There may be one more week of action to go but all four of the playoff spots in Group E in the Euroleague Top 16 have been claimed. There are still two spots up for grabs in Group F, which means that there will be plenty of excitement on offer next weekend but people who were hoping for the most dramatic of endings to this stage of the season will find that they won’t get the finish they were looking for.
There will still be teams jostling for individual placings next week in Group E but the results this week means that all 4 playoff spots are already in the bag.
Fenerbahce Istanbul 90 – Anadolu Efes Istanbul 86
It was the last Turkish derby of the Euroleague of the season and in the end, it was the hosts that claimed the spoils. On paper, Fenerbahce had little to play for, although their players would have been keen to bounce back from their terrible showing in the previous week. The result however, eliminated Efes from the playoff hunt, as they hold a 6-7 record and due to their tie-break standing, they are unable to move ahead of Panathianikos or Crvena Zvezda. The hosts are secure in first place and have an 11-2 record.
With less than 4 minutes left on the clock, the home side were 18 points ahead, Efes rallied late on but they were unable to turn the game back around. With a second the clock, the score was 88-86 meaning it could have finished either way but Luigi Datome got the vital last points of the game.
Datome ended up clinching 24 points in the game while Bogdan Bogdanovic provided 21 points in the win. Pero Antic provided 13 points and Bobby Dixon offered 10 points in the win. There was a double-double from Thomas Huertel, grabbing 14 points and 13 assists in the defeat while Cedi Osman, Derrick Brown and Jayson Granger all grabbed 13 points, while Dario Saric offered 12 points in the loss.
Panathinaikos Athens 76 – Cedevita Zagreb 60
It was party time in Athens on Friday night with the hosts clinching a playoff spot and Dimitris Diamantidis being named (see video) as an official Euroleague Basketball Legend. Before this game had reached half-time the home teams place in the playoffs was secured thanks to the result in Istanbul but Panathinaikos were already 15 points ahead at the break and they never looked like letting the Zagreb side back into the game in the second half.
The win sees the home team move on to a 9-4 record and they will finish in third place at least but second place in Group E remains up for grabs.
James Gist provided 15 points in the win while Diamantidis grabbed 10 points. Sasha Pavlovic provided 9 points and Nick Calathes was involved all over the court. Marko Arapovic provided 11 points in the loss while Toni Katic was on hand to provide 9 points in the defeat.
There was an almighty match in Spain in Group F and the result in that game ensures that Group F is going to the wire.
CSKA Moscow 100 – Zalgiris Kaunas 86
The hosts were trailing at the break but they rebounded strongly in the second half to guarantee home court advantage in the playoffs. The Russian side are 9-4 and can clinch top spot next week if they win or Laboral loses.
Nando De Colo grabbed 26 points in the win, Milos Teodosic provided 15 points, Kyle Hines grabbed 14 points and Vitaly Fridzon offered up 12 points in the win. This game was the fifth time that CSKA Moscow have reached 100 points for the campaign. For the away team, Olivier Hanlan grabbed 15 points, Ian Vougioukas and Brock Motum provided 13 points and Jerome Randle offered up 10 points in the loss. With a 2-11 record, Kaunas are completely marooned at the foot of the Group F table.
Laboral Kutxa Vitoria Gasteiz 89 – Real Madrid 88
What a night in Spain as two of the top teams in the country battled to the death in a game that will be remembered for a long time to come. The 14,000 fans in attendance at the Fernando Buesa Arena will remember this game for many years to come.
The hosts had already booked their playoff spot thanks to results on Thursday and with a 9-4 record in the bag, Laboral are guaranteed to be one of the top two teams in the group. The reigning Euroleague champions are in a spot of both though as they have a 6-7 record and they face a shoot-out with Khimki Moscow Region next week. If Madrid lose, they are out but even a win will not be enough if Kaunas, Olympiacos and Laboral all win. That may seem unlikely but it indicates that Madrid are not in a comfortable position when it comes to playoff qualification.
Madrid were 86-88 ahead with less than give seconds on the lock but Davis Bertans sunk a three point shot with 2.3 seconds on the clock and the home fans went crazy.
Mike James provided 27 points in the win and former Real Madrid man Ioannis Bourousis provided a double-double with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Sergio Rodriguez offered 18 points for Madrid while both Sergio Llull and Gustavo Ayon grabbed 14 points each in the narrow defeat.