Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv's Jordan Farmar and Anadolu Efes Istanbul's Sasha Vujacic, teammates for four years on the Lakers before being reunited on the Nets last season, will try to lead their new teams to first place in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Group C race in a game being streamed on ESPN3 at 1 p.m. ET Thursday. Real Madrid, led by NBA veterans Rudy Fernandez, Sergio Rodriguez and Serge Ibaka, will try to maintain its share of the Group C lead against Acie Law, Nikola Pekovic and Partizan Belgrade in a second webcast beginning at 2:45.
Anadolu Efes Istanbul vs. Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv
Farmar scored 27 points and made a clutch late steal with two free throws to seal Maccabi Electra's 88-82 victory over previously unbeaten Real Madrid last week. Former USC star David Blu contributed 16 points in the victory while Virginia grad Devin Smith had 15 points and six boards. Farmar's 14.7 scoring average leads Maccabi Electra, which, like Anadolu Efes, is 2-1 in Group C and 4-0 in its national league and features a host of NBA veterans, draft picks and former U.S. college stars. Lior Eliyahu, a second-round choice of the Magic in 2006 whose rights now belong to the Rockets, is second in scoring at 11.7, while Blu (10.3) ranks third. Sofoklis Schortsanitis, a second-round pick of the Clippers in 2003, who scored 16 against Real Madrid, is fourth in scoring at 10. Other members of the perennial Israeli power include Keith Langford, who played two games with the Spurs in 2007-08; Richard Hendrix, a second-round selection out of Virginia by the Warriors in 2008; and Shawn James, who played his college ball at Northeastern and Duquesne.
Four-year NBA veteran Tarence Kinsey is the leading scorer for Anadolu Efes at 15, while Ersan Ilyasova, who spent the past three seasons with the Bucks, is second in scoring (13) and leads in rebounding (6.3). Vujacic is third with a 12.7 scoring average but continues to struggle from the floor, making just 24 percent of his field goals in Euroleague competition. Other members of the Turkish team are Esteban Batista, who became the first Uruguayan player in the NBA when he spent two seasons with the Hawks, and a pair of second-round choices in Stanko Barac (Heat '07) and Cenk Akyol (Hawks '05). Anadolu Efes boasts three others who played their college ball in the states: Dogus Balbay, who was undrafted out of Texas this year, and former juco stars Ermal Kurtoglu and Sinan Guler.
Partizan Belgrade vs. Real Madrid
Real Madrid shares the Group C lead with Anadolu Efes and Maccabi Electra after last week's six-point loss in Tel Aviv, and is tied for first in the Spanish league (ACB) with a 5-1 record. Utah State grad Jaycee Carroll, who scored 18 in the loss last week, is the leading scorer in Euroleague play at 17.7 points per game and has nailed an absurd 79 percent of his 3s. Fernandez, traded on draft night to the Mavericks after spending the previous three campaigns with the Blazers, scored 13 against Maccabi and is second in scoring at 16.3. Rodriguez, a four-year NBA vet, leads the team with 4.7 assists per game. The Thunder's Ibaka has appeared briefly in Real Madrid's past two Euroleague games, averaging 4.5 points and rebounds.
Partizan (1-2) posted its first Euroleague win with a 91-81 decision over Charleroi last week. The Warriors' Law, who has played with five NBA teams over the past four seasons, had 26 points and seven assists in the victory, and averages 14.7 points per game in Euroleague play. Pekovic, who started 11 times for the Timberwolves this past season, scored 21 against Charleroi and is the leading scorer at 17.7. Milan Macvan, a second-round choice of the Cavs in June, is Partizan's leading rebounder (6.3) and third-leading scorer (14.3).