After 11 rounds we may only have two teams qualified for the playoffs but there are a number of teams standing on the brink of qualification, and there are a few teams standing on the brink of elimination in the Euroleague. There will be some big positions finalised next week.
The two games in Group E were healthy reminders that a big lead isnt always enough in the Euroleague. Both of the winning sides were trailing but they showed great tenacity to bounce back and grab the win.
Anadolu Efes Istanbul 80 – Cedevita Zagreb 76
This was a game that saw the home team recover from a double-digit deficit to cling on for a win that moves them to a 5-6 record. Efes are still just outside of the playoff spots but they are still in contention. This isn’t the case for the team from Zagreb who now fall to a 2-9 record and are eliminated from the tournament.
Thomas Heurtel was the main man for the hosts and he grabbed 19 points to give his team a massive win. Dario Saric and Derrick Brown were both in excellent form for the hosts, both grabbing 12 points while Cedi Osman shone with 10 points, including some vital late points. For the away team, Marko Arapovic and Nemanja Gordon played well, offering up 16 points each while Miro Bilan notched 14 points and James White grabbed 19 points in the loss.
Unicaja Malaga 72 – Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade 78
The home team were 19 points ahead in the third quarter but by the end of the game, it was the away team that celebrating. The Belgrade side moves onto a 7-4 record and they share second place in the group. This result leaves Zvezda one win, or even a loss for Efes, away from clinching their first ever spot in the playoffs.
Unicaja drop to a 3-8 record and they are now out of the running when it comes to the playoffs. By half-time, the hosts were 43-27 and while Zvezda threatened to rally, the score spread to 49-30 before the away team got their act together. A 2-11 scoring run made a difference and then a 7-23 run at the start of the fourth quarter pushed Belgrade home.
Stefan Jovic provided 16 points for the winners while Marko Simonovic grabbed 12 points in the final quarter, while Marko Guduric provided 12 points in total. Quincy Miller was also in decent form, offering up 11 points in the win. For the hosts, Nemanja Nedovic offered 22 points, Will Thomas offered 13 points and Jack Cooley notched 11 points in the loss.
There was just the one game in Group F on Friday evening and after the first ten minutes, it ran completely to form.
Olympiacos Piraeus 74 – Zalgiris Kaunas 54
This turned out to be a comfortable win for the Greek side who move to a 5-6 record but Kaunas fall to a 2-9 record and they now cannot qualify for the playoffs. Georgios Printezis grabbed 17 points while Kostas Papanikolaou grabbed 11 points. Othello Hunter was also in excellent form providing 11 rebounds. Ian Vougioukas notched 14 points for the losing team while Paulius Jankunas was able to grab 12 points in the defeat.
The away team led by a point after 10 minutes but the score was 39-30 at half-time, and this led the way for Olympiacos to push home their advantage. The games in Group E indicated that big leads can be overturned but the Greeks were never in danger in this game.