Euroleague, two more through, Madrid downed again

EuroleagueFriday in the Euroleague saw two more clubs, Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar and Brose Baskets Bamberg move into the Top 16, which now has seven of its occupants locked. The other big news of the night was the continued demise of Real Madrid, the current Euroleague champions falling on the road to Crvena Zvezda Belgrade. The Spanish giant is bottom of Group A and in real danger of not progressing.

Group A
Real Madrid’s sorry Euroleague campaign continued on Friday as the reigning champions slipped 94-88 on the road to an inspired Crvena Zvezda Belgrade. The loss sent Madrid to the bottom of Group A (2-5) and while qualification is still there for the taking, the games are running out. Belgrade’s success sent the club to a tie for third place on 3-4. Maik Zirbes drained 15 points in the closing six minutes to down Madrid, while the Crvena Zvezda player finished with 25 points. The hosts had trailed 66-67 after thirty minutes as Los Blancos fought back from a halftime deficit, but in the fourth act Crvena Zvezda surged on Zirbes’ scoring to claim the win.

Group C
Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar smashed Zalgiris Kaunas 80-50 at home in Russia to ease into the Top 16 with a 6-1 record, now in a fight with Barcelona for top spot in Group C. Zalgiris’ fortunes will depend on the closing games, but for now the Lithuanian champs are tied for third with a 3-4 record. Lokomotiv led 28-14 after ten minutes and then exploded in the second frame, scoring 25 points and holding Kaunas to just 3 points. The halftime score stood at 53-17 and the home team could cruise through the second half to victory.

In Friday’s other Group C game Greek giant Panathinaikos Athens saw its rollercoaster Euroleague season continue as the club downed Turkish champion Pinar Karsiyaka Izmir 66-69 on the road. The win means the Athens contingent shares third place with Zalgiris with a 3-4 record, while Karsiyaka is fifth with a 2-5 record. A 23-36 halftime lead gave Panathinaikos the breathing room needed to weather a Pinar Karsiyaka Izmir storm in the second half, the visitors holding on in the closing seconds.

Group D
Already qualified CSKA Moscow (6-1) left it very late to see off Dinamo Banco di Sardegna Sassari 93-87 in the Russian capital. Despite the six point difference at the close of play, CSKA left it until the last minute to seal the win, despite leading 70-58 through thirty minutes. Sassari rallied in the fourth act and tied proceedings 56-56 with a minute left. CSKA found another gear fuelled by a Milos Teodosic triple to close the game out in the closing 60 seconds. The loss left Italian club Sassari as the only team without a win in the Euroleague this season, at the bottom of Group D with a 0-7 record.

Brose Baskets Bamberg became the third club in Group D to progress to the Top 16 with a 54-65 road success over Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul. It was a fourth consecutive win for the Germans that leaves just one sport up for grabs in the group. Despite the loss, Darussafaka occupies that space and one win from the remaining three games will send the Turkish club to the next round. Consistency at both ends of the hardwood propelled the Bamberg victory and meant the visitors rarely looked in danger of losing.

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