Ton-up for AEK as Hapoel show their mettle in FIBA Champions League

By Sports Desk October 16, 2019

AEK became the first team to reach three figures in this season's FIBA Champions League when they beat EB Pau-Lacq-Orthez 102-82 in their Group B opener, while Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem showed their teeth on the road.

Keith Langford starred for the Athens outfit, amassing 27 points as Jonas Maciulis weighed in with 17. Matt Mobley's 25, including four of seven from three-point shooting, was in vain for EB Pau-Lacq-Orthez.

A third-quarter burst of 18-8 proved pivotal for Hapoel against Teksut Bandirma in Turkey and they hung on to win 73-69 as the hosts battled back in a thrilling finish.

Dyshawn Pierre was Dinamo Sassari's hero as he sunk two free-throws with 2.9 seconds remaining to seal a 79-78 win against Lietkabelis. It meant Pierre capped a double-double of 24 points and 12 rebounds in style.

San Pablo Burgos were 11 points adrift at one stage before turning their game against Antwerp Giants on its head.

Goran Huskic led the way with 19 points for the Spanish newcomers, who were better to the tune of 21 during the third and four quarters to win 90-76.

Telekom Baskets Bonn followed their domestic win over Bayern Munich by beating Casademont Zaragoza 85-71, while Ryan Toolson starred in the closing stages for Manresa to see off Torun 85-81.

There were comfortable wins for Nymburk and Dijon over Bamberg and tournament debutants Falco Szombathely respectively.

Related items

  • Coronavirus: Raptors ready to defend NBA title – Ibaka Coronavirus: Raptors ready to defend NBA title – Ibaka

    Serge Ibaka warned the Toronto Raptors are "locked in" and ready to defend their NBA title following the coronavirus-enforced break.

    The NBA season is set to resume on July 30 after the 2019-20 campaign was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March.

    Orlando's Disney World complex will host 22 teams, with the Los Angeles Lakers headlining the league's comeback against rivals the Los Angeles Clippers on July 30 after the New Orleans Pelicans face the Utah Jazz on the same day.

    Defending champions the Raptors – second in the Eastern Conference and trailing the NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks (53-12) with a 46-18 record – will restart their season against the Lakers on August 1.

    Raptors star Ibaka said his team-mates are ready to return, telling reporters via a conference call on Saturday: "I saw just how everyone is in great shape. 

    "They came here in great shape and as soon as we got here everyone was starting to put in work.

    "I've been in the league for 11 years. You can see when people's locked in and they are ready mentally, and when they are not.

    "So I can tell you right now, mentally, everybody is ready. Everybody is ready."

    Ibaka, who helped the Raptors win their first championship last season, added: "It's been a little bit weird [this season] with everything that's going on. But one thing we know is that it's over.

    "Whatever happened last season is over, and we've got to try to put our mindset so that it's ready to go for this one.

    "We know it's going to be hard, it's going to be a challenge, and everyone is going to come for us because we are the champs, so we have to be ready."

    Meanwhile, the 30-year-old center admitted he is worried about the rising number of coronavirus cases in Florida.

    "Honestly it's really concerning," he said. "Hopefully everybody has to follow the rules, every player, when we get in the bubble in Orlando, we can respect all the notes that they're going to give us.

    "But I have my daughter who lives here in Orlando, and it's kind of scary a little bit. It's something where you have to make sure you look at it."

  • Pacers' Oladipo opts out of NBA restart Pacers' Oladipo opts out of NBA restart

    Star guard Victor Oladipo has chosen not to join the Indiana Pacers for the restart of the 2019-20 NBA season in Orlando, Florida, saying that he would not be comfortable playing.  

    Oladipo announced his decision on Friday in an article with The Athletic.  

    The two-time All-Star – who has played just 13 games this season after taking the floor only 36 times in 2018-19 – cited his lengthy injury history when explaining why he has opted out of the rest of the season.  

    "I feel like I'm at a great place in my rehab and getting closer and closer to 100 percent," Oladipo said. 

    "With all the variables, from how I have to build my 5-on-5 workload back up, to the increased risk of a soft tissue injury which could delay my rehab, and the unknown exact set up of the bubble, I just can't get my mind to being fully comfortable in playing." 

    The Pacers are fifth in the Eastern Conference at 39-26 this season as they prepare for the NBA's 22-team plan to finish the 2019-20 season in Orlando starting on July 30. 

    The first of Indiana's eight seeding games is on August 1 against the Philadelphia 76ers.  

    The team is also without guard Jeremy Lamb, who tore the ACL in his left knee in February.  

    "I really want to play, and as a competitor and team-mate this is tearing me apart," Oladipo said. 

    "I have to be smart and this decision hasn't been easy, but I truly believe continuing the course I'm on and getting fully healthy for the 2020-21 season is the right decision for me." 

    The second overall pick in the 2013 draft, Oladipo's best season was his first with the Pacers, averaging 23.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.4 steals over 75 games in 2017-18.  

    It looked as if Oladipo had finally blossomed into a player worthy of his draft slot but rupturing tendons in his quadriceps twice has prevented the 28-year-old from making consistent contributions over the last two seasons.  

    Oladipo joins a growing list of players who have opted out of the restart, including Washington Wizards forward Davis Bertans, Los Angeles Lakers guard Avery Bradley and Portland Trail Blazers forward Trevor Ariza.  

  • Celtics' Hayward will leave Orlando in September for child's birth Celtics' Hayward will leave Orlando in September for child's birth

    Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward said he will exit the NBA's bubble in Florida for the birth of his next child if his team is still playing at that stage of the league's revised season. 

    Hayward's wife is due to give birth to the couple's fourth child in September. The NBA's current plans for its restart have the Eastern Conference semi-finals beginning no later than August 30 and the conference finals starting by September 15. 

    At the time of the NBA's stoppage on March 11 due to the coronavirus outbreak, Boston occupied the third seed in the East, three games behind the first-place Toronto Raptors in the Atlantic Division.  

    "There'll be a time if and when we're down [in Orlando] and she's going to have the baby, I'm for sure going to be with her," Hayward said of his wife, Robyn. "We'll have to cross that bridge when we get there." 

    The NBA has put in stipulations for players who have received permission to leave the Walt Disney World Resort complex. If a player is gone for less than seven days and continues to test negatively for COVID-19, he would be required to quarantine for four days after returning. 

    "I know the NBA has a protocol for that type of thing, and hopefully I can do the quarantining and testing the appropriate amount of time and then be back with the boys," he said.  

    Hayward was in the midst of his best season with the Celtics at the time of the league's shutdown. The former Utah Jazz star is averaging 17.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game while shooting 39.2 percent from three-point range in 2019-20.  

    The 30-year-old added that the time off has been beneficial for him physically, but admitted that he still deals with occasional pain in his left foot. Hayward fractured his left ankle in the 2017-18 season opener, his first game as a Celtic after leaving the Jazz to sign a four-year max contract. 

    "Everything is definitely a lot better. There is no doubt about that," said Hayward. "For sure, I'm feeling great, it's just the foot still is a little sore. It is what it is." 

     

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.