Euroleague Friday recap, week 5

Euroleague

Real Madrid’s title defence continues to stumble in Group A, where Los Blancos were roughed up on the road by Strasbourg. Fenerbahce took full possession of first place with a solid home win over an ever dangerous Khimki Moscow region.

In Group B Cedevita Zagreb continued to impress with a third consecutive win, this time over Laboral Kutxa Vitoria, while in Group C Pinar Karsiyaka Izmir put away Stelmet Zielona Gora at home. Also in action in Group C was Panathinaikos, the Greek giant destroying Zalgiris at home.

In Group D CSKA Moscow conceded its unbeaten record to Unicaja Malaga, the Spanish team now the only club in the competition with an unblemished record.

Group A

Strasbourg vs. Real Madrid, 93-86
Current Euroleague champions Real Madrid continue to labor during the Regular Season as the title defence took another hit with a 93-86 road loss to Strasbourg. The result put both teams on 2-3 in the standings and Group A is now wide open below Fenerbahce in first place.

Madrid stole a quality first quarter 24-25, but Strasbourg went up a gear and scored 27 points in the second and third quarters to lead 78-63 through thirty minutes. Los Blancos tried to rally in the fourth but in the end the French hosts cruised to an excellent victory. Louis Campbell fuelled the win with 23 points for Strasbourg, while Jeffrey Taylor led Real Madrid with 21 points.

Fenerbahce Istanbul vs. Khimki Moscow Region, 88-83
Fenerbahce took sole possession of first place in Group A (4-1) with a home win over nearest rival Khimki (3-2), who now sit in second alone. At the mid-way stage of the Euroleague Regular Season, Fenerbahce is on course for qualification to the next round.

The hosts looked in good touch throughout and in front of a hot 120000 crowd in Istanbul and poured in 49 points during an impressive first half. With a 49-41 lead, Fener eased off in the third act and allowed Khimki to reduce the deficit to 64-59 after thirty minutes. However, the Turkish team knuckled down again in the fourth and killed the game with hot scoring that tied the period 24-24.

Group B

Cedevita Zagreb vs. Laboral Kutxa Vitoria, 76-67
Cedevita Zagreb continued to transform its Euroleague campaign with a big home win over Spanish guests Laboral Kutxa Vitoria. The won was Cedevita’s third consecutive and moved the team into second place in Group B (3-2), while Vitoria also sits on the same record.

The visitors had actually led 31-37 through halftime, but Cedevita woke up in the third period and a 23-13 run swung the momentum in favour of the hosts. With the proverbial win in their sails, the Zagreb team stormed to victory in the closing stanza. Jacob Pullen led the victory with 26 points, while Miro Bilan recorded a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds.

Group C

Pinar Karsiyaka Izmir vs. Stelmet Zielona Gora, 77-66
Turkish champions Karsiyaka took out Stelmet Zielona Gora at home to collect its second win of the Euroleague season (2-3). As for Polish league holders from Gora, they have it all to do during the second half of the Regular Season with a record of 1-4.

The hosts controlled the game from the opening tip-off, claiming the first quarter 21-16 and then consolidated to lead 36-28 through the long break. A 21-13 winning third frame made it a formality for Karsiyaka Izmir down the straight in the fourth. Colton Iverson topped the winning effort with 15 points while also grabbing 6 boards.

Panathinaikos Athens vs. Zalgiris Kaunas, 91-56
Panathinaikos’ rollercoaster like Euroleague campaign moved to a new high on Friday as the Greek giant destroyed Zalgiris of Kaunas at home. The victory pushed The Greens to a 2-3 record, while Lithuanian juggernaut Zalgiris slipped to 2-3 on the same record.

Panathinaikos started hot and in a first quarter blitz opened a 27-13 lead, before continuing to dominate through a 17-12 second frame that handed the hosts a massive 44-25 advantage during halftime. The Greek team was not finished and in the third act streamed in another 26 points to kill the game at 70-41 at the final split. A winning 21-15 run in the fourth made victory a cruise for Panathinaikos.

Group D

CSKA Moscow vs. Unicaja Malaga, 78-86
CSKA Moscow slipped up for the first time this season as Unicaja edged the Russian giant in an impressive road win. This was a clash of the Euroleague’s two final untouched clubs, and the spoils went to Malaga, the Spanish club now sitting atop Group D with a 5-0 record. CSKA’s loss drops the club to second with a 4-1 record.

The teams traded for much of the first half and heading into the locker room at the midway buzzer CSKA led by a single point, 43-42. The hosts extended in the third to hold a 65-61 advantage through thirty minutes. In the final stanza Malaga erupted at the bucket and a 13-25 run settled the contest, Edwin Jackson paced the win with 24 points, while Mindaugas Kuzminkas grabbed 22 points in the win.

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