Perhaps the turning points in these series came in Game 2. All but one saw the home teams win to take 2-0 series lead. While in two cases the wins were one-sided, another featured a tremendous comeback from 17 points down in the third quarter. And in the fourth series, home-court advantage was stolen, ensuring that at least 1 series will go to four games.
Playoff A: Real Madrid 2-0 Anadolu Efes Istanbul
Down 17 points in the third-quarter and 7-point with 2:18 to go, Real Madrid rallied past Anadolu Efes Istanbul 90-85 on Friday night at Barclaycard Center. Sergio Llull starred for Madrid with 18 points and a career-high 12 assists, while reigning Euroleague MVP scored all of his 11 points in the final three minutes – including 7 free throws in the final 7 seconds to help seal the victory. Madrid overcame a historic performance from Efes playmaker Thomas Heurtel, who amassed 16 points and set a Euroleague playoffs record with 15 assists. The previous mark was 13, which was set by Theo Papaloukas for Olympiacos against Real Madrid in 2009. The game was a highly entertaining contest that featured numerous runs. Madrid took control early with a 9-0 charge. Efes responded with 14 unanswered points and led 37-45 at halftime. The visitors pushed the difference to 17 in the third quarter, but Madrid rallied to finish the quarter down 3. After Madrid took the lead, Heurtel had 3 assists in a 0-7 push that put Efes up 7. It was 75-82 with a little more than two minutes to go, but Madrid scored the next 11 points to take control and Rodriguez iced the game from the line. Rudy Fernandez added 15 points and 7 assists for the winners. Nenad Krstic led the Efes attack with 23 points.
Playoff B: Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul 2-0 Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv
Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul 2-0 Maccabi Electra Tel AvivAfter struggling early in Game 1, the hosts came out with a vengeance, took a big early lead and never looked back as Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul defeated Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv 82-67. Andrew Goudelock led the way with 17 first-half points as Fenerbahce took a 2-0 series lead and moved within 1 win of its first appearance at the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four. This victory was the seventh home win in a row for the Turkish champs. Maccabi hosts Game 3 – and if necessary, Game 4 – next week in Israel. Fenerbahce started 9-2 and extended the difference to 27-11 before the end of the opening quarter. Fenerbahce led 50-34 at halftime and pushed the advantage into the 20s in the third quarter. Maccabi rallied to get within 12 in the fourth quarter, but Fenerbahce responded before there was any real danger. Goudelock finished with 19 points and Nemanja Bjelica came within 1 rebound of the Euroleague’s playoff record with 15 boards. Fenerbahce outrebounded Maccabi 43-29. Jeremy Pargo led the visitors with 16 points.
Playoff C: CSKA Moscow 2-0 Panathinaikos Athens
CSKA Moscow is within one win of its 12th Final Four in 13 years. CSKA bested Panathinaikos Athens 100-80 in Game 2 of their best-of-five playoffs series in the Russian capital on Thursday. CSKA has a 2-0 lead in the series, which now moves to Athens for a do-or-game Game 3 for Panathinaikos. Sonny Weems led the winners with 20 points and Andrei Kirilenko and Nando De Colo scored 16 apiece for CSKA. Milos Teodosic recorded 8 assists as CSKA set a playoffs record with 28. Vasilis Charalampopoulos led Panathinaikos with 14 points. The visitors got off to a strong start, as Charalampopoulos and Vlantimir Giankovits shined early to give the Greens an 8-14 lead. Kirilenko struck three times from downtown in a 15-0 run in which De Colo also hit a three-pointer at the first quarter buzzer to give his team a 21-14 margin after 10 minutes. CSKA kept hitting shots from beyond the arc and finished the first half with 6-of-11 three-point shooting and 14 assists. Kirilenko and De Colo took over late in the first half to make it 47-35 at the break. Nothing changed in the second half, as CSKA used a great team effort to extend its lead to 72-54 at the end of the third quarter and Panathinaikos never recovered.
Playoff D: FC Barcelona 1-1 Olympiacos Piraeus
Three impressive Barcelona winning streaks came to an end on Friday. Olympiacos Piraeus beat FC Barcelona 63-76 for the Reds’ first-ever road victory in Barcelona. Heading into the game, Barcelona had won five in a row against Olympiacos, eight consecutive home games in the Euroleague and nine straight Euroleague games. Georgios Printezis recorded one of the best games of his career to lead the Reds with 22 points and just 3 missed shots plus 9 rebounds. Vassilis Spanoulis added 16 points and 5 assists for the winners. Olympiacos’s biggest weapon was its defense. The 63 points it held Barcelona to tied the club’s record-low in the Euroleague Playoffs. Olympiacos led 10-15 after 10 minutes. Three-pointers by Spanoulis and Oliver Lafayette soon made it a double-digit game, which settled at 25-35 at halftime - the least points by the hosts in a Euroleague home game at the break since March 2006. A rain of three-pointers saw Olympiacos improve its margin to 50-68 in the fourth quarter as Olympiacos marched to victory. Juan Carlos Navarro paced the Barcelona attack with 16 points and Ante Tomic tallied 14 points and 14 rebounds.
Above all, there are four outstanding games to enjoy in the next couple of days, so follow all the action as it happens live on the Euroleague's official twitter account, @Euroleague, on LiveBasketball.tv, on many other television networks around the world and, of course, right here on Euroleague.net!