Euroleague: Barcelona wins el Clasico

EuroleagueWeek four of the Euroleague Top 16 opened with four games on Thursday, including one of the biggest games on the continent, the Spanish el Clasico.

The Group F contest saw a game of huge swings as Real Madrid yielded a commanding lead to their great rival in an el Clasico that lived up to its name. Also in Group F, CSKA Moscow was undone on the road by a determined Laboral Kutxa Vitoria effort.

In Group E, Lokomotiv turned it on to move past Panathinaikos in Russia, while Cedevita Zagreb used home court advantage to see off Anadolu Efes Istanbul.

Group E
Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar vs. Panathinaikos Athens, 76-67
Lokomotiv took out Greek giant Panathinaikos at home win its third game in the Euroleague Top 16 this season, coming back from a halftime losing score to take the win. The hosts were 38-39 down at the long break, but hit back in the third act with a 15-12 run that made it 53-51 through thirty minutes. Panathinaikos had peaked early and the visitors caved to the Lokomotiv offence in the fourth quarter as the Russians from Krasnodar raced to victory.

Dontaye Draper led the win with 20 points, while Malcolm Delaney has a good game with 14 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 assists.

James Feldeine topped Panathinaikos with 13 points, followed by Vladimir Jankovic and Antonis Fotsis with 12 points apiece.

Cedevita Zagreb vs. Anadolu Efes Istanbul, 84-80
Cedevita’s solid European form continued against an Anadolu Efes Istanbul that just looks a bit shaky on its travels, with both teams now locked on 2-2 in Group E. The teams were well matched in the first half and traded for control of the game until both had amassed 47 points, the scoreboard locked at halftime. The hosts found an extra gear in the third period to claim a 65-59 lead at the final split, but had to weather an Anadolu Efes Istanbul rally in the fourth, but the visitors could not quite turn it around.

Miro Bilan and Marko Arapovic both scored 16 points to lead Cedevita, while Luka Babic doubled up with 12 points and 10 boards. Fran Pilepic also grabbed 12 points in victory.

Derrick Brown set the tone in the losing effort with 17 points and 7 rebounds, with Dario Saric adding 16 points. Thomas Huertal nailed a double-double with 12 points and 10 assists.

Group F
Real Madrid vs. Barcelona, 86-87
The first el Clasico of the continental season descended on the Euroleague on Thursday as Real Madrid hosted Barcelona in a resumption of the Spanish rivalry, one of the hottest in Europe. Barcelona took the spoils on the road, but it was a mighty fine thing after a game of margins. After Real Madrid has blitzed the first half to lead 48-37, Barca put together a 15-25 third act to make it 63-62 through three quarters. Los Blancos still had the lead, but the visitors had the momentum and the game turned into the Justin Doellman show late on. He jumped on the closing buzzer and found nothing but net, swishing to claim a victory for Barcelona.

Doellman’s game winning contribution capped a MVP performance that saw the American claim 24 points for the guests. Stratos Perperoglou added 13 points and Juan Carlos Navarro 12 points.

Real Madrid has looked so comfortable building off an 18-0 run in the first half, but the hosts let it slip away. Still, Sergio Rodriguez doubled up with 18 points and 13 assists, while Jaycee Carroll and Felipe Reyes both drained 14 points.

Laboral Kutxa Vitoria vs. CSKA Moscow, 81-71
Laboral Kutxa Vitoria found a vulnerability in a CSKA team that has been pretty formidable this season to claim a huge home win. The Spanish team was fantastic, especially when pulling away from the visitors through a classy second half, capped by a 24-17 winning fourth quarter that killed the contest. CSKA looks good this season, but there seems to be a weakness where the team loses concentration and slips up every now and then. The Russians are among the Euroleague 2016 favourites of course, but they are not invincible by any means.

Ioannis Bourousis was back to double-double form for Laboral Kutxa, compiling 19 points and 13 rebounds in victory. Fabien Causer added 15 points in the win, while Darius Adams netted 13 points.

Milos Teodosic stood out for CSKA Moscow with 18 points and 7 assists.

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