Top 16, Round 2: Fenerbahce, Lokomotiv, Olympiacos stay perfect!
The first Turkish Airlines Euroleague Top 16 games of the new year provided plenty of thrills, thanks to three late game-winners. Cedevita Zagreb, Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar and Panathinaikos Athens all hit big three-pointers in the final 30 seconds to pull out victories. Two teams besides Cedevita won on the road, but largest win of the week belonged to another team that never won before in the Top 16.
Two games were decided near the buzzer and two teams remain perfect atop Group E after two games. In a battle between undefeated teams that came down to the final shot, Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar edged Anadolu Efes Istanbul 78-77 as Malcolm Delaney led a fourth-quarter comeback and Ryan Broekhoff buried the game-winning three-pointer with 22 seconds remaining. Efes led by double figures in the second quarter, and was ahead 55-64 in the fourth, but Delaney scored 12 of his 25 points in the final 10 minutes as Lokomotiv improved to 2-0. Delaney added 5 rebounds and 5 assists in a great all-around effort, while Anthony Randolph posted 16 points and 9 rebounds. Also staying perfect in the Top 16, Fenerbahce Istanbul topped Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade 65-88 in Hala Pionir for its biggest road win since a 52-82 blowout of Opel Skyliners in the 2004-05 season opener. Fenerbahce used 0-11 and 1-12 first half runs to open a double-digit halftime lead, before do-it-all Jan Vesely put on a show in the fourth quarter to help Fenerbahce cruise. Vesely finished with 15 points, he matched his career-best with 15 rebounds, including career-best and Euroleague season-high 10 on the offensive glass. Vesely also tied a club record with 5 blocks. Luigi Datome netted 21 points and Bobby Dixon finished with 17 points, a career-high 11 assists and 5 rebounds in the victory. In a thriller in the Greek capital, a triple from James Feldeine with 11.4 seconds to go lifted Panathinaikos Athens over Unicaja Malaga 68-66 on Friday night. Both teams hold 1-1 records and a share of the third place. The Greens led 48-39 midway through the third quarter, but Unicaja rallied behind Jamar Smith, and took its second lead of the game, 61-62, with 7 minutes to go. With strong defenses on both ends, the hosts did not take another lead until Feldeine hit his only three-pointer of the night and Panathinaikos survived as Smith missed at the buzzer for Unicaja. Dimitris Diamantidis led Panathinaikos with 17 points and 7 assists, while Smith netted 22 for the guests. On Thursday, Cedevita Zagreb defeated Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul 72-79 for its first Top 16 victory. It was Cedevita’s fourth road win of the season. The game was close throughout and the fourth quarter featured four lead changes and four ties. Henry Walker sank a go-ahead three-pointer for the visitors with 28 seconds remaining and after stopping Darussafaka at the other end, Jacob Pullen iced the game from the foul line. Pullen finished with 25 points to match his career-high.
There is only one unbeaten team after two Rounds in Group F: Olympiacos Piraeus held off Laboral Kuxta Vitoria Gasteiz 76-82. The Reds held Laboral 19.2 points below its season average at home and received 19 points from Vassilis Spanoulis to improve to 2-0. Othello Hunter added 17 points while Georgios Printezis chipped in 15 points for the winners. Olympiacos started well and went ahead 12-20. Laboral got to within 28-29, but trailed 34-43 at halftime and Olympiacos pushed the advantage to 17 points midway through the third quarter en route to victory. CSKA Moscow topped reigning champion Real Madrid 95-81 in the Russian capital. Nando De Colo led the winners with 28 points and 7 assists and Milos Teodosic added 23 points and 7 assists. Madrid had its chance down 5 midway through the fourth quarter with the ball, but missed a three-pointer and CSKA pulled away with a 15-2 charge to claim the victory. K.C. Rivers scored 23 points and Sergio Rodriguez dished 13 assists for the visitors. FC Barcelona Lassa routed Khimki Moscow Region 87-70 to join the win column in Group F. Barcelona staked its first double-digit lead early in the second quarter and liked the feeling enough to double it, 49-29, as Tomas Satoransky beat the halftime buzzer with a jumper. Khimki rallied with a 2-11 run to within 76-64 late in the fourth quarter, but Satoransky reappeared with a triple to end the threat. Juan Carlos Navarro and Pau Ribas led the winners with 14 points each. On Friday, Brose Baskets Bamberg dominated Zalgiris Kaunas 96-63 to end the wait, and pick up its first ever Top 16 victory after losing its previous 21 games in this phase of the competition. The 33-point winning margin was also Bamberg's best in Euroleague play, one point better than its last regular season victory against Dinamo Sassari, while its 96 points matched the club's Euroleague best, too. Among six double-digits scorers, Jan Strelnieks paced Bamberg with 19 points, while Nikos Zisis had 18 and Nicolo Melli a double-double of 15 points, 10 rebounds.
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