Euroleague: CSKA rolls on, Madrid back on track

The Euroleague Regular Season is kicking into gear as Round 4 of the 2015/2016 season tipped off on Thursday with six contests. We are only one game away from the midway point of the group phase, so clubs are now starting to position themselves for a push as qualification.

In Group A, Real Madrid went big to defeat Bayern Munich at home, while Khimki continued to impress with a home success over Strasbourg. A full roster of games in Group B saw Laboral Kutxa Vitoria defeat Anadolu Efes at home, Olympiacos also taste success by defeating Limoges in style, and Cedevita Zagreb pile the misery on Milan.

CSKA Moscow continued to dominate Group D with a road win over Darussafaka in Istanbul, while Brose Baskets Bamberg took out Maccabi Tel Aviv at home.

Group A

Real Madrid vs. Bayern Munich, 101-99
Real Madrid’s less than convincing form this season in the Euroleague hardly abated on Thursday, but the current champions did pick up a much needed win. In offence Los Blancos were ticking fine, but the defence still needs work, but at least Real downed Bayern Munich 101-99 at home.

It was a high scoring game but while it was very close, it was not a contest that went end to end. Instead, both teams enjoyed spells of near complete dominance. Real Madrid won the first quarter 33-20, but Bayern stormed back with an 18-31 second frame to make it 51 points apiece at halftime. The second half followed a similar pattern, Munich carrying its Q2 momentum to lead 73-81 through thirty minutes, before Los Blancos stormed through the fourth with a game winning 28-18 charge.

Khimki Moscow Region vs. Strasbourg, 88-62
Khimki sits atop the Group A standings (3-1) after easily overcoming Strasbourg at home in a game where the Russians led throughout.

The hosts started hot, using a 23-15 lead to hold a solid advantage at the first split before extending to 39-26 during the long break. The rout continued in the second half as Khimki surged through the third act to the tune of a 25-14 run that made it 64-40 at the final interval. The hosts cruised in the fourth on the way to an easy home win. Tyrese Rice and Alexey Shved topped the winners with 16 points each.

Group B

Laboral Kutxa Vitoria vs. Anadolu Efes Istanbul, 92-90
Anadolu Efes Istanbul’s early season Euroleague form has crumbled as the Turkish team has now lost two consecutive, while Laboral Kutxa moves to 3-1 for a share of top spot in Group B.

Ioannis Bourousis has been inspired for Laboral Kutxa Istanbul this season and here he grabbed a double-double of 18 points and 11 rebounds. It was a needed performance as Anadolu pushed the hosts all the way, and even led 52-57 through thirty minutes. The Spanish home team rallied in the fourth to lock the contest 81-81 at the regulation buzzer. In the overtime period Vitoria edged the Turks with a spirited clincher at the death.

EA7 Emporio Armani Milan vs. Cedevita Zagreb, 68-77
After going winless during the first two contest, Cedevita Zagreb has turned its Euroleague season around, shocking Efes last week and downing Milan on the road this evening. Milan on the other hand are finding the going tough and sit on a 1-3 record.

The Croatian guests blitzed Milan in the opening frame, coming away with an 11-21 lead after ten minutes on the hardwood. The hosts cut into the deficit in an improved offensive display in Q2, using a 19-14 period to make it 30-35 at the midway buzzer. The hosts carried the momentum and a 20-14 third act gave Milan the driving seat, the scoreboard reading 50-49 heading to the fourth quarter. In the deciding stanza, Cedevita poured in 28 points to stun the Italians and take the win.

Olympiacos vs. CSP Limoges, 75-49
Olympiacos routed Limoges in Piraeus, Greece to join Laboral Kutxa Vitoria on 3-1 at the top of the table, while the French visitors slipped to 1-3 alongside Milan.

Georgias Printezis continued to be the driving force for Olympiacos as he grabbed a game high 15 points in the win, while Patric Young doubled up with 13 points and 10 boards. Limoges managed to shock the hosts during Q1 with a 16-17 winning frame that suggested the French outfit would pose a threat and a 12-12 second quarter meant the guests had an unlikely 28-29 lead at halftime. Olympiacos came out for the second half refreshed and started to turn the screw, winning the third 23-13 and then wrapping the win up with an impressive 24-7 run in the fourth.

Brose Baskets Bamberg vs. Maccabi Tel Aviv, 77-66
It is not shaping up to be a vintage Euroleague season for Tel Aviv as the 2013 champions slipped to a third defeat of the competition, this time at the hands of Brose Baskets Bamberg in Germany. The Israeli giant has been a slow starter in other seasons and has recovered, but this term something seems to be different.

Maccabi Tel Aviv simply left itself too much to do here, conceding the first half 42-35 to Bamberg. The guests found their touch in the third act to pace to a 9-22 success that gave Tel Aviv a 51-57 lead through thirty minutes, but Bamberg was able to rally in front of its own fans with a stunning 26-9 fourth quarter that simply shock the fight out of Tel Aviv.

Darussafaka Istanbul vs. CSKA Moscow, 75-80
CSKA Moscow stayed perfect with a road win over Darussafaka in Istanbul, the hosts unable to cut down the illustrious Russian giant. The Turkish club has showed plenty of fight in this debut Euroleague season though, but CSKA showed why it is a title contender, able to grind out wins when not playing well.

CSKA led 19-24 through ten minutes and matched the score in the second frame to lead 43-48 at the long break. In the second half CSKA killed the contest with a 22-9 run in the third frame before weathering a late Darussafaka comeback in the fourth to wrap up the victory. Milos Teodosic was at his attacking best with 22 points and 9 assists for the winning effort.

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