2015-16Top 16Round 14

Top 16 Round 14: Barcelona, Madrid are last two through!

The playoff picture was settled by the end of Thursday’s four games; victories for FC Barcelona Lassa and Real Madrid escorted those two teams into the playoffs from third and fourth place, respectively, in Group F. The playoff matchups are Fenerbahce Istanbul vs. Madrid; Laboral Kutxa Vitoria Gasteiz vs. Panathinaikos Athens; CSKA Moscow vs. Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade; and Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar vs. Barcelona. Hang on for the playoffs!

Group E

The final placement of the playoff teams was decided with the outcome of a lone Thursday game, when already-eliminated Anadolu Efes Istanbul rallied to beat playoff bound Panathinaikos Athens 91-86 at Abdi Ipekci Arena. The Greens had a chance to finish second and grab home-court advantage in the playoffs with a win and some help from Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul, but this loss ended up dropping them to 9-5 and third place. Efes finished Top 16 with a 7-7 record, but was eliminated before this week due to a lost tie-breaker in the head-to-head games against Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade. In this contest, Panathinaikos got off to a fast start as six players combined to make 9 of 10 three-pointers in the first half alone, and the Greens opened a 45-58 lead early in the third quarter. However Dario Saric and Thomas Heurtel scored all the points in a 10-0 run that brought Efes back, and as the game went down the stretch, Saric stepped up with a clutch triple, a key block and a three-point play as Efes pulled away to give their fans a parting gift. Saric tallied 15 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks to lead six Efes scorers in double figures, and Heurtel finished with 9 points and 9 assists. In Friday’s games, the home teams gave their fans parting presents with victories. Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul downed Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar 87-86 at Volkswagen Arena. After trailing for three quarters, the hosts pulled ahead early in the fourth and got key baskets from Furkan Aldemir, Scottie Wilbekin and Luke Harangody to wrap up the victory. Harangody made 4 of 5 three-pointers to score 15 points and grabbed 7 rebounds for the winners and Wilbekin tallied 11 points and 6 assists. Victor Claver and Chris Singleton led Lokomotiv with 12 points each. Cedevita Zagreb routed Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade 83-62. After beating Fenerbahce Istanbul by 30 two weeks ago, it was Cedevita's second consecutive home win by more than 20 points over a playoff-bound team. Zvezda's highlight was the return of team captain Luka Mitrovic, who missed every previous Euroleague game this season except the very first of the regular season with a knee injury. Jacob Pullen came of Zvezda's bench to hit 4 three-pointers for a team-high 22 points in under 20 minutes on court. Zvezda's top gun was also a reserve, Vladimir Stimac, who had a double-double of 18 points and 11 rebounds. It marked Zvezda's third consecutive loss by 19 points or more, but this one was played without the team's leading scorer and shot blocker, forward Quincy Miller. In the game that closed Group E, Unicaja Malaga held off Fenerbahce Istanbul 71-67. The hosts built a double-digit margin in the first half behind Nemanja Nedovic and Jack Cooley, then opened a 16-point cushion in the third quarter. Fenerbahce, which either rested its starters or played them limited minutes, rallied to within 4 points behind youngsters Egehan Arna and Berk Ugurlu, but Unicaja prevailed as Cooley finished with a career-high 17 points and Nedovic had 14.

Group F

In the first game on Thursday, FC Barcelona Lassa downed Zalgiris Kaunas 59-66 on the road to advance to the playoffs and lock up third place in the group with an 8-6 record. The result also eliminated Olympiacos Piraeus and Brose Baskets Bamberg from playoff contention. The hosts held a 34-28 lead at halftime, but Pau Ribas struck three times from downtown to give Barcelona a 48-49 edge through three quarters. Barcelona improved its defense when it mattered and a step-back jumper by Ribas and a dunk off a steal by Alex Abrines sealed the outcome down the stretch. Ribas, who returned from injury for this game, led the winners with 14 points, all of which came in the second half. Joey Dorsey collected 12 points and 13 rebounds, while Juan Carlos Navarro had 10 in victory. Kaspars Vecvagars led Zalgiris with 13 points, a new Euroleague personal best. Barcelona's win turned the final game of the night in a do-or-die fight for the fourth place, and reigning champion Real Madrid beat Khimki Moscow Region 83-70 to advance to the playoffs and continue its title defense. Khimki had a great first half behind an outstanding Tyrese Rice, who had 22 of his 24 points before the break. But it was Madrid which led 54-49 at halftime, then increased that margin to 66-52 on a Sergio Llull’s three-pointer in the third. With improved defense after the break and the emergence of Jaycee Carroll as a go-to guy, Madrid kept Khimki at bay and closed out the game without any drama. Carroll led the way with 23 points, and Felipe Reyes added 18 for Madrid. In between those two games, Brose Baskets Bamberg routed playoff bound Laboral Kutxa Vitoria Gasteiz 89-69 and finished its Top 16 campaign in style. Despite the win, however, Bamberg which improved to 7-7, will not advance to the playoff, as it needed losses from all Barcelona, Madrid and CSKA Moscow in order to have a chance. Bamberg used a 15-0 first quarter run to open a double-digit lead, and Darius Miller scored 13 points as the advantage climbed to 38-17 in the second quarter. Jaka Blazic had 13 points in the third-quarter, which helped cut the difference to 63-52, but the visitors never got any closer. Daniel Theis finished with a career-high 21 points, and Miller netted 16 of his 19 in the first half by making 5 of 6 threes for the night. Blazic scored 19 in defeat for Laboral, which entered the game with a chance to win the group, but the loss dropped it to 9-5 and second place. In the lone Friday game, first place CSKA Moscow held off Olympiacos Piraeus 96-99 for a prestigious road win. CSKA led for majority of the first half, but Olympiacos took the lead after halftime with Vangelis Mantzaris and Matt Lojeski in main roles. But a 2-14 run fueled by Milos Teodosic and Aaron Jackson put CSKA up for good in the fourth, before the visitors went to their go-to guy Nando De Colo who scored 12 of his game-high 20 points in the final three minutes of the contest. Teodosic and Jackson had 13 apiece, while Vassilis Spanoulis scored 17 in the final Euroleague game for Olympiacos this season.

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Group F possibilities

ZAL vs. FCB BRO vs. BSK RMA vs. KHI OLY vs. CSK 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
1 1 1 1 CSKA Laboral Barcelona Madrid
1 1 1 2 CSKA Laboral Barcelona Madrid
1 1 2 1 CSKA Laboral Khimki Brose
1 1 2 2 CSKA Laboral Khimki Barcelona
1 2 1 1 Laboral CSKA Barcelona Olympiacos
1 2 1 2 CSKA Laboral Barcelona Madrid
1 2 2 1 Laboral CSKA Khimki Barcelona
1 2 2 2 CSKA Laboral Khimki Barcelona
2 1 1 1 CSKA Laboral Barcelona Madrid
2 1 1 2 CSKA Laboral Barcelona Madrid
2 1 2 1 CSKA Laboral Barcelona Khimki
2 1 2 2 CSKA Laboral Barcelona Khimki
2 2 1 1 Laboral CSKA Barcelona Madrid
2 2 1 2 CSKA Laboral Barcelona Madrid
2 2 2 1 Laboral CSKA Barcelona Khimki
2 2 2 2 CSKA Laboral Barcelona Khimki
Leaders Round 14
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