When I came home tonight, I immediately checked on the situation in the different Euroleague games was. And it looked like the two first games of the day would become blowouts: Olympiacos finally beat Air Avellino without any trouble, but the score between Panionios and Real Madrid somehow surprised me as the Greeks were up by like 20 points. A quick check on Skype gave me the explication, Panionios had a 31-6 run.
But the second half of the game gave us a fantastic opportunity to see a nice scoring run, as Real Madrid made an incredible 31-5 run in order to get as close as two points in the last two minutes. Despite the big trouble the Euroleague TV commentator had in pronouncing the Greek names, we had a real nail-biter in the final seconds. And it was Aaron Miles with two very bad decisions against the Real Madrid zone that gave Real Madrid the possibility to lead for the first time in the second half. The momentum switch was really tangible through the DSL lines. But a super stupid foul by Alex Mumbru gave a two-point lead back to Panionios with two free throws, but Marko Tomas had to step to the line after a Partizan-CSKA final-second possession and he made both. But the aforementioned Miles was the game winner with an “easy layup” according to the commentator after a full-court run.
Speaking of close games, I switched to Le Mans for their game against Le Mans with Alain “Coffee” Koffi on the jump ball. So I preferred to turn down the sound of EL.TV and put Pionir on full power on RTS Sat despite not understanding a word of the probably very interesting Serbian announcers. Le Mans came off a really bad start and trailed 23-11 after the first quarter while Serbian TV had problems with the sound and the graphics, as the Grobari were probably jumping on the cables.
A very interesting call happened in the meantime in Belgrade, where Kaya Peker got an offensive foul for pushing Stephane Lasme’s arm away on a layup attempt. This is a very common call in the United States but is hardly every seen in Europe, especially if it happens in the no-offensive-foul call zone of the half-circle. At the same time, Pape Badiane scores for Unicaja on a Enzo Tsonga assist according to the commentator. (NB.: both are players of Le Mans) I have to add that I really like EL.TV but these are incredible errors, especially if you mess up player names four times in two minutes.
In Le Mans, we have halftime and the game between AJ Milano and CSKA Moscow seems already decided after eight minutes, when the Russians lead 21-5 in the once again half-empty Datchforum in Milan. IN addition to all the trouble, there seems to be a general sound problem with Euroleague games tonight as now even the EL.TV commentators have shut up and no sound from the arenas is coming out of my speakers. Watching basketball without sound is really strange — kinda like Sarunas Jasikevicius without the talking. Oh, it’s halftime in Belgrade on a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Charles Smith (1m95) over Slavko Vranes (2m29).
And during halftime, it is time for a little off-topic. On the Serbian RTS Sat channel, the break is used for advertising by travel agencies in Switzerland and German cell phone companies. Globalization! On the other hand, I just read that the Bundesliga team LTi Giessen 46ers signed a new manager in Vladi Bogojevic. Nothing special, you may think, but knowing the difficult financial situation of the German team, GM Christoph Syring told the press: I really believe that much in Vladi’s abilities, that I have accepted a reduction to my own salary. You must be kidding me…
While I was writing this off-topic, Unicaja has already increased their lead to 18 and we will have another blowout win very probably tonight as now, even Boniface N’Dong hits a three pointer after a multitude of dunks to close a 19-2 run in the last quarter. This is really a pity to watch the French team right now where only Alain Koffi seems to be concerned.
So it’s time to move to Milan, where Armani Jeans is coming back in the race as they start the second half on an 11-2 run to be at only eight points down. But that’s the moment for EL.TV blocks the stream for whatever reason. In Belgrade, Partizan is still holding their advantage so it looks like Milano is the place to be to see some exciting action tonight. And it seems also to be the night of the interesting referee decisions as one of the three refs gets caught with the new backcourt rules and calls a violation to AJ Milano but immediately takes it back as he was wrong. By the way, has anybody mentioned that Piero Bucchi is as always the best dressed head coach of the Euroleague? Well, it may be no surprise when you are sponsored by Armani Jeans.
In the meantime, Novica Velcikovic decides the game in Belgrade for another win of Partizan against Efes Pilsen despite some late second turnovers by Uros Tripkovic. David Hawkins however scores a very big bucket to give Milano a four-point lead with three minutes to go. As I said beforehand in David Hein’s Live Blog, I see AJ Milano having a chance beating CSKA but I really didn’t believe in my words after the first minutes of the game. (OT: I just got outbid on an Ebay auction, damn…)
As incredible as my loss in the Ebay auction is, the fact that Victor Khryapa may become the game winner in Milan with a big time steal to open the final minute. But it is David Hawkins who brings AJ Milano back in front with two very tough shots over the former Chicago Bull. And the impossible happens, as Ramunas Siskauskas loses the ball and the win five seconds before the buzzer, with AJ Milano (as predicted) winning over the heretofore unbeaten Russian team.
What a great ending to my Euroleague Wednesday!