Top 16, Round 6: Fenerbahce rides alone!
A still-perfect leader in one group contrasted with a three-way tie at the top of the other after a roller coaster ride in Top 16, Round 6. Fenerbahce Istanbul was one of five road winners in eight games this week and now has a two-victory margin in Group E. Meanwhile, Group F is as close as expected with CSKA Moscow, Khimki Moscow Region and Laboral Kutxa Vitoria Gasteiz tied for first place, with three other teams sitting just a victory behind them.
In the third Istanbul derby of the Top 16, Fenerbahce rallied past Anadolu Efes 73-77 on Friday to remain the lone undefeated team in this stage of the competition. Fenerbahce is now 6-0 and two victories ahead of any team in Group E, while Efes fell to 3-3 and a third-place tie with Panathinaikos Athens and Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade. Efes had led on the scoreboard from the middle of the second quarter til the start of the fourth, with its advantage reaching a high of 9 points for the last time at 54-45 late in the third. That's when Melih Mahmutoglu entered and changed the game for the visitors, hitting 4 three-pointers in the last 11 minutes, including the victory-clincher heading into the final minute. Mahmutoglu finished with 14 points in 16 minutes, one behind Fenerbahce's leading scorers, Ekpe Udoh and Bogdan Bogdanovic. Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar trounced Unicaja Malaga 64-82 Thursday for tis second road win of the Top 16. Lokomotiv improved to 4-2, while Unicaja fell to 2-4 after dropping its third consecutive game. Malcolm Delaney led the winners with 21 points and 7 assists and Anthony Randolph added 18 points. Mindaugas Kuzminskas scored 16 points for Unicaja, which led 30-23 midway through the second quarter, but Lokomotiv found its regular go-to guy in Delaney, who singlehandedly put the guess ahead, 32-34, at halftime. Delaney took over after the beak and got plenty of help from Chris Singleton and Ryan Broekhoff to pull away for good. Miroslav Raduljica starred inside and Nick Calathes ran the show from the outside as Panathinaikos Athens dominated Cedevita Zagreb 60-78 at Drazen Petrovic Zagreb. The Greens claimed their first road win of the Top 16 in improving to 3-3, while dropping Cedevita to 2-4. Raduljica led all scorers with 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting, while Calathes recorded 10 points and 10 assists for the winners. Raduljica scored 9 and Calathes had 5 points and 3 assists in a 2-14 second-quarter run as Panathinaikos pulled away to lead by 17 at halftime. That difference reached 30 in the third quarter and Cedevita, which was without starter Luka Babic, never recovered. There are no more winless teams in the Top 16 this season after Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul downed Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade 69-66. It was the first ever Top 16 win for Darussafaka, which improved to 1-5, while Zvezda dropped to 3-3. Neither team held a lead bigger than 6 points during the game and there were nine ties in the second half alone. With the game going down to the wire, the hosts kept Zvezda scoreless for the final 4:27. During that final span, the only baskets were Marcus Slaughter’s put-back and an Ender Arslan triple, which turned out to be a game-winner with 65 seconds to go. Semih Erden paced the hosts with 14 points and 6 rebounds.
After a split of road and home wins this week, three teams now share first place with 4-2 records in Group F. In an all-Spanish showdown, Laboral Kutxa Vitoria Gasteiz recorded its third road win of the Top 16 by downing reigning champ Real Madrid 68-77. Laboral improved to 4-2 with back-to-back road wins over FC Barcelona Lassa and Madrid, which dropped to 3-3. Holding 37-41 lead at halftime, Laboral took off after the break, as Adam Hanga, Ilimane Diop and Fabien Causeur helped the visitors reach a 15-point cushion. Madrid rallied to within 63-64 on a three-point shot by Andres Nocioni, but Darius Adams sparked a 0-9 run that sealed the outcome. Causeur led the winners with 15 points, and Jaka Blazic added 13, while former Madrid center Ioannis Bourousis pulled down 14 rebounds for Laboral. Sergio Rodriguez led Madrid with 18 points. Olympiacos Piraeus came from behind to beat first-place Khimki Moscow Region 89-77, turning on all of its engines in the final 15 minutes. The Reds rallied from several double-digits deficits, including 44-56 midway through the third quarter. That’s when Olympiacos put together a 42-15 run over 14 minutes to lock down a big victory and snap its three-game losing streak, improving to a 3-3 record. Georgios Printezis finished with a career-high 30 points to go along with 9 rebounds. Vassilis Spanoulis had 14 points and 6 assists, and Daniel Hackett also scored 14 for the winners. CSKA Moscow never trailed in its 59-94 rout of Zalgiris Kaunas on Friday night, joining Laboral and Khimki at the top of the group. It was CSKA's 16th consecutive Euroleague victory over the Lithuanian champs. Milos Teodosic scored 10 points in the first quarter to help CSKA grab an 11-26 lead and Zalgiris never got closer than 11 after that. Teodosic scored 20 points and Nando De Colo 19. In the lone Thursday game in this group, Brose Baskets Bamberg held off FC Barcelona Lassa 74-70 in the Game of the Week. Bamberg improved to 3-3 in the Top 16 and 6-1 at home this season. Barcelona, which dropped to 2-4, went in front early as Justin Doellman got hot, but Bamberg would not be denied. The hosts took the lead for good in the second quarter, then pulled away with a 13-2 fourth-quarter run behind Darius Miller, Janis Strelnieks and Nikos Zisis, opening up a 68-54 lead, and the visitors never threatened again. Strelnieks finished with 16 points, Miller had 15, and Daniel Theis collected 11 points and 8 rebounds. Doellman scored 19 for Barcelona.
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