Top 16, Round 2: Five road winners and five 2-0 teams!
Top 16, Week 2 will go down as one to remember! Six games decided in the fourth quarter – including three at the buzzer – and when the dust cleared, five teams at 2-0. There were five road wins, two mega blowouts and plenty of excitement to go around. We are guaranteed at least one team to be 3-0, as undefeated Group G leaders Real Madrid and Efes Pilsen clash in Week 3 in the Spanish capital after tough road wins on Wednesday. Real Madrid rallied to beat Montepaschi 68-78, ending the longest active home-court winning streak in the Euroleague at 11. Madrid held the hosts to 6 fourth-quarter points in coming back from an 18-point deficit. Nikola Mirotic paced Madrid with 16 points. Efes Pilsen edged Partizan mt:s 76-79 in front of 17,800 loyal Partizan supporters at Belgrade Arena. Igor Rakocevic peppered the nets for 23 points as Efes Pilsen survived a free throw contest to win in the end. The Group E leader is Panathinaikos, which trounced Unicaja 82-56 on Thursday behind 14 points and 8 rebounds from Kostas Tsartsaris. The Greens controlled the paint and outrebounded Unicaja 43-28 to secure the win. The day before, Lietuvos Rytas stunned Caja Laboral 86-89 on a Khalid El-Amin three-pointer at the buzzer. The Lithuanian champs trailed by 10 in the third quarter before mounting a comeback. El-Amin scored 7 of his 22 points in the final minute to pace the winners. Both Group F games were Thursday. In the early games, Maccabi Electra blasted Lottomatica 99-58, setting a team record for margin of victory in a Top 16 game. Sofoklis Schortsanitis paced the winners with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Regal FC Barcelona edged Union Olimpija 67-68, becoming the first visiting team to win at Stozice Arena. Juan Carlos Navarro peppered the nets for 27 points for the champs, whose defense stood the test on the game’s final possession. The week’s action began with Group H in Lithuania, where Olympiacos outlasted Zalgiris 64-71 behind with 17 points and 4 assists from Vassilis Spanoulis. The Reds led by as many as 24 before Marty Pocius rallied Zalgiris within 3 late in the game. Finally, Fenerbahce Ulker downed Power Electronics Valencia 75-73 in the Game of the Week showdown of 1-0 teams. Omar Onan led the way with 22 points and Emir Preldzic rejected Rafa Martinez’s last-second three-point attempt to wrap up the win. Just when you think it can’t get any better, the Turkish Airlines Euroleague will be back next week for another eight contests featuring the best basketball on the continent!