Teams Change Focus To Europe
French sides SLUC Nancy, Orleans and Gravelines will go into the EuroChallenge opening round on the back of defeats in the LNB.
Pau Orthez hosted Nancy and won 76-62 while Orleans fell 70-65 at Villeurbanne and Le Havre edged Gravelines 76-70.
Nancy, who will be at home against BC Oostende in the European competition on Tuesday, are 10th in the French top flight.
France's sixth-place side, Gravelines, will go up against BC NN in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, in their EuroChallenge opener.
Orleans are third-bottom in France and will try to spark their season into life when they host red-hot Dexia Mons-Hainaut on Tuesday.
|Dexia Mons-Hainaut have had a long rest, as their last domestic league game was on 6 November|
Dexia and Oostende are among several Belgian sides taking part in the EuroChallenge.
Dexia's last game in the domestic league was back on November 6 against Stella Artois Leuven Bears, a game Arik Shivek's Dexia side won 98-83 to improve to 5-1.
One of the players Orleans will have to pay close attention to is Ron Lewis.
In Belgium, he is averaging 14.7 points per game and had 25 against Leuven.
Oostende are 3-4 in the Belgian top flight.
Belgacom Liege and Antwerp Giants are the other two representatives from Belgium in the EuroChallenge and they will take on Barak Netanya and Lokomotiv Kuban, respectively.
Liege have had an awful start to the season and lost for the fifth time in six games on Friday, falling 80-71 at home to Generali Okapi Aalstar.
Antwerp (4-3) had lost the night before to Stella Artois Leuven Bears, becoming their first victim.
Lokomotiv Kuban had been playing well in Russia's PBL but after leading 44-40 at Enisey Krasnoyarsk on Friday, the home side hit back for an 87-72 triumph.
If there was something positive to take from the game for Kestutis Kemzura's Lokomotiv, it was Alando Tucker.
Coming off an injury, Tucker had 18 points.
Andrey Vedischev, the general director of Lokomotiv, said: "We played badly. We failed on both defense and offense.
"Our centers didn't shine but the backcourt was even worse.
"I can single out only (Alando) Tucker, who has rehabilitated after an injury.
"But one player isn't enough to win against Enisey.
"The defeat in Krasnoyarsk by 15 points is an emergency. We will consider the reasons."
BC NN may lack experience but they will be a dangerous team in the EuroChallenge.
In Russia, they almost beat Khimki and UNICS, losing to the latter 77-75 in their last game despite getting 17 points from Andrey Ivanov, 16 and seven rebounds from Nigerian Jeleel Ayodeji Akindele and 13 with 11 boards from Serbia international Ivan Paunic.
Zoran Lukic is the coach of NN and he's been receiving praise from his opposites, including UNICS coach Evgeny Pashutin.
"I would like to congratulate Zoran Lukic on the fact that in such a short time, he has established a very good battle-worthy team, a young team," Pashutin said.
Deutsche Bank ‘Find A Way To Win'
|Deutsche Bank Skyliners are on a six-game winning streak in the German league, trailing unbeaten Bamberg|
One team that continues to win heading into the EuroChallenge is Gordon Herbert's Deutsche Bank Skyliners.
After beginning the season with one win and two defeats, the Frankfurt club has reeled off six straight victories and they will host Maccabi Haifa on Tuesday.
They grinded out a 74-67 win over Ludwigsburg last time out.
"Four weeks ago, five weeks ago - we would have lost this game," Herbert said.
"But we've come together as a team and we found a way.
"So I think that's the positive you can take from this game."
American center Joe Dabbert had been out of action with a finger injury but he's getting back into the flow and had 11 points for Skyliners.
"I thought it was a positive performance by him," Herbert said of the 29-year-old.
"I thought his effort was good and he did some good things on the basketball floor.
"His conditioning is still not there. You can see he gets tired real quickly ...
"But you have to give him credit. He did not rest, he played as hard as he could for three, four minutes and he has to come out. He did not rest, did not take short-cuts - he played as hard as he could."
Skyliners are second in the Beko BBL to undefeated Brose Baskets Bamberg.
Herbert said: "If you told me we were going to be 6-2 or whatever we are now (7-2), I'd say, 'Yes, it would be nice at this point of the season.' But where we're at, I'm excited about the possibilities of what we have a chance to accomplish this year.
"I'm excited about where we can go. Our point guard play is very good, Joe Dabbert is getting better.
"I think we have a real good player in Roger Powell and guys who do the little things on the floor.
"We have good role players, a couple of go-to guys and different things. And we're still missing maybe our best shooter in Jimmy McKinney who, when he got hurt (knee), was one of our top two players.
"So when he comes back, that should make us even stronger."
After the midweek setback to Skyliners, Ludwigsburg played Germany's other side in the EuroChallenge, Bonn, over the weekend and won 79-69.
Bonn are 4-5 in the Beko BBL and they travel to KK Zagreb on Tuesday.
Damir Shoots Down Hemofarm
KK Zagreb had been in awful form in the Adriatic League but they got a morale-boosting 76-73 win over visiting Hemofarm Stada with veteran guard Damir Mulaomerovic pouring in 23 points.
The winners had stormed into a 48-34 half-time lead but then held on to claim their fourth win in seven games.
Former Croatia international Mulaomerovic hit five of eight shots from long range and he also made two vital free-throws in the last minute after Serbia international Milan Macvan had reduced Hemofarm's deficit to 74-73.
KK Zagreb coach Denis Bajramovic said: "We had great psychological pressure on us, we had to win, and I think this is an indication of leaving a small crisis in which we have fallen. The first half was the best half so far."
Krka, the other Adriatic League side in the EuroChallenge, fell 86-82 at Radnicki and are now 4-3.
Krka boss Alexander Dzikic bemoaned his side's profligacy at the charity stripe where they made just 21 of 30 attempts.
"This is the first time missing eight (actually nine) free-throws," he said. "(Also) It's not easy to win in front of 3,000 people."
Portugal's EuroChallenge representives are Benfica, who won the Super Cup against FC Porto in the Algarve but lost to the same team on Saturday, 91-74.
Lukoil Academic are next up for Benfica on Tuesday in Bulgaria.
Turkey's two sides in the EuroChallenge are Pinar Karsiyaka and Turk Telekom.
The former thrashed the latter over the weekend, 96-78, to improve to 3-2 and drop Ankara outfit Turk Telekom to 1-4.