There were only three games to get things underway in Round 3 of the Top 16 on Thursday, but that means that basketball fans have a lot to look forward to on Friday. What the Thursday night Euroleague offering lacked in quantity more than made up for in quality.
There were two games played out in Group E on Friday with an intriguing clash in Israel while the group leaders showed their class in Germany.
Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv 70 – FC Barcelona 68
The reigning champions may have lost their last eight games with Barcelona but they snapped out of that in a game that was engrossing right to the end. Jeremy Pargo was a massive player for the Israeli side, grabbing 20 points and 7 assists. It was also Pargo that grabbed the winning points with 2.4 seconds left on the clock. This allowed Maccabi to win its 500th Euroleague game, not a bad record in 800 games against some of the best teams in Europe.
Other key players for Maccabi were Devin Smith, who offered 15 points and 5 rebounds while Sofoklis Schortanitis offered up 11 points and 9 rebounds. Ante Tomic was the only player for Barcelona to break into double figures, picking up 21 points and 10 rebounds.
Maccabi Electra now have a 2-1 record, sitting in second place halfway through Round 3, while Barcelona slumped to a 1-2 record and are in the bottom half of Group F.
Alba Berlin 61 – Real Madrid 79
While their Catalonian counterparts were toiling in Israel, Real Madrid were cruising in Berlin. This win moved the Spanish giants on to a 3-0 record and they are the only team in Group E with a 100% record. The German side dropped to a 1-2 record.
Madrid were buoyed by a strong performance from Sergio Llull who offered 13 points while Sergio Rodriguez provided 12 points and 7 assists. Other big players for Madrid were KC Rivers who provided 11 points and Rudy Fernandez picked up 10 points. Alba were supported by Jamel McLean grabbing 12 points and Alex Renfroe offering up 13 points. The German side started well but Madrid were soon up and running and were in control of the match at half-time.
There was only one game in Group F on Thursday night and all eyes were on Istanbul as the CSKA Moscow juggernaut kept rolling on.
Anadolu Efes Istanbul 69 – CSKA Moscow 78
13 was not unlucky for CSKA Moscow as the Russian side moved on to a 13-0 record in the Euroleague this campaign. This moved them to a 3-0 record in the Euroleague and while it was a hard fought win over Efes, who fell to a 2-1 record in the Top 16, it always looked as though the Russian side would have enough about them. Moscow had a two point lead at half-time, rallying back from an impressive opening from the home team. In the second half, 49-49 was as good as it got for Efes as CSKA stepped up a gear late on, with Nando De Colo grabbing 11 points in the fourth quarter alone. De Colo grabbed 22 points in total, while offering up 7 rebounds and 4 steals. Aaron Jackson offered up 21 points for the Russian side while Andrey Vorontsevich provided 16 points. When you think that CSKA played without Sonny Weems, this wasn’t a bad win at all!
Stratos Perperoglou provided 17 points and 7 rebounds for the home side while Dario Saric provided 14 points, Milko Bjelica offered 12 points and Dontaye Draper provide 10 points for the losers.