After the first playoff games, Fenerbahce Istanbul, Laboral Kutxa Vitoria, CSKA Moscow and Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar scored home victories against their rivals to lead 1-0 in the best-of-five knockout series. While Laboral and CSKA Moscow scored emphatic wins over Panathinaikos Athens and Crvena Zvezda Telecom Belgrade respectively, Fenerbahce’s match against Real Madrid and the one between Lokomotiv and Barcelona Lassa were close affairs. With four games still left in the playoff series, anything can happen and everyone is still in with a chance to enter the Final Four.

In Istanbul’s Ulker Arena, Fenerbahce Istanbul hosted defending champions Real Madrid and acquired a 1-0 edge with 75-69 victory on April 12. Though Fenerbahce kept the lead for most part, Madrid bounced back later in the third quarter to take a 52-51 lead with fine individual efforts from Rudy Fernandez and Andres Nocioni. However, before the third quarter ended, Fenerbahce won back the lead and entered the last quarter with a 53-52 advantage. The home team consolidated on their lead with six straight points and free throws from Ricky Hickman and Bogdan Bogdanovic sealed the victory in the end. Bogdanovic and Kostas Sloukas each finished with 17 points while Felipe Reyes top-scored for Madrid with 13.

In the only other playoff game of April 12 in Moscow’s Megasport Arena, CSKA Moscow defeated Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade 84-74. CSKA’s campaign was steered by Milos Teodosic and Kyle Hines and for the sake of records; CSKA won their 15th consecutive home game in the playoffs. Teodosic didn’t feature in starting line-up and came off the bench in the first quarter to fuel a 15-3 run. That difference kept CSKA in the lead but Crvena responded with joint efforts from Stefan Jovic and Quincy Miller and reduced CSKA’s margin to 44-40 at halftime. In the third quarter, Hines helped enhance the lead to double digits before Crvena rallied to come close once again at 73-67 halfway through the last quarter. CSKA stars, Teodosic, Nando De Colo, Hines and Nikita Kurbanov combined to score key baskets at closing stages to ensure CSKA take the crucial 1-0 playoff lead. Teodosic ended with 23 points, 6 assists and 6 rebounds and Hines added another 21.

bogdan-bogdanovic-fenerbahce-istanbul-eb15In the first game on April 13 at Fernando Buesa Arena, Spanish club Laboral Kutxa Vitoria Gasteiz easily defeated the visiting Panathinaikos Athens 84-68. But the game began with the visitors taking an early lead before Laboral snatched back the advantage. Ioannis Bourousis came off the bench to ensure Laboral’s slim lead after 10 minutes. That difference grew to double figures in second quarter before Darius Adams took charge and the difference grew to 20. Panathinaikos fought back in the fourth quarter, but never threatened the outcome. Bourousis finished with 15 for the winners.

The battle in the second match on April 13 went down to the wire with Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar finally edging out FC Barcelona Lassa with a 66-61 scoreline. The visitors led in each of the three quarters and looked like scoring an away win, but Lokomotiv made their best efforts in the final quarter and a 16-8 box score saw them through. The fourth quarter also saw five lead changes but Barcelona couldn’t match the zeal of the hosts in the end. For Lokomotiv, Anthony Randolph led the scoring with 17 points and 10 rebounds while Malcolm Delaney added 11 with 5 rebounds and 7 assists. Justin Doellman and Pau Ribas scored 13 points apiece for Barcelona.