Day 1 of Euroleague Week 8 had contrasting contests between the two groups on Thursday as the two games in Group F were massive blow-outs of 30+ points each, while the Group E games both came down to the final seconds. Coming into week 8 FC Barcelona Regal and Montepaschi Siena were tied at the top of Group F, but the two clubs were on the opposite ends of their respective games as Regal pounded Fenerbahce Ulker by 39 and Maccabi Tel Aviv blasted Siena by 31. In Group E, Zalgiris Kaunas continues to struggle for wins and fell 73:78 at home to Panathinaikos, who seems to be hitting their stride as of late. Brose Baskets had two opportunities to knot the score at the end of regulation during their contest with Unicaja Malaga, but came up empty on both and fell to 0-8 on the Euroleague Top 16 round. The loss is the third close game in a row that Brose has come up short on and the fourth game they’ve lost by three or fewer points out of the eight they’ve played in the Top 16 round.
Friday’s games include Group E contests: Anadolu Efes Istanbul vs. CSKA Moscow, Real Madrid vs. Alba Berlin; and Group F match-ups: BC Khimki Moscow Region vs. Besiktas JK Istanbul, Olympiacos Piraeus vs. Caja Laboral Vitoria.
Brose Baskets Bamberg – Unicaja Malaga, 65:68
Unicaja Malaga held off a scrappy Brose Baskets club that is still looking for their first Top 16 win, as the hosts fell for the fourth time this season by three or fewer points, 65:68. The win boosts Unicaja to 4-4 in Group E and fifth place all by themselves. They also sit just one game behind Panathinaikos and depending on how CSKA Moscow fares on Friday, they could be one or two behind the Russian club. For Brose, their woes continue as they have yet to find the right combination to get the ‘0’ out of their win column. The loss drops them to 0-8 on the Top 16 round.
Unicaja controlled the match for the first three quarters, extending their advantage after each 10 played. They opened with the first six points and got they first frame advantage to a high of nine before the hosts fought back to narrow the difference to just two, 14:16. In the second the clubs exchanged baskets early, then they both went through a four-minute scoring drought, which amounted to a 7:13 run that put the guests up by 10 at the half, 28:38. Unicaja was able to extend the lead to as much as 17 in the third, before settling for a 14-point margin, 41:55, as they prepared to play the final 10. Luka Zoric tallied the first deuce of the fourth with a lay-up to push the guests up by 16, 41:57. The hosts then countered with 10 unanswered to cut the lead to six, 51:57. Unicaja got their first point in five minutes when Marcus Williams split a pair of singles to move the lead to seven. After a series of free throws, dunks, and lay-ups, Brose had cut the margin to one, 62:63 with under two minutes to play. Zoric his another lay-up and Txemi Urtasun connected on one of two free throws to give Unicaja a four-point lead. Both clubs split a pair of free throws, then Anton Gavel hit a lay-up with 14 seconds to play for the hosts to pull back to within two, 65:67. Zoric split a pair to extend the lead to three with 12 seconds on the clock, giving Brose plenty of time to set up a shot to tie. Sharrod Ford got the first one, but came up empty, only to have teammate Matt Walsh grab the rebound and kick to Bostjan Nachbar for a second attempt, but he also hit iron as the buzzer sounded, allowing Unicaja to survive the comeback.
Zoric was top man of the game for Unicaja, tallying 26 points, 5 rebounds and a PIR of 28. Urtasun added 15, and Sergi Vidal added 12 off the bench. Earl Calloway snagged 10 rebounds as well. Brose got 17 from Nachbar, 13 from Ford and 10 from Gavel.
Zalgiris Kaunas – Panathinaikos Athens, 73:78
This game was close from tip to buzzer with neither team every leading by more than six points, but in the end Panathinaikos got 11 points from Roko Ukic in the last six minutes of the game and the outlasted their hosts to pick up a critical road win, 73:78. The win bumps the Greens to 5-3 and in fourth place as of Thursday, but if CSKA Moscow loses to Anadolu Efes on Friday they’ll be tied for third. If CSKA wins, Panathinaikos will be a game down on them. The loss drops Zalgiris to 3-5 and the No. 6 spot in Group E.
During the contest Dimitris Diamantidis of Panathinaikos became the All-Time leader on the Euroleague steals chart with 329 career heists.
