Real and CSKA lead Euroleague's finest in winning big
By Zoran Milosavljevic
BELGRADE (Reuters) - Eight-times Euroleague winners Real Madrid and CSKA Moscow led the way as the established teams celebrated big victories on Friday halfway through the preliminary group stage of the marathon 24-team competition.
CSKA, who have won six titles, crushed 1992 champions Partizan Belgrade 88-46 to bounce back from successive defeats by Fenerbahce Istanbul and Barcelona thanks to a superb performance by their perimeter shooters.
CSKA's former NBA forward Sonny Weems nailed 18 points, Vitaly Fridzon added 16 and Serb shooting guard Vladimir Micov contributed 15 as Partizan hit only 16 of 43 field goals in Moscow.
"We played great defense, protected the paint and put pressure on their shooters," CSKA's Italian coach Ettore Messina told the competition's official website (www.euroleague.net).
"On the other side, we moved the ball well and quickly and that had a positive effect on our shooting percentage."
Holders Olympiakos Piraeus scraped a 79-77 home win over Polish debutants Stelmet Zielona Gora, stretching their perfect start to five wins on the back of 21 points from Georgios Printezis and 18 by inspirational playmaker Vassilis Spanoulis.
Stelmet threatened to spring a major upset after leading by eight points at the end of the third quarter, but a strong final period allowed Olympiakos to come out on top.
Russia's newcommers Lokomotiv Kuban improved their record to 4-1 after edging Spaniards Laboral Kutxa 85-84 at home, with American guard Derrick Brown capping a blistering individual performance with a game-high 23 points. Continued...