After the conclusion of Round-7 games in Turkish Airlines Euro-League basketball Top-10, there is a big difference between standings of Group E and Group F teams. Fenerbahce Istanbul are yet to lose a single match and look like finishing at the top in Group E. Right behind them are Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar with 5 wins from 7 matches. Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade and Panathinaikos Athens have 4 wins each and the picture looks predictable. In sharp contrast, Group F is becoming more and more complicated as the Rounds progress. CSKA Moscow and Laboral Kutxa Vitoria have 5 wins each while both Real Madrid and Khimki Moscow have 4 wins. With 3 victories each, Olympiacos Piraeus, Brose Baskets and FC Barcelona Lassa still have their knock-out chances. Only two teams; one in each group, are badly placed in Top-10 so far. Darussafaka Dogus in Group E and Zalgiris Kaunas in Group F have only 1 win out of 7 matches. Brief resumes of Round-7 matches played over February 11 and 12 are as follows.
By scoring a thumping 80-59 victory, Fenerbahce Istanbul produced another dominating Top-10 performance in their Round-7 game against Unicaja Malaga on Thursday. Ekpe Udoh took center-stage in Fenerbahce’s seventh successive win with 12 points, 10 rebounds and 7 blocked shots. Luigi Datome scored 13, which included success in 3 of 4 three-pointers. Ricky Hickman scored 12 while Jan Vesely and Bogdan Bogdanovic added 11 each.
The second most successful Group E team, Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar also outclassed their opponents; Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul 82-58. Leading in every quarter, Lokomotiv decisively broke away in the second quarter and kept widening the victory margin. Anthony Randolph top-scored with 18 points, Malcolm Delaney added 16 while Evgeny Voronov scored 14.
In another wide-margin victory, Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade trounced Cedevita Zagreb 94-74 at the iconic Hala Pionir on Thursday. Cheered by world’s best tennis player Novak Djokovic, who was one among the Crvena Zvezda supporters, Quincy Miller gave a superb start with a 12-0 first-quarter run that took the score to 26-12 before the next quarter could begin. Cedevita tried to get back into the game with Jacob Pullen reducing the deficit somewhat in second and third quarters. However, the fourth quarter was completely dominated by Crvena Zvezda with Marko Guduric producing three triples, Vasilije Micic hitting one and Branko Lazic one more. Miller had 22 points and Micic added 14 with 9 assists. The telecast showed a happy Djokovic getting up to applaud the home team, whenever big points were scored..
In Athens, Panathinaikos edged out Anadolu Efes Istanbul 83-78. Efes led 20-17 after first quarter but by halftime Panathinaikos got past with a 36-35 narrow advantage and jumped to a double-digit lead by third quarter. Despite Efes putting up brave resistance, Panathinaikos finished as winners. Miroslav Raduljica top-scored with 23 points and 8 rebounds, Nick Calathes came up with 12 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds, while Gist added another 11. However, Dario Saric’s 18 points for Efes went in vain.
Joint Group F leaders CSKA Moscow and Laboral Kutxa Vitoria scored their fifth Top-10 victories in Round-7. While CSKA scored a 92-85 home win against Olympiacos Piraeus, Laboral crushed Brose Baskets Bamberg 90-64. In the Moscow game, CSKA prevailed despite Olympiacos taking a narrow lead in third quarter. Milos Teodosic scored 10 of his 21 points the fourth quarter as the hosts consolidated. The game remained close until the finish but CSKA held on until the end.
It was, however, much easier for Laboral against Brose Baskets as they latched on to a massive 26-13 first quarter dominance. Laboral’s lead widened to 19 points at halftime and they didn’t allow Brose Baskets to come back. Ioannis Bourousis top-scored with 18 points and 11 rebounds and Mike James added 16 in Laboral’s fourth consecutive victory.
Defending champion Real Madrid downed Khimki Moscow Region 93-82 in another game at Moscow. Madrid benefitted from a super fourth quarter play by Gustavo Ayon, who scored 24 points on 10-of-12 two-point shooting, 13 rebounds and 5 steals. Sergio Llull added 17 with 11 assists. Though Khimki led 50-43 at halftime, Llull and Jaycee Carroll began a 16-1 third quarter run that proved decisive. With Ayon taking control of the fourth quarter, Madrid ended with a deserved road win.
Snapping their two-game losing streak, FC Barcelona Lassa defeated Zalgiris Kaunas 92-86 in their home game. Juan Carlos Navarro top-scored with 14 points and Pau Ribas added 13. Nevertheless, it was not a cakewalk for Barcelona as Zalgiri’s Edgars Ulanovas threatened them with 17 points, 8 rebounds and 3 steals. However, Navarro and Justin Doellman countered the visitors and with Sasha Vezenkov and Abrines fueling a 9-0 second-quarter run, Barcelona went past Zalgiris to lead 38-31 at halftime. They didn’t look back afterwards and finished with a much needed win.