European Hoops Wrap-Up: Double the games, double the fun


This past week was another double-header week in Euroleague, meaning we had twice the normal amount of games at the top level. Last time this happened, it benefitted teams with good guard play, as teams like Panathinaikos and Baskonia took advantage of tired legs to score big wins through their backcourts.

This time, though, the theme was chaos. With so many games, we were bound to get some fun events, and this week provided. There were upsets. There were historic performances. There were incredible rivalry games. It all coalesced in an outstanding week that’s too good to pick just five storylines from.

Let’s instead recap the entire week, day-by-day.


In the Champions League, Besiktas survived Dinamo Sassari 75-74, trailing by nine at one point in the third quarter before coming back and stealing the game on a Kyle Weems game-winner.

AS Monaco fell from the ranks of the unbeaten, losing to Banvit 79-65. Banvit leading scorer Gediminas Orelik continued his strong play, leading the Turkish squad with 25 points and five rebounds. The win creates an interesting three-way dance at the top of Group A with Banvit, Monaco, and Aris, which should be fun to watch moving forward.

Read More: Could Nicolo Melli earn a chance in the NBA?

In Euroleague, Cedi Osman got hot early on during Efes’s 104-99 win over Unics Kazan. Osman had 16 points for the game, 13 of which came in the first quarter on 4-of-5 shooting. He hit four 3s for the game, and showcased his spot-up shooting. He’s now at 51.3 percent from outside this year, which is insane.

Similarly, Nicolo Melli hit 4-of-4 from outside in Brose Bamberg’s one-point loss to Crvena Zvezda. While Brose is now just looking very out of sorts with a 2-5 record, Melli’s been a bright spot, shooting a blistering 58.3 percent from 3 in Euroleague play.

Maccabi Tel Aviv 87, Fenerbahce 77. Fenerbahce, last year’s runner up, has now lost three straight and looked abysmal defending the perimeter against Sonny Weems and Yogev Ohayon. They still are without Bogdan Bogdanovic (ankle), but the problems are starting to look like they go much deeper than that in Istanbul.


The Draft Prospect Bowl in the Champions League was a fun one, as Strasbourg edged Mega Leks 68-59. Top 2017 prospect Frank Ntilikina had seven points, three assists, and three steals for Strasbourg, helping to slow fellow ’17 prospect Ognjen Jaramaz. 2018 draft prospect Kostja Mushidi paced the Serbian side with 13 points in the loss.

Read More: Playing out of position is helping Frank Ntilikina

Former D-Leaguer Nick Minnerath exploded for perhaps the best individual performance of the year in Europe, posting 39 points on 22 shots and eight rebounds as Avtodor Saratov crushed Maccabi Rishon. He also had one of the best plays of the week:

Lietuvos Rytas continues to play nothing but exciting, wire-to-wire games. They beat Khimki Moscow 93-91 this week, letting Alexey Shved go for 22 points. However, the two-man combo of Drew Gordon (21 points) and Arturas Gudaitis (12/15, three assists, three blocks) continues to be Eurocup’s best frontcourt.

There were a pair of surprising upsets in Eurocup this week. The first: Fuenlabrada 105, Alba Berlin 80. Swedish guard Ludde Hakanson, a sleeper 2017 draft pick, dropped 19 points in his best game of the year, and Fuenlabrada hit 15 3s to move into a three-way tie for first place.

Gran Canaria’s unbeaten run also ended in another upset, as Cedevita knocked them off 97-90 without Pierre Jackson. They did it by attacking the rim, drawing fouls, and finishing with a +12 advantage in free throws.

UCAM Murcia’s Facundo Campazzo continues to make the extraordinary look mundane. He put up 14 points, four rebounds, nine assists and four steals in Murcia’s 86-75 win over Buducnost. He’s averaging 16/4/9/3 in Eurocup, and is my early MVP pick.

Minnerath and Campazzo weren’t the only big performers Wednesday, as Sergio Llull brought the house down in Madrid with 30 points and four assists in Real’s 87-84 win over Panathinaikos. That represents a career high for the Euroleague legend, and it helped firmly pull Real into second place.

Another massive upset! Last week, I said Darussafaka might be a trap game for CSKA Moscow, and I was right, as David Blatt out-piloted the champs 91-83. Darussafaka relied on wing scoring from James Anderson and shut down CSKA’s bigs inside to secure Euroleague’s biggest upset of the year to cap off a wild Wednesday.


The day got started with news that Galatasaray is suspending Russ Smith and Justin Dentmon, citing player conduct issues. This has been a mess, and head coach Ergin Ataman has not been very kind to the two in the media. Something tells me that Smith and Dentmon aren’t the only ones responsible for the squad’s 2-6 start and perhaps the worst defense in Euroleague, but they’re the ones taking the fall for now.

Fenerbahce finally got back on track, beating Anadolu Efes 88-80. Jan Vesely and Kostas Sloukas combined for 41 points, and Fenerbahce was able to control the game against a shorthanded Efes team. Fenerbahce still has a negative point differential on the year, but at 5-3 they’re right in things.

Crvena Zvezda knocked off EA7 Milano 83-70, because Marko Simonovic went supernova with 23 points, 14 of which came in the first half.


CSKA Moscow got another scare, needing a big fourth quarter to pull away from Zalgiris, 95-86. CSKA tried to rest players, sitting Nando De Colo and bringing Milos Teodosic off the bench, but got behind early thanks to a strong performance from Paulius Jankunas. Jankunas would finish with 30 points, but wasn’t the only big star of the day, because Teodosic drove CSKA’s comeback, finishing with 25 points and five assists, combining with Jeff Ayres to put the dagger into Zalgiris in the fourth quarter.

Former Jazz center Tibor Pleiss had his biggest game of the season, posting 22 points, eight rebounds and three blocks in Galatasaray’s upset win over Darussafaka. Pleiss was the beneficiary of a new approach offensively for Galatasaray, who was without their two best point guards and needed to run things from the inside out. And yes, Darussafaka beat the best team in the league and lost to the worst team in consecutive games.

Friday was also Derby day, with Euroleague’s two biggest rivalries playing. The Greek derby was an exciting one, with Olympiacos edging Panathinaikos 79-77. Olympiacos got up early in the first half, but Panathinaikos stormed back in the third quarter behind Nick Calathes and K.C. Rivers. An entertaining fourth quarter ensued, capped off by a game-winning dime and score from Europe’s most familiar two-man combo:

In the other derby, it was a little less competitive. Barcelona is a shell of themselves due to injuries, and they got shredded by Real Madrid in El Clasico, 102-63. Tyrese Rice had a nice contest for Barca, posting 23 points, but this was a defensive clinic by Real Madrid, as they shut down Barcelona’s perimeter play and essentially forced Rice to go one-on-five. Meanwhile Jaycee Carroll hit four 3s and Sergio Llull had another strong performance with 20 points and seven assists.

And you probably saw the biggest play of this game. In the 2nd quarter, Barcelona’s Joey Dorsey attempted to hit a fast break dunk. Anthony Randolph put an exclamation point on the best week of European basketball this year, by politely saying, “No sir.”