With 5 games from round 14 of the Top 16 on Thursday night, the Euroleague is almost at the playoff stage. Thursday night was an evening of high drama with some teams achieving their playoff dreams and some teams finding that their playoff dreams were cruelly shot down.
ALBA Berlin 64 – Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv 73
It was a sad night for the home fans in Berlin as reigning Euroleague champions Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv held firm to grab the win they needed. This result sees the champions progress into the playoffs while Berlin have had their playoff hopes dashed for another season. It was a close game throughout the match but the fact that Maccabi were never behind at any points says a lot about the game.
Mind you, there were two ties in the fourth quarter and there was just three points in the game with four minutes to go. It was at this point that Devin Smith sank a three pointer, his seventh of the evening, and Maccabi shut up shop. This win moves the Israelis onto a 9-5 record in the group, they finished third in Group E and they will take on Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul in the playoff round. The home team finished in fifth place and have a 7-7 record in the Top 16. They just missed out on a playoff spot due to losing the tie-breaker with Panathinaikos Athens.
Smith grabbed 28 points in total for the winners, which was a career high and Brian Randle offered up 13 points. Sofoklis Schortsanitis provided 10 points while Alex Tyus offered up 19 rebounds. Alex Renfroe was the main man for Berlin, providing 10 points and 9 assists while Leon Radosvic and Jamel McLean provided 10 points each. Marko Banic and Reggie Redding offered up 9 points each for the home team.
Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade 69 – Panathinaikos Athens 68
They may be heading out of the Euroleague but the team from Belgrade left in great style. A shot with 2.2 seconds to from Boban Marjanovic swung this game against a Panathinaikos side that knew their playoff spot was secured long before the end of their game.
The Greek team finished with a 7-7 record in the Euroleague and they will take on CSKA Moscow in the playoff round. The Belgrade side finished up with a 4-10 record in the Top 16 and they ended up in 7th place. Boban grabbed yet another double-double, his 16th of the campaign, with 12 points and 16 rebounds. He clinched the record for the most rebounds in a single season, with 256 rebounds, and the highest accumulated performance index rating of the season, with 616. Nikola Kalinic provided 14 points for the home team with Jaka Blazic, Luka Mitrovic and Marcus Williams all offering 11 points. Esteban Batista provided 15 points while Dimitris Diamantidis offered up 12 points.
Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul 83 – Anadolu Efes Istanbul 72
In the big Istanbul derby, both teams walked away slightly happy. Fenerbahce emphasised that they are top dogs in the city with a win which enabled them to grab an 11-3 record in the Top 16, but results elsewhere ensured that Efes made it to the playoffs. Anadolu finished with a 6-8 record in Group F but this was enough to push them into the playoffs. Fenerbahce face Maccabi Tel Aviv in the playoffs next week.
Andrew Goudelock offered up 24 points for the winners, Bogdan Bogdanovic provided 17 points and Oguz Savas and Jan Vesely provided 10 points. Birkan Batuk was the top man for Efes with 12 points, Nenad Krstic and Stratos Perperoglou offered 11 points and Stephane Lasme and Cedi Osman offered 10 points each for the visitors.
Unicaja Malaga 93 – Laboral Kutxa Vitoria 84
The home side finished with a 4-10 record in the Top 16 but they will have taken plenty of joy from defeating Laboral, and denying them a chance to make the playoffs. Vitoria finished with a 6-8 record and in fifth place, but the head-to-head advantage belonged to Anadolu Efes, which meant that the team from Istanbul made it to the playoffs.
Ryan Toolson provided 17 points for the winners while Jayson Granger provided 15 points and 6 assists. Caleb green was also a key player, providing 11 points for the home team. Fabien Causeur was a key player for the away team with 21 points while Fernando San Emeterio provided 16 points and Darius Adams provided 12 points.
EA7 Emporio Armani Milan 79 – CSKA Moscow 88
This was a comfortable win for Moscow that was far more comprehensive than the score line would suggest. The Russian side took first place in the group with a 12-2 record, and now face Panathinaikos in the next round. Milan finished with a 4-10 record in sixth place.
Sasha Kaun provided 19 points and 8 rebounds while Andrei Kirilenko and Andrey Vorontesevich provided 14 points. Milos Teodosic managed to provide 8 assists in the game. Key players for Milan included Samardo Samuels, who grabbed 18 points, Alessandro Gentile who offered 15 points and MarShon Brooks, who helped himself to 13 points.