The first quarter set the tone for the game as the clubs came out firing up triples. As the game would progress, the visitors would shoot just two fewer shots inside the arc then they would outside it (31 inside vs. 29 outside). At the end of the first 10, Zalgiris held a three-point advantage, 22:19. The hosts were able to keep the lead through the second quarter, getting up by as much as six points before the Greens dropped in a triple at the buzzer to cut the margin in half, 43:40. The clubs spent the third 10 exchanging hoops, and the lead. Diamantidis put his name in the Euroleague record book by snatching the ball from Darjus Lavrinovic after the Greens playmaker had dropped in a triple to knot the score at 56. The steal was the 328th of Diamantidis Euroleague career and put him No. 1 in the books. Shortly after, Jeff Foote got a tip in for Zalgiris at the buzzer to give the hosts a two-point lead with a quarter to play, 58:56. For the first seven minutes of the final frame the clubs continued to exchange hoops and the lead. with three minutes to play James Gist put the Greens up by a point with a dunk, then Marko Popovic turned the ball over for Zalgiris, setting up Roko Ukic for a triple to give the guests a four-point advantage. The steal king, Diamantidis, did it again and picked up number 329 and then got one of his 10 assists on the day, hitting Ukic for a lay-up to extend the lead to six, 69:75. Popovic countered with a lay-up of his own to cut the gap to four, then neither team would hit the cords for nearly two minutes, when Ukic hit a jumper to bump the lead back to six. Lavrinovic threw down a dunk with a few seconds to play to close out the scoring for the hosts and Jason Kapono split a pair of free throws to wrap it up at 73:78.
Ukic led the way for the Greens with 21 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists and a PIR of 28. Diamantidis added 13 points, and 10 assists, Gist contributed 12 points and 9 rebounds, 5 of which were on the offensive end of the court. Oliver Lafayette paced Zalgiris with 15 points, Ksistof Lavrinovic added 11 points and 4 rebounds, and Popovic dropped in 10.
Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul – FC Barcelona Regal, 60:99
FC Barcelona kicked of round 2 of Euroleague Top 16 play sending a very loud statement to the rest of the competitors with a 60:99 win over Fenerbahce Ulker at Fenerbahce Ulker Sports Arena. With the win Barcelona moves to 7-1 in Group F and Fenerbahce drops 2-6 with the loss. Coming into the Week 8 contest, Fenerbahce had won two of their last three games in the Euroleague, but those were at the end of the four-game losing streak they started the Top 16 with. The is the sixth straight in Top 16 play for Regal.
After the first frame it was obvious that Ulker wasn’t firing on all cylinders as they fell behind 12:23. Unfortunately, things went from bad to worse in the second 10 and Regal put 21 more on the margin by outscoring the host club 6:27 to head into the break with the scoreboard reading 19:50. The second half was better for Ulker, but Barcelona also cleared their bench and gave everyone as much court-time as possible, with only starters Pete Mickeal and Ante Tomic accumulating more than 20 minutes on the hardwood.
Barcelona shot an impressive 31 of 52 from inside the arc, for a 59.6% average. They also dropped in 10 of 21 (47.6%) from behind the arc.
Mickeal led the way for the guests with 17 points, shooting 7 for 7 from inside the arc and 1 for 1 behind it. Tomic and Marcelinho Huertas added 14 points each and Joe Ingles and Juan Carlos Navarro dropped in 13 apiece. Fenerbahce got 18 from Bojan Bogdanovic and 17 from Bo McCalebb.
Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv – Montepaschi Siena, 92:61
Montepaschi Siena has been having a rough week… First, they lost an Italian SerieA contest to No. 14 Scavolini Banca Marche PU, then on Thursday they took to the road to face Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv and were routed 92:61. Coming into Week 8 Siena was 7-1 and tied with FC Barcelona Regal for the top spot in Group F, the loss to Electra drops them to 7-2 and second place in the group. Maccabi bumps their record to 3-5 with this critical win for them as they currently sit in sixth behind three clubs with 4-3 records and matches on Friday. After a rough start to the Top 16 round, Maccabi has won two of their last three games and seem to be back in form.
The first quarter of the Siena – Electra contest was a dead heat, with each club tallying 22. The second frame started the same, but then Maccabi was able to bolt ahead with a 14:3 scoring run that Siena was never able to recover from. At the half Maccabi held a 46:34 advantage. Siena feel further behind in the third as Maccabi’s lead grew to 21. In the closing minutes Siena got a three-point play from Benjamin Eze and a triple from Matthew Janning to help close the margin to 16 heading into the final 10. Things just got worse for Siena in the fourth as the hosts went on a 21:0 run, holding Siena scoreless for nearly eight minutes. By the time the clock ran out, Electra had put up a 31-point difference and put themselves right back in the hunt for one of the four advancement spots.
Devin Smith and Yogev Ohayon were game-high for Maccabi with 19 points. Smith also added 8 rebounds, 4 assists and compiled a PIR of 28 on the day. Guy Pnini dropped in 15 points, Shawn James and David Logan contributed 14 each. James also hauled in 6 rebounds and had a PIR of 27. Bobby Brown and Kristjan Kangur paced Siena with 13 points each. Eze added 9 points and 5 rebounds.
Euroleague Group E
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Euroleague Group F
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