Euroleague Top 16, Round 13 recap

Euroleague Top 16The penultimate week of Euroleague Top 16 action has drawn to a close as Round 13 was done and dusted on Friday evening.

Results this week have paved the way to the playoffs with Group E decided and just one more place up for grabs in Group F. Many of the tournament favorites have found their way into the next round, some more easily than others, but the Top 16 has still thrown up some surprises along the way.

Group E

Panathinaikos vs. Unicaja Malaga, 69-60
13,200 fans crammed inside the Olympic Sports Center in Athens to see Panathinaikos defeat Spanish club Unicaja Malaga, 69-60. The Greek giant has had an inconsistent Euroleague Top 16 but has found results at the right time. By defeating Malaga, The Greens booked their place in the playoffs and currently occupy third in Group E with a 7-6 record. Panathinaikos, led by Dimitris Diamantidis with 13 points, held the lead after each quarter, but Malaga kept close enough to make the game interesting.

Laboral Kutxa vs. Fenerbahce, 95-73
Panathinaikos´ passage to playoffs was secured due to Fenerbahce´s heavy loss to Laboral Kutxa Vitoria in Spain. The promise of the Regular Season´s form quickly left a Fener team that has struggled for form since Christmas. The Turkish club misses out on the playoffs after this loss to the already eliminated Laboral. Despite knowing its fate for some time, Laboral Kutxa has found a new lease of life in recent weeks and this success improves the record to 4-9. The teams traded throughout the first quarter, but Vitoria took the lead in the second period and never looked back, sweeping Fenerbahce aside in the third and fourth frames.

Anadolu Efes vs. Olympiacos, 78-83
Reigning double champs Olympiacos took it place in the playoffs with this road win over already eliminated Turkish club Efes. The Greek giant has struggled for consistency in recent rounds but found form at the right time to secure at least fourth in Group E with a 7-6 record. Euroleague MVP Vassilis Spanoulis showed his class once again by pacing the victory with 17 points, although Efes kept the scoreboard tight throughout the contest.

EA7 Milan vs. Barcelona, 91-63
Alessandro Gentile collected 24 points and 7 rebounds as EA7 Milan snapped Barcelona´s two seasons unbeaten record in the Euroleague Top 16. The Italian club also inflicted Barca´s worst defeat since 1998 in a performance that sends a message around Europe.
Full Game Report

Group B

Bayern Munich vs. Maccabi Electra Tel-Aviv, 92-94
Bayern Munich´s must-win game against Tel-Aviv ended in disappointment as the German team slipped to a narrow defeat at home. Israeli visitors Maccabi Electra progressed to the playoffs with this win but needed a rebound and score from Alex Tyus after an intentional charity stripe miss from Malcolm Delaney in the dying seconds. Despite the bitter disappointment of defeat and elimination, Bayern has put a strong Euroleague Top 16 together and the German debutants have been one of the surprises of the tournament.

CSKA Moscow vs. Galatasaray, 86-85
Russian giant CSKA took Galatasaray to the wire to win at home and in the process put the Turkish clubs´ qualification chances in jeopardy. A thrilling contest ended 67 apiece after regulation time and overtime produced plenty of drama as Sonny Weems hit 12 points for Moscow, including the game decider. CSKA sits atop Group F jointly with Real Madrid (11-2) but Madrid has more chance of topping the group. Galatasaray´s future in this season´s Euroleague hangs in the balance with the team needing to win next week to secure a playoff berth.

Real Madrid vs. Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar, 81-55
Lokomotiv remains hot on Galatasaray´s heels despite being routed by Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid. The Russian team lost heavily on the road and will need to win next week and Galatasaray lose to make it to the next round. The other alternative for Kuban is to defeat Bayern Munich in Round 14 by 24 points more than Galatasaray can win by. Los Blancos were back to their formidable best as they dominated the Russian visitors on the back of 15 points from Felipe Reyes.

Partizan NIS Belgrade vs. Zalgiris Kaunas, 77-67
In a virtual dead rubber game, Serbian champions Partizan NIS gunned down Lithuanian powerhouse Zalgiris at home. Both clubs have already been eliminated, but Belgrade used a 13-0 start and a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds from Davis Bertans to win the game. In the loss Zalgiris took unwanted command of the worst record in this season´s Euroleague Top 16, sitting last in Group F with a 1-12 tally.

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