You can bet that the courts in many of the top Euroleague arenas are pretty clean at the moment because there have been three massive sweeps in the Euroleague playoffs this week! Monday night saw CSKA Moscow claim a 3-0 victory in their playoff series and on Tuesday night, there were three games taking place, and two of them provided us with a sweep.
All of which means that only one round of fixtures heads into Game 4, so we could have all 4 of the Final Four teams in the bag by this weekend.
Real Madrid 63 – Fenerbahce Istanbul 75
The reigning Euroleague champions will not be defending their title this season as Real Madrid fell at home to Fenerbahce Istanbul, giving the Turkish team a 3-0 victory in this series of fixtures. It has been a poor season overall for Real Madrid and the fact that they failed to make it as far as the Final Four will cause concern for all at the club.
The first half was quite even with the away side being ahead by three points but then Madrid stole ahead, giving the home fans hope that they could stay in the competition. This hope was obliterated with a 0-14 scoring run and the away team never fell behind in the game. At one point in the fourth quarter the away side were 17 points in the clear and although the hosts pulled this back slightly, they never challenged the outcome of the game.
Bogdan Bogdanovic grabbed 17 points, all in the second half of the game while there was a double-double for Ekpe Udoh who grabbed 15 points and 12 rebounds. Bobby Dixon offered up 14 points, Luigi Datome rgabbed 13 points and Nikola Kalinic provided 11 points in the win. For the hosts, Sergio Rodriguez grabbed 15 points while there was a double-double from Gustavo Ayon who offered up 14 points and 14 rebounds.
Panathinaikos Athens 75 – Laboral Kutxa Vitoria Gasteiz 84
There was a huge crowd in the Olympic Sports Center in the Athens but they couldn’t roar their team home to victory. It was a sad evening for many in the stadium because this loss means that the Euroleague career of Dimitris Diamantidis is now over with the player retiring at the end of this season. He leaves behind a total of 2,495 career points and is currently ranked sixth in the all-time list of scorers. He finished with 8 points and 7 assists on the evening.
Laboral were without Adam Hanga and Fabien Causeur but they managed to pull through with Darius Adams offering up 24 points, 14 of which came in the final quarter. Mike James offered up 20 points, Davis Bertans grabbed 13 points and Greek star Ioannis Bourosis offered up 9 points and 6 assists back on home soil. For the hosts, Miroslav Raduljica provided 13 points while Elliot Williams and James Gist grabbed 11 points each in the loss.
FC Barcelona Lassa 82 – Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar 70
This is the only playoff that hasn’t been decided yet but FC Barcelona are now just one win away from making it through to the Final Four after this win. It had been a strong performance overall from the Catalan club who were 6 points ahead at the break, leading 42-36.
Alex Abrines grabbed 25 points, which was a career high, with 13 of these points coming in the first half to overturn the decent start made by the away side. Tomas Satoransky grabbed 13 points in the win while Justin Doellman offered up 12 points. The away team was boosted by Anthony Randolph who grabbed 16 points, Malcolm Delaney offered up 15 points, Chris Singleton grabbed 13 points and Matt Janning picked 11 points from the bench.
The two teams meet again on Thursday and a home win will seal the playoff but if Lokomotiv win, it goes to a fifth and final game which would take place in Krasnodar on Tuesday the 26th of April.
The Final Four is now shaping up as:
- Fenerbahce Istanbul v Laboral Kutxa Vitoria Gasteiz
- CSKA Moscow v FC Barcelona Lassa or Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar
Both of these semi-finals are scheduled to take place on Friday the 13th of May with the Final scheduled for Sunday the 15th of May in Berlin. We may know all four teams in the Final Four by the end of this week or we may need to wait until this time next week but either way, the premier event in European basketball is not far away.