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EuroLeague Diaries: Real Madrid give debuts to three teenagers vs CSKA; Wade Baldwin IV returns to Munich to destroy former team

Photo: EuroLeague Basketball

The first round of the EuroLeague concluded with several huge names and big performances making some noise, as the shorthanded Real Madrid downed CSKA Moscow and Olympiacos blew out Panathinaikos in the Greek Clasico.

Moreover, Wade Baldwin IV had a career-best performance against his former team putting up 30 to lead Baskonia over FC Bayern Munich.

Real Madrid gives three debuts to teenagers

Real Madrid had to finish the first round without seven players as  Fabien Causeur, Vincent Poirier, Thomas Heurtel, Yabusele Guerschon, Anthony Randolph, Juan Nunez and Adam Hanga were in COVID protocols.

Despite being shorthanded, the “Whites” showed resiliency and got the victory over CSKA, who underperformed for another contest. Coach Pablo Laso was also out for Real, who had only nine active players.

To cover for those missing players, teenagers Sediq Garuba, Urban Klavzar and Baba Miller were all named in the roster and made their EuroLeague debuts.

The 17-year-old Slovenian guard Klavzar made a great first impression, scoring 6 points in the first quarter and he also came back to score a big triple in the final period for a 62-55 lead, which helped secure the win.

“It’s hard to play a tough team in the EuroLeague, if not the best, then one of the best. We missed a lot of guys so we came here to fight and try to do something.

Like our coach said, we had to believe, try our best, to see if we can win or not. Never give up and fight until the end – this is Madrid,” center Walter Tavares said after Real’s 71-65 win.

Wade Baldwin IV explodes for 30 in Munich

Baskonia made one of the best appearances in EuroLeague season, as they proceed to down FC Bayern Munich. Wade Baldwin IV, who played against his former team for the first time this season, had a memorable night.

In his first trip back to Audi Dome with new team Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz, Baldwin made himself at home. He dominated with 16 first-quarter points to help the Spanish club take control, and finished the game with a career-high 30.

The explosive guard shot 7 of 11 two-pointers and 4 of 7 threes. He was perfect in 4 trips to the foul line and added 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals along with an index rating of 33.

Baskonia face the German cup holders with just seven players, but they were able to remain afloat vs Bayern, who concede its third consecutive loss in EuroLeague.

“We were down a lot of guys today, so everybody had to step up. As one of the leaders of this team, we’ve been in a struggle and it’s my job to step up and play well.

There was an opportunity tonight for me to do so and there’s nothing better than to come back and beat Bayern and Coach Trinchieri. That put a smile on my face tonight,” Baldwin said after the game.

Bill Baron comes in with clutch shot as Zenit adds to winning streak

Zenit St. Petersburg added another victory in the end of the first round of the regular season, as the Russian team prevailed over Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Zenit withheld Maccabi comeback in the fourth quarter thanks to Billy Baron, who his the biggest shot of the game. Williams took over with a huge dunk that completed Maccabi’s comeback, 70-71, with 17.0 seconds left. Baron buried the go-ahead three-pointer and Scottie Wilbekin missed at the buzzer.

Zenit added its third consecutive win in the EuroLeague and climbed fourth in the standings one game behind Olympiacos.

“Sometimes it is like this, and in the last part of the game, one good offense and one good defense decided the game for our side. We are happy for this win, obviously,” Xavi Pascual said after Zenit’s big win.

Kostas Sloukas shows leadership in Greek Clasico

Olympiacos had an impressive performance as a team in the Greek Clasico against Panathinaikos. The Reds took over in the fourth quarter with Shaquielle McKissic playing huge role.

Before that, Kostas Sloukas had another all-around performance in a big game for Giorgos Bartzokas and his team. The veteran guard finished the game with 16 points, six assists and three rebounds in 29 minutes.

He had the highest PIR with 21 alongside his teammate Sasa Venzekov, as he helped Olympiacos’ hot start with nine first-half points.

Olympiacos continued its hot form as the Reds won six of their last seven games in the EuroLeague having the third best record in the competition.

“We were able to lead the whole game. Only the third quarter were they able to come back. We managed to win this game. It was very important for us.

I feel great for the players. They followed the plan. They played an excellent game offensively and defensively. So congratulations to the players. Merry Christmas to everybody, especially the Olympiacos fans,” Giorgos Bartzokas said on his team’s victory.

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