Top 16, Round 3: Madrid, Panathinaikos still perfect
Only two teams – and neither of them a top seed going into the Top 16 – reached the halfway point of the phase perfect after decisive home wins on Thursday. And both Real Madrid and Panathinaikos could become the first teams to advance to the Quarterfinal Playoffs when Top 16, Week 4 tips off in two weeks. In the meantime fans will be left with memories of a highlight-packed week of action that featured seven games decided by double-digit margins and one that went to the last second. Real Madrid controls its destiny in Group F after routing Maccabi Electra 98-78 as Louis Bullock scored 24 points – his best offensive output in more than three years. Madrid, now 3-0, will advance to the playoffs with a win at Maccabi in its next game. Regal FC Barcelona is one win behind its domestic rival in that group after crushing Alba Berlin 85-69 behind a monstrous effort a career-best 30 points plus 11 rebounds from Ersan Ilyasova. In Group G,Panathinaikos is in pole position following a 92-67 victory over Lottomatica Roma in which 11 players scored at least 5 points and none had more than 11! In the same ggroup on Wednesday, Partizan edged Unicaja 60-59 as last week's MVP, Novica Velickovic, made all of his 12 points count, including the game-winning free throw with 5 seconds left. Group E, the only full one to play on Wednesday, ended with a three-way tie for first place afterTau Ceramica downed previously unbeaten Armani Jeans Milano 108-90 as Sergi Vidal came off the bench for 26 points. Joining those teams at 2-1 now is Olympiacos, which ruled on the road by 68-93 at Asseco Prokom as Nikola Vujcic had 21 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. Montepaschi Siena claimed the Group H battle of titans with a huge 74-56 victory over visiting CSKA, marking the worst Euroleague loss for the reigning champions all decade. Terrell McIntyre directed the triumph with 21 points for the winners, who outrebounded CSKA 33-23. And Fenerbahce Ulker roared back into the Group H argument as Mirsad Turkcan’s 46th career Euroleague double-double – 20 points and 13 rebounds – paved the way.