It was another exciting week of European Basketball in the domestic leagues around the continent. With the all-important and busy Christmas period around the corner, where teams are now in their league is vital as clubs try to negotiate the holidays and emerge the other side with a clear run towards the end of the season.
Real Madrid maintained its position at the top of the Liga Endesa standings with a comfortable 77-85 road win over Bilbao to move to 10-1. Barcelona’s patchy form continued as the Catalan club lost 87-80 on the road in Andorra, but Barca still lies third with an 8-3 record. That position is shared with Valencia, who shocked Unicaja Malaga 83-91. The loss snapped a three game winning streak for Malaga. Elsewhere Baskonia beat Estudiantes 82-77, Gran Canaria edged Zaragoza 86-82, Fuenlabrada swept aside Manresa 84-64, Joventut lost 88-94 to Sevilla, and Tenerife downed Murcia 94-80.
The race for the A1 title between Panathinaikos Athens and Olympiacos Piraeus continued on the weekend in Greece. Panathinaikos faced the tougher game against AEK in an Athens derby. The Greens came away with a 77-68 win to move to 9-1 in the standings. That’s one behind Olympaicos, as the Piraeus club stayed undefeated at 10-0 with a cruising 83-58 win over AGOR. Elsewhere, Promitheus slipped 73-75 to PAOK, Koroivos defeated Trikalla 87-76, Doxa Lefkada were edged 63-64 by Lavrio, Kolossos took out Apollon 71-59, and Aris saw off Kymis 85-72.
VTB United League
The top four looked strong again in the VTB League. CSKA Moscow crushed VEF Riga 82-51, Unics Kazan passed a tricky test on the road to Zenit St. Petersburg with an 84-95 win, and Khimki smashed Parma 92-66. Those three clubs share the lead in the standings with 7-1 record. Leading the chasing pack is Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar on 7-2, thanks to a 51-71 road success over Avtodor Saratov.
Zalgiris Kaunas cemented its place at the top of the LKL standings with a commanding 67-95 road win over rival Neptunas Klaipeda. The win keeps the club top with a 13-1 record. Second placed Lietkabelis took out Dzukija 67-87 on the road. Rounding out easy wins for the top three was Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius with a 98-81 home success over Juventus. In the other games, Vytautas beat Zvaigzdes 96-77 and Nevezis downed Siauliai 81-74.
Crvena Zvezda Belgrade’s’ grip on the ABA League continued this weekend as the Serbian champ and Euroleague competitor defeated nearest rival Buducnost Voli Podgorica 54-77 on the road. This impressive European Basketball win sent a message, kept Crvena Zvezda unbeaten on 13-0, and showed a gulf in class. Partizan Belgrade capitalized on Buducnost’s misfortune by moving to 10-3 with the Montenegrin club after beating Igokea Aleksandrovac 87-64.