The Turkish Airlines EuroLeague returned for the first action of 2018. We are now officially moving into the second half of the regular season with Round 16 tipping off on Thursday with three games. However, it is also good to look back on 2017, when Fenerbahce Istanbul claimed an historic first Turkish Airlines EuroLeague title. The champs were not in action on Thursday, but several clubs with designs on the championship were.
FC Barcelona vs. CSKA Moscow, 85-72
Among them CSKA Moscow. The Turkish Airlines EuroLeague standings leader travelled to Barcelona and suffered a rare loss. The defeat puts the Russian giant at 12-4, still top for now. However, a win for Olympiacos tomorrow with give the Greek team sole possession of first place. As for Barcelona, 2017 was one of its worst ever years and the club got 2018 off to a much better start with this win which puts the team at 6-10. The hosts stayed one step ahead for most this game and led by 11 points after thirty minutes. CSKA was unable to rally back as Barcelona shut the game down in the fourth.
Unicaja Malaga vs. Valencia, 83-85
Both these clubs had successful 2017’s, with Valencia winning the Spanish league and Malaga defeating Valencia to win the EuroCup. However, the EuroLeague has proved more difficult and both clubs have struggled Especially Valencia, which opened Round 16 bottom of the standings. However, a handy win here moves the team to 5-11. A for Malaga, the team has picked up in recent weeks but slips to 7-9 on this loss.
Panathinaikos Athens vs. Anadolu Efes Istanbul, 90-79
Inconsistency has been a problem for Panathinaikos in recent EuroLeague seasons, but this time the Greek former champ looks to be a real contender. This cruising win over Efes puts The Greens on 11-5 in third place. As for Anadolu Efes, the Turkish club continues to struggle and sits last in the standings with a 4-12 showing. The team needs a significant run of winning games to have any hope of playing knockout hoops on the continent this season.