The second half of the Top 16 is underway and there was a bumper selection of games to enjoy on Thursday night. This means the Friday night selection looks a little bit bare, there are only two games scheduled for action this evening, but it means we have 6 games to look back on at the moment, and there were plenty of talking points for the opening games of the second half of the campaign.
There were three home wins on Thursday night in Group E and there was one game that all eyes were on.
Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul 78 – Unicaja Malaga 55
This was a game between two teams who were toiling near the bottom of the group and the hosts grabbed a vital life-line in this match. This is now the second home match in a row that the Turkish side has won, and they now move on to a 2-6 record, which is the same status as Unicaja. The Spanish side have now lost five games in a row and they are enduring a terrible run of form at the moment.
The away team slipped into an early lead, going 7-11 up early on but by half-time, the hosts were 37-28 to the good. The second half saw the hosts take full control and a 9-0 scoring run late on in the game ensured there would only be one winner. Luke Haragody was in great form for the hosts, grabbing 21 points and 8 rebounds. Mehmet Yagmur provided 12 points and Marcus Slaughter offered up 11 points for the winning side. Mindaugas Kuzminskas and Fran Vasquez both grabbed 12 points in the loss.
Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar 87 – Cedevita Zagreb 63
The hosts delivered strong first and third quarters in this game and in the end they demolished Cedevita en route to grabbing their second biggest win of the campaign. This win placed the hosts on to a 6-2 record while the away team fell to a 2-6 record and now know they are in a battle to make it to the Play-offs.
Within 10 minutes the hosts were 29-12 ahead and this extended to a 20 point lead although the Zagreb side managed to reduce the deficit to 44-33 at half-time. Any hopes of a comeback were extinguished immediately though with a 7-0 scoring run for the home team and they remained in full control to the last buzzer of the game.
Anthony Randolph had a massive game with 28 points, 13 rebounds and 5 assists, with all of those attributes being a career high for the player. This saw Randolph pick up a performance index rating of 42, which is the second best of the entire season and is in joint fourth place for the best ranking in Top 16 history. Ryan Broekhoff grabbed 14 points while Malcolm Delaney provided 11 assists in the win. Miro Bilan offered up 11 points for the losing side.
Panathinaikos Athens 76 – Fenerbahce Istanbul 71
The last undefeated record in the Top 16 is gone after Panathinaikos grabbed a huge win in Athens on Thursday evening. The win sees the hosts move to a 5-3 record and their fourth win in a row suggests that they are finding form at the right time. The away team drop to a 7-1 record after a game that saw the two teams trade leads and no team was ever more than 8 points ahead.
The score line was tied at half-time, 36-36 and it went both ways in the second quarter. With a minute left on the clock, the score was 72-71 but the hosts finished in good style.
Elliot Williams grabbed 14 points, Miroslav Raduljica offered up 13 points and Nick Calathes provided 9 points. Dimitris Diamtidis was only on the floor for twenty minutes but he provided 19 points, 7 rebounds and 3 blocks. For the Fenerbahce side, Bobby Dixon grabbed 16 points and Jan Vesely offered 12 points and 7 rebounds.
Unlike Group E, Group F conjured up one away win but there were plenty of points on offer on Thursday night as Group F starts to shake itself off for the play-offs run-in.
CSKA Moscow 109 – Khimki Moscow Region 98
There was a big scoring game in Moscow as CSKA got one over on their city rivals. This was the fourth consecutive win for CSKA and they move to a 6-2 record while the away team suffered their third consecutive loss and fall to a 4-4 record.
The away team grabbed a lead at 40-41 but this was the only time they led the entire night as the dynamic duo for CSKA took control in the second half of the game. Teodosic grabbed 26 points, with 19 coming in the second half and Nando De Colo grabbed 19 points, with 14 coming after the break. A late 13-2 scoring run put the hosts on easy street and other notable players for CSKA included Nikita Kurbanov, who grabbed 18 points, Kyle Hines offered 11 points and there was a double-double for Victor Khryapa with 10 points, 11 rebounds and 2 blocks. Tyrese Rice was the big man for the away team, grabbing 16 points and 12 assists while Alexey Shved also provided 16 points. Petteri Koponen offered 15 points, Zoran Dragic grabbed 12 points and James Augustine provided 11 points in the loss.
Brose Baskets Bamberg 86 – Real Madrid 90
It was a thriller in Germany and the game was level with 69 seconds on the clock. It could have went either way but Felipe Reyes served up the final four points of the game and the Real Madrid defence stood tall to give the reigning Euroleague champions a crucial win. The hosts drop to a 3-5 record while the Spanish giants move to a 5-3 record, and they are looking good for the play-offs.
Reyes offered up 18 points for the win, Gustavo Ayon grabbed 11 points while Augusto Lima scored 10 points and Sergio Rodriguez provided 10 assists in the win. For the hosts, Darius Miller offered up 20 points, Bradley Wanamaker offered up 16 points while Janis Strelnieks grabbed 11 points in the loss.
Laboral Kutxa Vitoria Gasteiz 71 – Zalgiris Kaunas 65
The hosts were eight points down in the final quarter but they bounced back to move to a 6-2 record while the away team slumped to a 1-7 record. Darius Adams was in great form for the hosts, grabbing 17 points while Ioannis Bourousis provided 16 points and 11 rebounds for a double-double. Fabien Causeur grabbed 14 points in the win that sees the Spanish side very much in contention for the play-offs. Paulius Jankunas and Ian Vougioukas both grabbed 13 points in the loss with Vougioukas also offering 13 rebounds to give him his first double-double of his Euroleague career. The away team had the better of the early encounters but by half-time, the score was 32-32. A 0-10 scoring run ensured the away team were in a good place late on but a late rally by the hosts grabbed a big win for them and sent Kaunas home with a major sense of disappointment.