The Top 16 is now over in the Euroleague and we don’t have too long to wait for the playoffs to take place. On Friday night, there was nothing up for grabs but there was plenty of excitement on offer for the fans that turned up to watch the games.
The three games in Group E showed that when teams have achieved their aims for a group stage, you can’t always rely on them to stick to their task. However, there were three great games with plenty of excitement and drama on offer in the group on Friday night.
Cedevita Zagreb 83 – Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade 62
The hosts brought their Euroleague campaign to a close in fine style and they will hope to be back in the running for further European fun next season. The win sees the hosts finish with a 4-10 record and comes on the back of their recent home win over Fenerbahce. On that occasion they won by 30 points so this result was the second home game in a row where they triumphed by more than twenty points. The away side already had a place in the playoffs in the bag and they finish with a 7-7 record and fourth spot in the group.
There was further joy for the hosts with Luka Mitrovic making his return from injury. The team captain played in the first game of the regular season and the last game of the Top 16 and he was well received by the crowd.
Jacob Pullen offered up 22 points, an impressive feat given that he only played 20 minutes. Luka Zoric and Miro Bilan both grabbed 12 points while Luka Babic offered up 10 points in the win. The away team received a double-double from Vladimir Stimac, who provided 18 points and 11 rebounds. Tarence Kinsey offered up 11 points and Maik Zirbes chipped in with 10 points in the loss.
Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul 87 – Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar 86
There was joy for the hosts as their Euroleague campaign reached a climax and they moved on to a 5-9 record, finishing in sixth place in the group. The away already had a playoff spot in the back and with a 9-5 record; they take second spot in Group E. The away team led for three quarters but the hosts provided a storming finish to take the game.
Luke Harangody offered up 15 points while Reggie Redding grabbed 12 points in the win. The hosts also benefitted from 11 points from Scottie Wilbekin. For the away team, Chris Singleton and Victor Claver both notched 12 points while Andrey Zubkov and Malcolm Delaney offered up 11 points in the loss. Dontaye Draper also reached double figures with 10 points.
Unicaja Malaga 71 – Fenerbahce Istanbul 67
The Turkish team haven’t been at their best since booking their spot in the playoffs but the side from Malaga took full advantage of this and ended their Top 16 campaign with a 4-10 record. The Spanish side ended up in seventh place with a 4-10 record while Fenerbahce ended with an 11-3 record at the top of the group.
A 12-3 scoring run in the second quarter provided the home team with a 39-28 lead and in the third quarter this stretched to a 16 point gap. The group leaders fought back but never got closer than 4 points.
Jack Colley reached 17 points and Nemanja Nedovic provided 14 points in the win while Pero Antic and Ricky Hickman both grabbed 12 points in the loss.
There was just the one game on Friday night in Group F but it was an exciting battle that went straight to the end of the match.
Olympiacos Piraeus 96 – CSKA Moscow 99
This game may not have meant too much but the Russian side ended with a 10-4 record while the hosts had to settle for a 6-8 record and seventh place in the group. The winners were boosted by 20 points from Nando De Colo, with 12 of these points coming in the last 12 minutes of the game! Aaron Jackson and Milos Teodosic provided 13 points while Nikita Kurbanov and Vitaly Fridzon offered 11 points each in the win. There was also 10 points from Andrey Vorontsevich.
The home team had 18 points from Matt Lojeski, Vassilis Spanoulis offered 17 points, Vangelis Mantzaris grabbed 12 points in the loss and Othello Hunter provided 11 points for the Greeks.
At half-time the away side were 45-50 ahead but Olympiacos rallied and after half an hour, the hosts were 69-64 ahead.
The playoff ties, which begin next week are:
Game 1 on Tuesday 12th April:
Game 1 on Wednesday 13th April:
The games played on Tuesday the 12th are repeated on Thursday the 14th and the games played on Wednesday the 13th are repeated on Friday the 15th. The third round of fixtures in the playoffs begin on Tuesday the 19th of April and the teams who were away from home in the first two games will be at home in the third game.