After the drama of Barcelona’s win over Real Madrid in El Clasico on Thursday, the Euroleague Top 16 had a lot to live up to as Round 4 wrapped on Friday. Luckily the hoops are always of the highest quality in this competition and the Euroleague produced four memorable contests to send Basketball fans into the weekend on a high.
We are at the halfway stage of the Top 16 and it is still all to play for. In Group E we were treated to an Istanbul derby for the ages as Fenerbahce overcame Darussafaka Dogus in a classic encounter. Also in the group, Crvena Zvezda Belgrade reaffirmed its credentials with a huge home win over Unicaja Malaga.
In Group F, Khimki moved into pacesetting position in the standings with a home cruise against Brose Baskets Bamberg, while Zalgiris Kaunas also thrived on its own hardwood by dispatching Olympiacos with ease.
Darussafaka Istanbul vs. Fenerbahce Istanbul, 100-106
Thursday in the Euroleague Top 16 had the Spanish El Clasico, but Friday produced the hot rivalries too as we were treated to an Istanbul derby to remember. A hot contest throughout, both Darussafaka and Fenerbahce Istanbul broke a century of points in a game that instantly becomes a classic. The scoring was often relentless for both teams, with buckets raining throughout the whole game. However, Fenerbahce managed to stay one step ahead for much of the game (Q1 24-37, Q2 27-25, Q3 22-24, and Q4 27-20) and collected its fourth win to say untouched in the Top 16.
Bobby Dixon paced Fenerbahce with 24 points, while Ekpe Udoh managed 21 points and 7 rebounds. Jan Vesely had a double-double of 16 points and 13 rebounds, with Luigi Datome adding 14 points to the win.
Luke Harangody topped Darussafaka with 24 points, followed by Ender Arslan with 17 points, and Jamon Gordon and Semih Erden with 12 points apiece.
Crvena Zvezda Belgrade vs. Unicaja Malaga, 87-73
Crvena Zvezda showed it is a serious contender for a quarterfinal berth with a cruising win over Unicaja Malaga at home. Indeed, it is the home form of the Serbian giant that might prove the difference as the Top 16 enters its second half, and on Friday Red Star Belgrade was in good touch. The hosts had opened a double digit lead through halftime, 41-31, and in the second half never looked back, especially while closing the contest with a winning 27-20 fourth act.
Stefan Jovic led Crvena Zvezda with 15 points, while Marko Guduric added 13 points and Marko Simonovic 12 points.
Jamar Smith was the only double digit scorer for Malaga, he scored 11 points.
Khimki Moscow Region vs. Brose Baskets Bamberg, 78-61
Khimki Moscow Region has too much for visiting Brose Baskets Bamberg as the Russian team finished as comfortable home winner. The victory handed the current Eurocup champions sole possession of first place in Group F with a 3-1 record. A tight first half ended 30-28 in favour of the hosts and in the second Khimki opened the floodgates and drained 48 points through the bucket to overwhelm Bamberg and secure the victory.
Alexey Shved topped Khimki with 22 points, while Petteri Koponen added 11 points.
Bradley Wanamaker had 12 points, 5 rebounds, and 7 assists in the losing effort, with Daniel Theis getting 11 points and 7 boards.
Zalgiris Kaunas vs. Olympiacos Pireus, 75-55
Olympiacos was looking to go top ad the Greek giant traveled to winless Zalgiris Kaunas. However, with home court advantage the Lithuanian champ took out the guests in clinical fashion, putting together their best Euroleague Top 16 game so far this season. The hosts had opened a six point (33-27) lead at halftime and in the second term went through the gears to extend to what became a stroll down the straight in the fourth quarter.
Paulius Jankunas led Zalgiris with 18 points, followed by Ian Vougiouskas with 13 points.
Darius Johnson Odom led the losing team with 11 points.