Playoffs Game 1: Home teams hold serve
The playoffs are here and the four teams that battled for 24 games to earn the home-court advantage for the playoffs all used it wisely; the hosts won Game 1 in each series and over the previous four seasons, that has proved decisive - 15 of the 16 teams that won Game 1 of their playoffs series went on to reach the Final four. Three of the four series featured some fourth-quarter drama with only Laboral Kutxa marching out to dominant victory.
Playoff A: Fenerbahce Istanbul 1-0 Real Madrid
Kostas Sloukas scored 10 fourth-quarter points and Bogdan Bogdanovic nailed a key three-pointer in the penultimate minute as Fenerbahce Istanbul held off Real Madrid 75-69 on Tuesday at Ulker Arena. The hosts led for most of the night, however Rudy Fernandez helped fuel a Madrid comeback from 14 down to lead 51-52 after 4 straight points from Andres Nocioni late in the third quarter. Fenerbahce answered with 6 straight points and never trailed again, though it needed late free throws by Ricky Hickman and Bogdanovic to ice the win. Bogdanovic and Sloukas finished with 17 points each to pace the winners; Bogdanovic also dished 5 assists. Felipe Reyes paced Madrid with 13 points.
Playoff B: Laboral Kutxa Vitoria Gasteiz 1-0 Panathinaikos Athens
Darius Adams scored 12 of his 20 point in third quarter as Laboral Kutxa Laboral Vitoria routed Panathinaikos Athens 84-68 in the series opener at Fernando Buesa Arena. The visitors led early, but Ioannis Bourousis came off the bench to help Laboral to a slim lead after 10 minutes. That difference grew to double figures in the second quarter before Adams took charge and the difference grew to 20. Panathinaikos fought back in the fourth quarter, but never threatened the outcome. Bourousis finished with 15 for the winners. Miroslav Raduljica led Panathinaikos with 21 points, but scored just twice in the second half after dominating early.
Playoff C: CSKA Moscow 1-0 Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade
Even with Euroleague's top scorer this season held to single digits for the first time, CSKA Moscow ruined Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade's playoff debut by winning 84-74 at Megasport Arena. Milos Teodosic and Kyle Hines starred for the hosts, who won their 15th consecutive home game in the playoffs. Teodosic came off the bench to fuel a 15-3 first-quarter run that put CSKA up for good. Teodosic had 15 points before halftime, but Stefan Jovic and Quincy Miller helped the visitors stay within 44-40 at that point. After the break, Hines helped grow the margin into double figures as CSKA assumed control. Zvezda came as close as 73-67 midway through the fourth quarter, but Teodosic and Nando De Colo fed Hines and Nikita Kurbanov for baskets that sealed the deal. Teodosic finished with 23 points, his best total in a playoff game, plus 6 assists and 6 rebounds. Hines added 21 points for a new Euroleague career high. Jovic and Miller had 14 apiece for Zvezda.
Playoff D: Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar 1-0 FC Barcelona Lassa
In a battle that went down to the final seconds, Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar edged FC Barcelona Lassa 66-61 at home for its first-ever Euroleague playoffs win. Anthony Randolph led the winners with 17 points and 10 rebounds and Malcolm Delaney added 11 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists. The visitors led by 9 in the second quarter and 6 at halftime. Lokomotiv rallied to within 1 late in the third quarter and the teams traded blows in a fourth quarter that featured five lead changes, but with the game on the line, Barcelona went cold. Lokomotiv scored the final 8 points of the game to claim the victory. Justin Doellman and Pau Ribas led Barcelona with 13 points apiece.