In an all-action start to the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague week, two of the four playoffs series got back underway. Fenerbahce had the chance to qualify tonight with a win over Baskonia Vitoria, but instead the Spanish made it 2-1 with a win that kept hopes alive. In the other series, Zalgiris took a big leap towards the next round with an efficient and commanding home win over Olympiacos.
Zalgiris Kaunas 80-60 Olympiacos Piraeus (2-1)
Zalgiris tonight took a massive step towards the next round of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague. The Lithuanian champ, already having its best continental season this century, dismantled Olympiacos at home to take command of the best-of-five series. Zalgiris now leads 2-1 in the series with a home game coming up later this week. A win in that contest will see the club progress. Olympiacos is down, but not out, so will be looking for a complete away performance in Game 4. A 12-0 run in the second quarter allowed the hosts to head into halftime with a 47-36 advantage. Through a consistent game-controlling second half, Zalgiris doubled its advantage and eased to victory. The Kaunas club was hot at two-point range, dropping 72.7% of its efforts (24 of 33) to tie a EuroLeague playoff record.
KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz 88-83 Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul (1-2)
Fenerbahce swept to a 2-0 series lead over Baskonia last week in Istanbul. However, those games were close enough to suggest Baskonia’s fortunes might change when the series went to Vitoria. And so it proved as the Spanish team collected its opening win of the run. It was another close game, pointing to no guarantees during Game 4 later this week. Baskonia will walk another tight rope at home, knowing a loss will hand Fenerbahce qualification. It was touch and go in the fourth quarter, but Janis Timma led a 15-0 Baskonia charge with 8 points, allowing the hosts a 16-point advantage. With minutes to play, Fenerbahce rallied and made it interesting down the straight, although the hosts held out.