaray’s impressive 9-for-14 three-point shooting which provided it a 18-point cushion, leaving the scoreline 33 – 51 at halftime. A number of Galatasaray players took part in the scoring spree, with Henry Domercant’s first three-pointer being noteworthy thanks to some great ball movement.
When the third quarter got underway, Siena scored the first 8 points giving it a decent start but Galatasaray still led by double-digits by the time the fourth quarter arrived. Daniel Hackett, who finished the game with 26 points, led the Siena fightback during the third quarter, but the visitors held on and maintained its lead. It was able to get the score down to 71 – 78 with a minute to go, but by then it was too little, too late as Galatasaray held on for a deserved debut win.