By Zoran Milosavljevic
BELGRADE, Oct 25 (Reuters) - The Euroleague's most decorated coach Zeljko Obradovic passed his first real test at Fenerbahce as the Turkish side beat the competition's former double winners Barcelona 75-70 in a rip-roaring contest on Friday.
Partizan Belgrade, the 1992 champions, celebrated a 73-43 thrashing of French debutants Nanterre thanks to 26 points from shooting guard Dragan Milosavljevic, his Euroleague career-high total in front of 8,000 passionate Serbian fans.
Maccabi Tel Aviv nailed 15 three-pointers in a 96-82 victory over Red Star Belgrade, eight-time Euroleague winners Real Madrid mauled Germans Bamberg 98-58 and newcomers Bayern Munich beat Italians Montepaschi Siena 89-79 for two wins out of two.
Obradovic, who won a record eight titles in Europe's premier club competition with four different clubs, was relieved after Fenerbahce, who strolled past Ukrainians Budivelnik Kiev in last week's opening round, held off a late Barca rally in Istanbul.
"It's a very important win for us but we still need time to peak because at crucial moments in the final quarter we stopped playing, thinking maybe the game was over," the 53-year-old Serbian coach told the league's website (www.euroleague.net).
"We played very well for many minutes but the game is never over against the likes of Barcelona," he added.
Former NBA forward Linas Kleiza, who spent seven years in the world's top basketball league, scored 22 points as Fenerbahce went on a 14-0 run in the third period to take a 60-44 lead before Barcelona forced a dramatic finish.
Croatians Bojan Bogdanovic and Luka Zoric added 11 and 12 points respectively for the Turkish side while the competition's all-time leading scorer Juan Carlos Navarro top-scored for Barcelona with 18.
Nanterre, who won the French league last term in only their second season in the top flight, started brightly in the cauldron of Partizan's packed Pionir Arena and raced to a 7-2 lead but were swept away amid a deafening roar from the crowd.
Shooting guard Milosavljevic, whose previous Euroleague record was 19 points in the 2010-2011 season, hit 11 of his 17 shots from the floor and collected six rebounds with forward Bogdan Bogdanovic adding 16 points and five assists.
"We were aggressive from the start and it was easy to engineer a free-flowing performance in front of this crowd because every player left it all out there on the court," Partizan's 24-year old captain told Reuters.
"I felt comfortable throughout the game but all credit to my team mates whose movement and unselfish transition of the ball created a lot of open shots for me."
Partizan's American forward Tarence Kinsey added: "The fans were amazing and I knew they would come out in full force because I played against them here (for Anadolu Efes Istanbul). We are a hard-working team and we try to improve every day."
In Friday's late games, six-times Euroleague winners Panathinaikos Athens eased to a 95-74 home win against Spaniards Laboral Kutxa, whose compatriots Unicaja Malaga thumped Poles Stelmet Zielona Gora 101-68 on the back of 20 points and 10 rebounds from centre Nik Caner-Medley. (Editing by Ken Ferris)
- Sports & Recreation
- Partizan Belgrade
- Zeljko Obradovic