Top 16 Round 1: a new challenge begins!
The 2013-14 Turkish Airlines Euroleague returned for the start of the Top 16 and delivered instantly. There were surprises in Group F, where all four road teams won! The two undefeated teams from the regular season, Olympiacos Piraeus and Real Madrid, both extended their impressive runs. Round 1 featured comeback, an overtime thriller and plenty of brilliant individual performances. And there are still 13 more weeks of Top 16 drama to come!
In an all-Spanish showdown to open Group E, Laboral Kutxa Vitoria rallied past Unicaja Malaga 79-93. Laboral made 15 of 24 three-point shots, marking the highest total in its Top 16 history and matching the second-highest by the club in any Euroleague phase. Unicaja had led 24-13 after one quarter, but Laboral quickly started making long shots and piled up 60 points in the second half to make sure the victory headed back to Vitoria. Andres Nocioni hit 4 of 4 from downtown to lead the winners with 20 points and 9 rebounds. FC Barcelona routed Anadolu Efes Istanbul 84-65 at Palau Blaugrana to record its eighth home win against Efes in as many games. Juan Carlos Navarro paced the winners with 21 points. Erazem Lorbek, Navarro and Brad Oleson fueled a 25-2 second-quarter run that broke the game open, 48-18. Efes got within 53-29 at halftime, but Nothing changed after the break, as Barcelona kept a safe double-digit margin all the way until the final buzzer. Panathinaikos registered a defensive-minded 73-57 home win over EA7 Emporio Armani Milanbefore 14,000 happy fans at Olympic Sports Center Athens. The Greens cruised to their first Group E victory by winning every quarter and dominating 39-22 in rebounds. Dimitris Diamantidis had 11 assists, 4 more than the entire Milan team. Stephane Lasme had 13 rebounds, 7 more than any Milano player, and 3 blocks to lead the defensive effort. On the scoring end, James Gist paced the Greens with 12 points. In the group's only game on Friday, reigning MVP Vassilis Spanoulis starred as Olympiacos Piraeus dumped Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul 95-82 at the Peace and Friendship Stadium on Friday night. Led by Spanoulis and Stratos Perperoglou, Olympiacos hit 7 its 12 triples in the final seven minutes of the game, holding on to the lead after Fenerbahce closed within 78-75. Spanoulis finished with 28 points – 1 short of his career high – plus 9 assists and 5 rebounds, while Perperoglou scored 15 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter.
The Serbian capital opened the new group in style as one of the biggest crowds in Turkish Airlines Euroleague history assembled to see Real Madrid down Partizan NIS Belgrade 64-80. The local team brought 21,374 fans to Kombank Arena, but it was not enough for Partizan, which was missing head coach Dusko Vujosevic due to illness. Nevertheless, the resilient Partizan squad was never out of the game until Marcus Slaughter and Rudy Fernandez fueled a 0-10 run in the fourth quarter. Fernandez and Sergio Rodriguez paced the winner with 16 points apiece. Madrid leads the all-time series 17-2. Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv outlasted Galatasaray Liv Hospital 84-90 at Abdi Ipekci Sports Hall in Istanbul. The fourth quarter started with plenty of excitement and five lead changes, but Devin Smith and Yogev Ohayon each hit threes in a game-breaking run 0-12 run. Ricky Hickman scored a season-high 24 points for Maccabi, while Smith and Alex Tyus each posted double doubles for the winners. On Friday, in a never-seen-before game in continental competition, CSKA Moscow grabbed a good-as-gold road overtime win over Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar 77-84. It was the first-ever all-Russian showdown in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague. Victor Khryapa scored 15 points on 5-of-6 three-point shooting plus 8 rebounds and 7 assists in an impressive all-around performance for the winners. After Milos Teodosic missed a shot to win at the end of regulation, CSKA regrouped and took control in the extra session for the win. Making its Top 16 debut, Bayern Munich shot its way past Zalgiris Kaunas 66-84 on the road. Malcolm Delaney paced the Munich attack with 14 points and 6 assists, while Heiko Schaffartzik tallied 12 points and 5 assists. The third quarter is where Munich broke the game open as Bryce Taylor and Lucca Staiger shined in a 0-13 charge and Zalgiris never recovered.
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