This has been a staggered week in the Euroleague with action getting underway on Wednesday night. The bulk of the action was on Thursday evening though and there were plenty of talking points for European basketball fans to consider.
Wednesday 2nd March
The only game of the night saw the reigning Euroleague champions in action against a rteam that has been in far better form this season.
Real Madrid 87 – CSKA Moscow 96
The inconsistency of reigning Euroleague champions Real Madrid was brought to the fore once again this week. CSKA Moscow are clearly a team that knows how to do the damage in the group stages of the Eurfoleague, this was the Russian team’s fifth consecutive win and they have a 7-2 record. The result was all the more remarkable given that the Russian side grabbed 32 points in the last quarter of the game.
The hosts are now in third place in the group and they hold a 5-4 record. For once, the dynamic duo of CSKA were not at the front of the scoring charts, with Kyle Hines picking up 16 points. Milos Teodosic was close behind on 15 points, Vitaly Fridzon grabbed 13 points, Nando De Colo offered up 12 points and Cory Higgins provided 10 points in the win. The winners were boosted by a double-double from Gustavo Ayon, grabbing 20 points and 12 rebounds while Sergio Llull also got in on the double-double action with 14 points and 10 assists. Sergio Rodriguez picked up 15 points in the loss and Felipe Reyes offered 13 points.
Thursday 3rd March
Group E was the busier of the two groups on Thursday night, serving up three games and plenty of big moments to satisfy even the most demanding basketball fans.
While all good runs have to come to an end at some point, the Thursday night action in Group E emphasised the momentum that some teams benefit from when they grab a few wins in a row.
Cedevita Zagreb 77 – Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul 83
In a battle between the bottom dogs of the group, the Turkish side picked up their first road win of the Top 16, moving on to a 3-6 record in the group. The side from Zagreb are now rooted to the foot of Group E with a 2-7 record and things are looking very grim for Cedvita.
The away team took control very early on in the game but going into the fourth quarter, they led 61-69. There were a number of lead changes in the last quarter but with less than a minute on the clock, the away side powered away and sealed the win. Marcus Slaughter offered up 17 points, a season high for the player, Manuchar Markoishvili grabbed 15 points and Reggie Redding provided 10 points in the win. For the hosts, Jacob Pullen provided 26 points, equalling his club record, while Miro Bilan provided 13 points and Nemanja Gordic grabbed 11 points in the defeat.
Anadolu Efes Istanbul 61 – Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar 76
The hosts fell to a 3-6 record with this loss but the good times keep on coming for Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar. They had a three game winning streak coming into this game and they boast the best defence in the Eurileague, so this wasn’t a surprise but anyone expecting the Lokomotiv bandwagon to be derailed anytime soon may find that they have a lot to wait. The away side seized the initiative early on with Anthony Randolph grabbing 10 points in the opening quarter. There was a 10 point gap at half-time, which was stretched to 13 points in the third quarter and the hosts never got closer than 6 points.
Malcolm Delaney provided 19 points; Randolph offered 17 points while Victor Claver grabbed 14 points. Thomas Heurtel was the only home player to bag double figures, reaching 17 points.
Unicaja Malaga 58 – Panathinaikos Athens 76
The Greeks were never in any danger of losing this match after a very strong opening and they clocked up their fifth win in a row in Spain on Thursday evening. This moves Panathinaikos to a 6-3 record while the hosts fell to a 2-7 record. A 2-18 scoring run very early on saw the score after 10 minutes standing at 7-26 and by the break, it was 27-42. At the third quarter, the score was 46-64 and there was no sense of hope or fightback from the hosts throughout the evening.
Elliot Williams grabbed 16 points in the win, Miroslav Raduljica provided 12 points and Nick Calathes and James Gist both grabbed 10 points. Calathes also offered up 10 assists so he delivered a double-double on the evening. For the hosts, Mindaugas Kuzminskas grabbed 15 points and Edwin Jackson delivered 13 points in the loss.
There was just the one game in Group F on Thursday but once again, one of the most established names in European basketball endured a tough evening.
Khimki Moscow Region 75 – FC Barcelona 61
The hosts may have been on a losing streak going into this one but they demolished the Catalan side and moved to a 5-4 record, while the away side slipped to a 4-5 record in Group F. The hosts started well and had a 24-14 lead at the 10 minute mark. The score was 48-39 at half-time and the lead extended to 56-33. Barcelona slightly reigned this in and got as close as 11 points at one points and in the end, the only consolation for the Catalan club was the fact that they got close to enough to retain the tie-break advantage. Barcelona had won by 17 points in the earlier clash, so if it comes to a tie-breaker, it is the Catalonians who will edge the Moscow side.
Alexey Shved offered 16 points for the hosts, James Augustine grabbed 13 points, as did Paul Davis, and there was a double-double for Tyler Honeycutt with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Justin Doellman grabbed 14 points for the away side.