The Top 16 only finished on Friday but we have already enjoyed the first two Euroleague 2016 playoff games. With the top two teams in both groups being rewarded with home court advantage in the playoffs, there is obviously some merit to playing at home, and so it proved in the opening two games.
Fenerbahce Istanbul 75 – Real Madrid 69
The reigning Euroleague champions knew they were up against it in their playoff clash and they’ll have to bounce back from an opening game defeat. Fenerbahce know how deadly they are at home and if they can perform in a similar manner on Thursday night, they could have a 2-0 lead in the bag for the journey to the Spanish capital.
The hosts were pretty much in control of the game, being 15-11 ahead at the end of the first quarter while being 41-29 ahead at the break. There was a massive third quarter for Real Madrid, hauling the score back to 53-52 at the end of the third quarter but this was the cue for the hosts to step up a gear in the final quarter and finish the job they started strongly in the opening half.
Kostas Sloukas and Bogdan Bogdanovic both delivered 17 points each in the win while Ekpe Udoh, so often the hero this season served up 10 points in the victory. Felipe Reyes provided 13 points in the loss for the Spanish giants while Sergio Llull and Sergio Rodriguez grabbed 12 points for the away team. Rudy Fernandez sneaked into double figures with 10 points.
CSKA Moscow 84 – Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade 74
It was the first time that Crvena Zvezda have been in the Euroleague playoffs but it wasn’t to be a happy night as the Belgrade side fell to defeat in Moscow on Tuesday night. With the next game taking place on Thursday night, there will be no time to dwell on the defeat for the away team as they have to go again.
Of course, the hosts will be looking to make the most of playing at home again before they head off on their travels. It was a sprightly first half and even though CSKA Moscow enjoyed a 15-3 scoring run at one point in the opening quarter, the half-time score was 44-40. Milos Teodosic managed to deliver 15 points in this half and in the second half, there was plenty more drama, and a lot of points from Teodosic.
The hosts would open up a big gap before being pegged back but the closest Belgrade got late on was 6 points and in the end it was a comfortable win for CSKA. Teodosic ended up with 23 points and this is the most he has grabbed in a playoff game. Kyle Hines provided 21 points, a high in the Euroleague, Nikita Kurbanov provided 13 points and Nando De Colo only managed 7 points but he did provide 10 assists.
Quincy Miller and Stefan Jovic both grabbed 14 points in the defeat while Tarence Kinsey notched 11 points in the loss. The players can ease up on Wednesday but will have to be back on it come Thursday.
All four of these sides will face each other again on Thursday night with the away sides looking for a change of fortune.