Seven Euroleague games go off tonight as the season rounds into form a bit. The marquee match tonight has got to be the Khimki-Baskonia showdown to establish early supremacy in that tough Group A; Olympiacos-Unicaja will surely be worth the viewing as well, although the way the Reds have dominated on their home floor lately will make things difficult for the Spanish side.
In preparation for the festivities, then, BallinEurope presents some talking points: facts, stats, oddities, history and video relating to the games. Enjoy!
BC Khimki Moscow region vs. Caja Laboral Baskonia. This marks the third meeting between the two teams after meeting for two games in the Top 16 round last season; oddly enough, both times the visiting team recorded double-digit wins in that series … Benjamin Eze has 92 career blocked shots in Euroleague play and needs just one more to tie Tiago Splitter for eighth place on the all-time list; FC Barcelona’s Terence Morris and Erazem Lorbek have 91 and 90, respectively … David Logan and Thomas Kelati helped lead PGE Turow to the Eurocup final eight in 2007-08 … Mirza Teletovic is currently 10 shy of 1,000 Euroleague career points … Teletovic has hit a three-pointer in his last 20 Euroleague games; Logan has a streak of 13 consecutive EL games with a three, while Vitaly Fridzon is working on 10 straight … Raul Lopez has at least one steal in his last 11 Euroleague games … Khimki’s Keith Langford notched a Euroleague personal-best 27 points against Baskonia in the second Top 16 game against the Spanish club … Aleksey Savrasenko scored his Euroleague career high 22 points against Baskonia in 2000-01.
Olympiacos vs. Unicaja Malaga. Olympiacos has won its last 16 Euroleague home games; they last lost in Piraeus to Le Mans in 2008 … this game will represent Theo Papaloukas’ 200th in the EL; he’s second on the all-time Euroleague games play list behind J.R. Holden … Olympiacos and Unicaja have met 10 times before, with Olympiacos holding a 7-3 series lead; Unicaja has never beaten the Reds at Piraeus … Milos Teodosic has scored in double figures in his last 12 Euroleague games … Teodosic and BiE fave Uros Tripkovic played on the stunning silver medal-winning Team Serbia at Eurobasket 2009 … Teodosic has made 13 consecutive free throws, while Yotam Halperin is riding a streak of 15 straight … Georgios Printezis, a product of Olympiacos youth basketball, returns home, of sorts … Joel Freeland’s coming off his first-ever Euroleague double-double last week; did you have him on your fantasy team?
Efes Pilsen vs. AJ Milano. Since first meeting in the Korac Cup final in 1996, Efes Pilsen and AJ Milano have met eight times, with Efes Pilsen winning seven; in fact, Milano’s sole win against the Turkish side came in the second game of the one-and-one Korac series – and with a seven-point margin of victory, Milano was one point short of taking the tournament … Nikola Vujcic went for a career game against Milano in 2005, registering a 26/9/6 in a Maccabi Tel Aviv win … Vujcic needs one blocked shot to be tied at third-most all-time EL blocks … Vujcic also four rebounds short of 1,000 in Euroleague play and five assists shy of 500; he’s sixth all-time in the latter category … Marius Petravicius is coming off his first-ever EL double-double, while Bootsy Thornton landed himself a week 2 MVP nod for turning in his first double-double since 2004 … Thornton and Kerem Tunceri have hit 14 free throws in a row, while Igor Rakocevic has sunk 13 consecutive; Rakocevic holds the all-time EL record with 58.
Zalgiris Kaunas vs. Asseco Prokom. Still no sign of Marcus Brown, who sat out Zalgiris’ VTB game with VEF Riga this weekend; Martynas “Air” Pocius is probable for the game … Zalgiris and Prokom have met seven times in Euroleague play, all since 2007, with the Poles at a 4-3 advantage and the home team 6-1 … Prokom has lost its last five away games in Euroleague play … Dainius Salenga has managed a double-double in each of his last four games against Prokom, including a scoring average of 15.8 points per game; on the other side of the court, Daniel Ewing is averaging 15.5 points, 3.0 assists and 1.8 steals per in his last four games against Zalgiris … this game represents the first of at least four meetings between the teams in 2010-11, as they’re both competing in Group B of the VTB United League, a pool also including BC Khimki Moscow region.
Brose Baskets Bamberg vs. Spirou Basket. Spirou twice defeated Brose Baskets in 2007-08 Eurocup play, the only occasions on which the teams met … Spirou’s Demond Mallet is one of Bamberg’s sports heroes, having helped lead the team to the Bundesliga championship in 2005 … Mallet has hit a three-pointer in 21 consecutive Euroleague games going back just under four years, and needs one for 100 career EL threes … watch out for that Brose Baskets Bamberg bench: reserves Brian Roberts and Kyle Hines combined for 37 points last week … the only player likely to sit out due to injury on either side is Christophe Beghin, therefore delaying his return to the Euroleague by another week; Beghin last played EL ball with Oostende in February 2002.
Power Electronics Valencia vs. CSKA Moscow. These two teams have never met before … Valencia’s Robertas Javtokas and CSKA’s Ramunas Siskauskas have won a Greek triple crown, a Lithuanian League championship and a Eurobasket bronze medal together … Javtokas and Florent Pietrus each set individual career-high rebounding marks against CSKA Moscow teams: Javtokas managed 15 against the Red Army in 2006, while Pietrus snagged 20 boards in 2001-02 Euroleague game – but CSKA won both games … Holden is chasing Nikola Vujcic for third-most career EL points; at 2,332, he’s 20 points behind … Holden has hit a three-pointer in 20 straight Euroleague games … CSKA is badly suffering from injuries: Sasha Kaun is out until February, Siskauskas is gone until December, and Viktor Khryapa’s return has not yet been announced.
Montepaschi Siena vs. Cibona Zagreb. In six meetings between the teams, MPS has a 4-2 advantage – and they’ve won the last three … Bo McCalebb has made his last 21 free throws and boasts an 18-game streak with at least one steal … Ksistof Lavrinovic recorded career highs in points and index ratings against Cibona Zagreb in the 85-40 Euroleague opening day demolition last year, with 26 points and a 34 rating … Shaun Stonerook set his career-high in scoring with 18 against Cibona in 2009 … Bojan Bogdanovic is leading the Euroleague and Adriatic League in scoring at 21.5 ppg and 25.4 ppg, respectively.