Basketball doesn’t stop because of Easter and the Top 16 in the Euroleague has already witnessed some brilliant action this week. There are four games on Good Friday to enjoy but we’ve already had four games that have served up drama and excitement. By the end of this week, the playoff picture may look a bit clearer but it looks as though there will be drama to come in the last few weeks of the Top 16 section.
Wednesday 23rd March
There was just one game on Wednesday night with the focus falling on Group F and two teams who regularly clash on domestic duties in the Spanish league.
Laboral Kutxa Vitoria Gasteiz 75 – FC Barcelona Lassa 71
The hosts managed to cling on to the victory that moves them to an 8-4 record and if results go their way on Friday evening, Laboral could find themselves in the playoffs. Barcelona fell to a 6-6 record and once again know that they have a good bit to do to make it through to the playoffs.
The hosts were 40-33 ahead at half-time and a lot of this was down to a 15-3 scoring run that was pushed on by Ioannis Bourousis and Mike James. The hosts pushed it out further but Barcelona eventually managed to rally to a 65-65 score line but the Catalan club never managed to break into the lead. Kim Tillie and Jaka Blazic were instrumental at the death to clinch the game for the hosts.
Bourousis offered up 22 points and 7 rebounds, James grabbed 14 points and Adam Hanga offered up 11 points. Tomas Satoransky provided 20 points for Barcelona while Alex Abrines provided 18 points, with 13 in the final quarter and Ante Tomic had 10 points in the loss.
Thursday 24th March
There were three games on Thursday night with Group E playing catching up after Group F got this week’s basketball off to an early start.
Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar 86 – Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade 62
The win saw Lokomotiv through to the playoffs in the Euroleague for the first time ever. This win moves the hosts to an 8-4 record win and the margin of victory also sees them take the head to head advantage if it comes down to it. Second place, and home-court advantage, is still up for grabs in Group E and the margin of this win could see Lokomotiv push through.
The Belgrade side are now on a 7-5 record but if the Unicaja Malaga and Anadolu Efes Istanbul result goes their way on Friday, the Belgrade side could be celebrating by the weekend. A 14-3 scoring run just before half-time split the game and the away side never really recovered. The gap at half-time was 10 points and in the third quarter this had been pushed out to 18 as Lokomotiv strolled to victory.
Chris Singleton and Anthony Randolph both grabbed 17 points in the win and Malcolm Delaney provided 12 points in victory. For Crvena Zvezda, Marko Guduric grabbed 13 points and Tarence Kinsey offered up 10 points in defeat.
Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul 84 – Panathinaikos Athens 86
There was a huge end to this game as Elliot Williams grabbed 5 points in the final 27 seconds of the match to power Panathinaikos to victory in Istanbul. The victory places the away team on to an 8-4 record and they are one result away from qualifying, a feat that could be achieved on Friday if Anadolu lose. Darussafaka had already been eliminated and they drop to a 3-9 record in Group E.
The hosts, boosted by Semih Erden grabbed 13 points early on, raced into a 27-15 lead in the opening quarter and by the second quarter, the hosts were 13 points ahead. However, a 0-11 scoring run just before half-time meant that the score was 42-40 at the break. The lead went back and forth in the second half and with less than a minute on the clock, Darussafaka led 84-81 but this was the cue for Williams to take control of the game.
Miroslav Raduljica offered up 21 points for the winners, James Feldeine grabbed 12 points and James Gist offered 10 points in the win. Erden would eventually pick up 18 points in the game, Scottie Wilbekin provided 13 points, Manuchar Markoishvili provided 12 points and Emir Preldzic offered 11 points in the loss.
Brose Baskets Bamberg 91 – CSKA Moscow 83
The German side love playing at home and they gave their fans another amazing night in Group F as they downed CSKA Moscow in a match that makes Group F a little bit more intriguing. This was the first time Brose Baskets have defeated CSKA Moscow after 11 straight defeats.
Nicolo Melli was on hand with 17 points and both Leon Radosevic and Nikos Zisis grabbed 14 points in the win which leaves Bamberg with a 6-6 record this season. There were also 11 points from Brad Wanamaker and 10 points from Janis Strelnieks in the win. The Russian side fall to an 8-4 record despite Nando De Colo providing 21 points, Milos Teodosic offering 19 points and Andrey Vorontsevich grabbing 17 points.