Here’s more fuel for the fire vis-à-vis American players in Europe: Re-imports Tony Parker and Ronny Turiaf were notables in last night’s Eurocup opening night for Asvel Villeurbanne as the French side overcame 2009-10 champion Valencia Basket.
Whoever questions NBA stars’ ability to adapt to the European game may see Parker’s performance of last night to be a partial answer: The locked-out San Antonio Spur essentially iced EuroCup Player of the Week honors in scoring 34 points for Asvel, including 13 in his team’s high-flying 29-point fourth quarter. Parker also dished five assists and added one steal to his stat line.
Meanwhile, Ronny Turiaf came off the bench to become one of Asvel’s five double-digit scorers, contributing 12 points and five rebounds over 25 minutes in the win.
Official game writeup follows the break.
(Eurocup Basketball) – With a virtuoso performance from one of its owners, Asvel Basket delighted its home fans by downing two-time champion Valencia 87-78 on Tuesday in the Group D opener for both teams.
Point guard and part-owner Tony Parker hit back-to-back three-pointers with under four minutes remaining to break open what was a two-point game. Parker finished with 34 points, with 13 in the final four minutes. Ronny Turiaf added 12 points for Asvel, Dijon Thompson and Edwin Jackson 11 each, and Kim Tillie 10.
For Valencia, Nik Caner-Medley downed 19 points, Serhiy Lishchuk had a double-double of 16 and 12 rebounds, while Rafa Martinez added 12 points, Stefan Markovic 10. Asvel’s advantage of nine three-pointers made – with Parker and Edwin Jackson hitting three apiece – to just four for Valencia was the difference.
Both teams established inside points for their big men early, until Parker landed a three that put Asvel up, 7-6. Caner-Medley took the lead right back for Valencia on a three-point combination, and soon had nine points early on another basket to tie it up at 13-13. The game’s sixth tie would be broken on a three-point play by Parker to which Turiaf added an inside basket to take control for Asvel, 20-15, after 10 minutes.
Rafa Martinez got Valencia closer with the second quarter’s first basket, but Asvel responded with a 9-0 run that featured a steal and a block by Dijon Thompson plus five points from Parker for a 29-17 advantage. Florent Pietrus ended the drought with a layup for Valencia, but Parker was on fire, answering with a layup as he reached 13 points. When Jackson buried a triple, Asvel was up 15 points, 34-19. Martinez and Markovic cut into the Asvel lead, then Rihards Kuksiks kept it going until Valencia went on an 8-0 run to go into the locker room having cut the difference almost in half to 34-27.
Lishchuk dunked and Martinez downed a triple to get Valencia even closer, 36-32, soon after halftime, but Thompson answered from deep for Asvel. A breakneck pace surprisingly favored Valencia, as layups by Nando De Colo and Caner-Medley made it 39-38. Parker and Turiaf revived Asvel with an acrobatic layup and a dunk, respectively, to pull out to a 43-38 lead.
Lishchuk and Markovic struck back for Valencia, but Jackson’s next triple kept Asvel ahead, and when Parker found Thompson for another, the hosts led 55-47. Kuksiks came off Valencia’s bench for a three-pointer that Rodrigo San Miguel soon matched, as the difference was reduced to 58-55 after three quarters of play.
Martinez made it a two-point game with free throws to open the final stanza, but those were answered threefold, as Phillip Goss and Jackson scored from long range to boost Asvel to a 64-57 advantage. Valencia wouldn’t go away, however, as De Colo pumped in a corner triple at 69-67 with four minutes left. Parker had seen enough, however, and returned from a timeout to blast back-to-back three-pointers and make it 75-67. When Thompson soon downed a layup and Parker two free throws, it was 80-71. One more Parker jumper gave him 31 points and his team a double-digit lead to send Asvel on its way to a big home victory to start the Eurocup season.
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