With one game on Wednesday night and 4 games on Thursday, most of the Euroleague teams have an early start on their weekend. There was plenty of action across the 5 games that have already been played out and there were some big wins, and some crushing defeats, across the continent.
The group got underway on Wednesday night with one game taking place.
Zalgiris Kaunas 72 – FC Barcelona 83
This win ensured that Barcelona are all but guaranteed of home advantage in the playoff but for Kaunas, the biggest outcome of the game was an end to their hopes of continuing in the Euroleague this campaign. The win was the 6th game in a row that Barcelona have won in the Euroleague and they now move on to a 9-3 record. If Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv lose in Madrid on Friday night, the Catalan club will be guaranteed to finish in first or second place in the group and this means that they will host three of their 5 playoff games, if required. The loss moves Zalgiris to a 4-8 record with two games to go.
Even if Kaunas were able to win these games and draw level with Panathinaikos and Alba Berlin, a three way tie-breaker would kick in and the Lithuanian side would lose out.
The match emphasises the strength of the Catalan squad with its bench scoring highly in this one. Alex Abrines was the leading scorer for the away team with 16 points and he delivered back to back three pointers in the fourth quarter which put the game beyond the reach of the home side.
Tibor Pleiss offered up 14 points and 7 rebounds, Tomas Satoransky provided 12 points and Ante Tomic and DeShaun Thomas both offered up 11 points. James Anderson was the top scorer in the game, offering up 24 points in the first three quarters while Arturas Milaknis offered 12 points while Darius Songalia provided 10 points.
There was one Thursday night game in Group E.
Alba Berlin 73 – Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade 68
This was a thrilling game in Berlin and the home side have kept their playoff dreams alive with this win which moves them on to a 6-6 record in the group. The away side slipped to a 3-9 record and this now means that they are mathematically out of the running for a playoff spot.
The game was tied with 6 minutes to go and it would have been natural for the home fans to assume the worst as Crvena were on a roll at this point but Alex Renfroe and Leon Radosevic stepped up before Reggie Redding tied it all up with two minutes to go.
Renfroe offered up 13 points and 6 assists while Radosevic provided 10 points. Redding, in addition to his vital points at the end, also offered 11 assists for the winning team, which was a career high for the player.
Boban Marjanovic provided 27 points, a career high, and a performance index ranking of 40 points. With 10 rebounds, he was able to claim a 14th double-double for the campaign and Chris Jenkins provided 19 points for the away side.
Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul 78 – Unicaja Malaga 63
This was the 9th game in a row that the Turkish side, moving them on to a 10-2 record, and in an act of symmetry, the defeat ensured that Malaga dropped down to a 2-10 record. The Spanish side got off to a flying start, grabbing the first 7 points scored in the game and after 10 minutes, the visitors were leading 19-21. However, the home side stepped it up in the second quarter, pulling away from their guests and leading 39-33 by half-time.
Andrew Goudelock grabbed 22 points in the game and Nemana Bjelica offered up 15 points and 11 rebounds, helping himself to a double-double. Bogdan Bogdanovic provided 11 points for the winners while Ryan Toolson and Stefan Markovic were key players for the away side, grabbing 14 points and 10 points respectively.
Olympiacos Piraeus 86 – Anadolue Efes Istanbul 75
This was a game that remained tight for the opening 35 minutes but in the final part of the game, the home side raced away and booked their place in the Euroleague playoff, holding a 9-3 4 record. The loss means that Efe now hold a 5-7 record in the group but at the moment, they are in fourth place and this will be good enough to seal a playoff place, so they have something to keep playing for.
Ioannis Papapetrou may only have offered up 12 minutes this season before this game but in five minutes he grabbed 10 points, and he was a pivotal player in a storming last quarter that saw the home team grab 33 points. Oliver Lafayette offered up 17 points, George Printezis provided 14 points and a career high of 12 rebounds, earning him a double-double. Papapetrou provided 12 points in total and Olympiacos were also boosted by both Othello Hunter and Dario Saric scoring 10 points. Efes were helped by Stratos Perperoglu offering 23 points, including a career high of 5 three point shots and Nenad Krstic offered 12 points. Dario Saric also scored a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
EA7 Emporio Armani Milan 99 – Laboral Kutxa Vitoria on 85
With the home team trailing by 15 points at one point, it would have been difficult for the home fans to believe that there was a night of glory ahead of them. Milan rallied though and with Alessandro Gentile having a career high night, they grabbed a win that moved them to a 4-8 record and hauled Laboral to within touching distance, as the Spanish side now has a 5-7 record. There is one remaining playoff spot in Group F and both of these teams are very much in the running. If it comes down to a head to head, the Spanish side will progress thanks to their superior margin of victory in the first game between these two teams, but this result was very beneficial to Milan.
Gentile offered 29 points and 7 rebounds while Samardo Samuels provided 17 points and 7 rebounds for the winners. MarShon Brooks was also on fire with 13 points and Daniel Hackett provided 12 points for the home side. Darius Adams offered up 18 points for Laboral, Fabien Causuer grabbed 17 points and Tornike Shengelia provided 14 points. There was also double figure offerings from Mike James and Fernando San Emeterio, both offering 11 points.