We are only halfway through Round 10 of the Top 16 and we already have one team qualified for the playoffs. By the end of this week’s action, there could be another team confirmed for the next stage of the Euroleague tournament, and fi teams hadn’t woken up to the fact that we are at the business end of the tournament by now, it may be too late!
There were four games on Thursday evening, spread out equally between Group E and Group F. The same split takes place on Friday night but for now, the focus is on what transpired on Thursday evening.
One game was focused on the tussle at the top of the group while the other match was all about avoiding coming in last. The shape of Group E is starting to look a little clearer after these two games but there is still a long way to go.
Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar 52 – Fenerbahce Istanbul 55
This may have been a game that was low on points but it was high on drama and excitement. The victory for Fenerbahce Istanbul was enough to seal their passage to the playoffs and they should be very proud of their 9-1 record for this stage of the event. It is not as if Lokomotiv are a poor team, the loss moved them to a 7-3 record, so it was a tremendous away win for the Turkish side.
The game ebbed and flowed throughout and in the fourth quarter, there were a total of five lead changes. The game went to the buzzer with Victor Claver attempting a three point shot to tie the game, only to miss the effort, giving the away team the win. Bogdan Bogdanovic was the leading man with 17 points while Luigi Datome picked up 10 points in the win. Claver picked up a double-double in the loss, with 12 points and 12 rebounds while Malcolm Delaney provided 12 points and 5 assists in the defeat.
Cedevita Zagreb 78 – Unicaja Malaga 91
The Spanish side may have lost six games in a row prior to this match but they got themselves back on track with a 78-91 win in Croatia. This win moved the Spanish side to a 3-7 record while Zagreb dropped to a 2-8 run and a sixth loss in a row. The hosts started brightly but it didn’t take too long for the away team to take control of the game. A 2-12 scoring run put Malaga in control and they never lost that lead. At the break, the score was 42-48. After this, the smallest the gap fell to was 8 points and at one point in the final quarter, there was 18 points between the two sides.
Nemanja Nedovic provided 15 points while Jack Cooley bagged a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Fran Vasquez was able to offer 14 points and 9 rebounds while Will Thomas provided 14 points in the win. There was also support from Mindaugas Kuzminskas who grabbed 11 points and DeMarcos Nelson provided 10 points in the win. The hosts were paced by James White grabbing 16 points, Jacob Pullen offered up 15 points, Marko Aarapovic provided 12 points while Miro Bilan notched 10 points and 9 rebounds in the loss.
The late drama in Germany was all that people could talk about at the end of the Thursday night games in Group F.
Brose Baskets Bamberg 72 – Olympiacos Piraeus 71
This game went to the wire and with just four games left to play in the group; both teams now sit with a 4-6 record. There were three 3 point efforts in the last 90 seconds of the game and the fans were still catching their breath when they were making their way home from this game.
With less than one minute on the clock, the hosts were trailing by five points, and this was after Daniel Theis dropped a three point shot to get his team back in the game. Nikos Zisis may have only got one basket all game but with 41 seconds on the clock, it hauled the hosts to within touching distance. The Bamberg defence stood tall and Janis Strenieks turned the game with 4.7 seconds left on the clock.
Bradley Wanamaker and Leon Radosevic provided 11 points each in the win while Strelnieks and Nicolo Melli both grabbed 10 points. Georgios Printezis grabbed a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds whole Othello Hunter of Olympiacos provided 17 points. Vassilis Spanoulis also provided 15 points and 9 assists in the loss.
Laboral Kutxa Vitoria Gasteiz 98 – Khimki Moscow Region 83
This was a big win for the hosts, moving them to a 7-3 record while the away team dropped to a 5-5 record. There were 12,000 fans in the Fernando Buesa Arena and they got to see Ioannis Bourousis grab his 10th double-double of the campaign. 16 points, 13 rebounds and 6 assists was another big return for the player, but he wasn’t alone in performing strongly. Fabien Causeur and Darius Adams grabbed 17 points each in the win. There was 13 points from Davis Bertans and 12 points from Adam Hanga. In the defeat there was 19 points for Alexey Shved, 18 points from Paul Davis, 15 points from Petteri Koponen and 10 assist from Tyrese Rice.
The away team led at the ten minute mark and at half-time, the score was 45-46 and fans were gearing up for a tense second half. However, this was the cue for Causeur to take control of the game, delivering 12 points in the third quarter. There was also a spectacular buzzer-beating shot by Mike James at the end of the third quarter, and this put the hosts firmly in control of this game. In the final quarter, Bertans was a class act at both ends of the court and the hosts saw it out for a convincing and comfortable win.