At the end of regular season Round-4 on November 6, Spain’s Unicaja Malaga and two Russian clubs; CSKA Moscow &Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodor were the three undefeated teams in this season’s Turkish Airlines Euro-League tournament. But since Unicaja were to take on CSKA Moscow in the next group D game, one of them had to lose. When Round-5 games were completed on November13, Lokomotiv and CSKA Moscow lost for the first time leaving Unicaja with a perfect mark at halfway stage and a great chance to enter the round-of-sixteen. While there were some dramatic matches in Round-4, where decisions came with the last shot, Round-5 was no less exciting. From next week’s Round-6 matches, the competition will become more intriguing. Highlights of Round 4 & 5 matches are briefly described below.
After a thrilling 101-99 Round-4 home victory over Bayern Munich, Real Madrid surprisingly lost an away game 86-93 to French club Strasbourg in Round-5. The defending champions haven’t scored a single road win this season and they are now down to fourth spot in Group A with three losses. Real’s round-4 win was engineered by a three-point shot by Jaycee Carrol in one of the best games in Euro-League regular season history. But against Strasbourg in Round-5; none of Real Madrid stars could replicate their performance against Bayern. Strasbourg led 51-44 at halftime and an early 13-0 third-quarter run gave them an 18-point advantage. Real Madrid couldn’t catch up with Strasbourg, who scored their first win of the Season. In Round-4, Strasbourg had lost 62-88 against Khimki Moscow region. But like Real Madrid, Khimki also suffered an 83-88 away-game loss against Turkey’s Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul in Round-5. It was a close game that either team could have won with 18 seconds to go as the teams were tied at 81-81. However, 7 out of 8 free throws in crunch time by a collective effort from Kostas Sloukas, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Luigi Datome ensured a crucial victory for Fenerbahce. In Round-4 too, Fenerbahce had scored a 74-60 away game victory over Crvena Zvezda Telecom Belgrade and they now lead the Group 4-1 with Khimki right behind. In Round-4, Crvena had beaten Bayern Munich 90-79 at Munich with Stefan Jovic setting Euro-League record of 19 assists. For the winners, Quincy Miller scored 22 points in a game that saw Bayern leading 48-40 early in the third quarter. However, Miller, Vladimir Stimac, Nikola Rebic and Marko Simonovic led Crvena’s rally in outplaying Bayern.
In a nail-biting Round-4 finish, Laboral Kutxa Vitoria defeated Anadolu Efes Istanbul 92-90 after overtime. Laboral had trailed Efes for the major part of the game and had a double-digit deficit at one stage. But with a brilliant fourth-quarter rally, Laboral turned the tables on the visitors and scored their third straight win of the season. In Round-5, however, Laboral suffered a 67-76 road loss against Cedevita Zagreb, who also scored their third straight victory after scoring a 77-68 win over EA7 Emporio Armani Milan in Round-4. In Round-4 Laboral led Cedevita before the third quarter but Armani Milan were rescued by Jacob Pullen’s career-high 26 points with Miro Bilan adding 17 and 10 rebounds. The two teams are now tied at second spot with a 3-2 score with Olympiacos Piraeus occupying the top spot at 4-1. Table toppers Olympiacos Piraeus won both Round-4 and Round-5 and look like easing into the round-of-sixteen at this point. In Round-4, Olympiacos defeated French champions Limoges CSP 75-49 at home. After trailing at halftime, Olympiacos were helped by an 18-0 fourth-quarter run. Georgios Printezis led Olympiacos with 15 points with Vassilis Spanoulis and Patric Young posting double doubles. Olympiacos Round-5 encounter with Anadolu Efes was more dramatic before the Greeks edged out Efes 91-87. The game was decided in overtime, when each team scored 3 times from behind the arc and were still level. Then Ioannis Papapetrou and Strawberry secured the victory in the last minute. Printezis topped the scoring with 17 points and Othello Hunter added another 15. In another Round-5 match, Limoges CSP defeated EA7 Emporio Armani Milan 74-65. The win raised round-of-sixteen qualification hopes for Limoges, who controlled the game from start to finish. Nobel Boungou-Colo led the winners with 18 points with Ali Traore adding 15.
After remaining undefeated until Round-4, Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar were handed the first defeat by FC Barcelona Lassa in Round-5 at Palau Blaugrana. In Round-4, Lokomotive had scored an emphatic 72-53 home victory against Pinar Karsiyaka Izmir helped by Malcolm Delaney and Evgeny Voronov, both of whom had 15 points apiece with Victor Claver adding 13. However, in their Round-5 match against Barcelona, Lokomotiv lost 68-72 due to a late rally fourth-quarter rally. With 8 minutes left, Lokomotiv led 57-48 but Brad Oleson, Tomas Satoransky and Samardo Samuels ensured a narrow victory for Barcelona in the end. In Round-4, Barcelona had beaten Zalgiris Kaunas 85-78. In another Round-4 match, Panathinaikos Athens lost 68-71 to allow Stelmet Zielona their first victory of Regular Season but in Round-5, the Greek Club broke their two-match losing streak and defeated Zalgiris Kaunas 91-56. For Panathinaikos, Miroslav Raduljica led the scoring with 18 points and five other players made double-digit scores. In Round-5, Pinar Karsiyaka Izmir recorded their second win of the season by outlasting Stelmet Zielona Gora 77-66.
Unicaja Malaga is now the only undefeated team in the tournament having won both their Rounds 4 & 5 matches. In Round-4, Unicaja beat Dinamo Banco di Sardegna Sassari 80-62 at home and scored an 86-78 comeback away victory over CSKA Moscow in Round-5. Unicaja trailed CSKA in the third quarter but rallied in the fourth quarter. Jackson scored 6 out of 8 three-pointers and finished with 24 points and that made the final difference. It was CSKA’s first defeat after they beat Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul 80-75 in Round-4. That match saw the lead fluctuations in first and second quarter but a 16-0 run by CSKA kept them ahead until the finish. For CSKA, Teodosic scored 22 points with 9 assists while Nando De Colo added 19 and 5 rebounds. In another Round-4 match, Brose Baskets Bamberg defeated Maccabi Tel Aviv 77-66 at home and followed that with another 90-73 Round-5 triumph over Dinamo Banco. Brose Baskets have thus improved to third place behind Unicaja and CSKA. Losers to CSKA in Round-4, Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul created history by defeating Maccabi Tel Aviv 84-73 in an away game.