Good Friday was a great Friday in the Euroleague with some nail-biting tension and top quality basketball at the end of Round 12 in the Euroleague Top 16.
There are two playoff spots in Group E already claimed and the final two spots are up for grabs between three teams, so we will have some excitement in the next two weeks of Euroleague action.
Cedevita Zagreb 89 – Fenerbahce Istanbul 59
Fenerbahce Istanbul are finding that life as a playoff qualifier isn’t that easy. They were mauled in Zagreb on Friday night with Cevedita enjoying their biggest Euroleague victory. The hosts started in strong fashion, Marko Arapovic providing 9 points alone in the first quarter, and then the team pushed on from there.
The win places the home team, who are out of the running for the playoffs, onto a 3-9 record while the Turkish team are still group leaders with their 10-2 record. Arapovic managed to grab 18 points in total, Miro Bilan provided 15 points, James White offered 11 points while Jacob Pullen grabbed 10 points in the win. Ekpe Udoh was on hand with 11 points for the losing side.
Anadolu Efes Istanbul 87 – Unicaja Malaga 67
The hosts were in control of this game from start to end giving the Turkish side their third win in a row, and Efes now move on to a 6-6 record in the group. The Spanish side fell to a 3-8 record and they join two other teams in a share of sixth place in the group.
Thomas Huertel helped the hosts get off to a great start with a 15-2 scoring run and although Unicaja threatened to bounce back, a 16-2 scoring run saw the hosts leading by 49-30 at the break. In the second half, the Turkish side were always comfortable and the game was over as a content long before the finish.
Huertel managed to grab 17 points and 13 assists for a double-double, a feat also achieved by Dario Saric who picked up 17 points and 11 rebounds. Cedi Osman also provided 11 points in the win. For Unicaja, DeMarcus Nelson provided 12 points, Dani Diez grabbed 11 points and Edwin Jackson served up 10 points for the losers.
Things are looking very exciting in Group F. We have one team through, one team on the brink of booking a playoff spot and then we have five teams battling it out for the final two spots, and they could go anyway in the next two weeks.
Zalgiris Kaunas 71 – Khimki Moscow Region 76
The Russian side are still very much in the hunt for the playoffs after this away day win in Kaunas. Khimki have moved on to a 6-6 record while Zalgiris, who are already out of contention for the playoffs, are now on a 2-10 record for the season. The away team started strongly but the game ebbed and flowed in the opening half, and at the break, the score was 37-35. In the second half, Khimki worked hard on improving their defensive work, allowing Tyler Honeycutt to make the difference at the other end of the court.
In the end Tyrese Rice provided 17 points, Petteri Koponen grabbed 15 points, James Augustine offered up 12 points and there was a double-double for Honeycutt with 10 points and 17 rebounds. For the hosts, Edgaras Ulanovas offered up 17 points, Paulius Jankunas grabbed 16 points, Lukas Lekavicius picked up 11 points and Brock Motum offered up 10 points in defeat.
Olympiacos Piraeus 99 – Real Madrid 84
This was a massive game in the Group F playoff hunt and Olympiacos B.C. grabbed the upper hand. The two teams now have a 6-6 record but so do three other teams which means that there are five teams in Group F locked on the same record. From third position all the way down to 7th position are on the same record, so there is going to be an almighty battle in the next two weeks.
Vangelis Mantzaris managed to grab 19 points, thanks to a 6 out of 6 record, and this was a career high for the player. The hosts picked up 19 points from Vangelis Mantzaris and Georgios Printezis offered up 17 points in the win. Sergio Llull and KC Rivers both provided 17 points each for Real Madrid while Sergio Rodriguez and Jaycee Carroll both grabbed 11 points each for the losing side. It has been a tough campaign for the reigning Euroleague champions and they know that they face a challenge to break into the playoff spots.
The win was enough to take the tie-break advantage between the two teams, the 15 points gap being bigger than the 12 point win that Madrid achieved earlier on in the campaign.