Playoffs, Game 1: Home teams hold serve
The top four teams from the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season battled for months to earn home-court advantage for the playoffs and all four of them made good use of it in Game 1. First CSKA Moscow pulled away from KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz for a 26-point victory on Tuesday before Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul crushed Zalgiris Kaunas by 33. Wednesday's games were much closer, but Anadolu Efes Istanbul never trailed before topping FC Barcelona Lassa. And Real Madrid rallied late to edge Panathinaikos OPAP Athens. The winning teams host the second games of the best-of-five series on Thursday and Friday before all four series switch sites for Game 3s next week.
CSKA Moscow 94-68 KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz (1-0)
CSKA Moscow began the playoffs with a convincing 94-68 victory over KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz in Game 1 of their best-of-five series on Tuesday evening at Megasport Arena in the Russian capital. It was a 1-point game early in the third quarter before Sergio Rodriguez and Nikita Kurbanov each hit back-to-back three-pointers as the hosts took control for good. The victory was CSKA's 15th in a row over Baskonia in Moscow dating back to 2005. Rodriguez led the CSKA attack with 19 points and 5 assists. Cory Higgins added 12 points, Nando De Colo scored 11 and Kurbanov and Will Clyburn netted 10 points apiece. All 12 CSKA players scored at least 3 points. Shavon Shields paced Baskonia's scored with 17 points and Vincent Poirier and Darrun Hilliard scored 12 points each.
Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul 76-43 Zalgiris Kaunas (1-0)
Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul showcased a stellar defensive performance to start the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Playoffs, beating visiting Zalgiris Kaunas 76-43 to take control of their best-of-five series. It marked the largest EuroLeague Playoffs win in Fenerbahce history and the fourth largest all-time, while Zalgiris set a club low for points scored in a EuroLeague game. Fenerbahce took the lead for good by finishing the first quarter with a 6-0 run and then used two more runs - 8-0 and 7-0 - to build a 38-21 halftime lead and never looked back. Nikola Kalinic led Fenerbahce with 16 points, Marko Guduric had 13, and Erick Green netted 12 points in a victory. Marius Grigonis was the only Zalgiris scorer in double figures with 10 points.
Anadolu Efes Istanbul 75-68 FC Barcelona Lassa (1-0)
Anadolu Efes Istanbul jumped out to a 1-0 lead in its best-of-five playoff series against FC Barcelona Lassa thanks to a 75-68 victory on Wednesday at Sinan Erdem Dome in Istanbul. Vasilije Micic starred with 21 points on 4-of-5 three-point shooting plus 7 assists to pace the winners, who host Game 2 on Friday. Efes led from start to finish after racing out to a 9-2 start and grabbing a double-digit lead inside of 5 minutes. Barcelona never threw in the towel and closed the gap to 5 in the finals minutes, but Efes held on for the win. Adrien Moerman and Shane Larkin added 12 points apiece for the winners and Bryant Dunston contributed 11 points and 3 blocks. Ante Tomic paced Barcelona with 14 points and Kevin Pangos and Thomas Heurtel scored 12 each.
Real Madrid 75-72 Panathinaikos OPAP Athens (1-0)
Real Madrid held off a stirring comeback from Panathinaikos OPAP Athens to record a thrilling 75-72 home victory in the opening game of their playoffs series in the Spanish capital. Madrid was in front nearly all night and led by 14 early in the third quarter, but the Greens did not give up and roared in front 66-72 with 4 minutes left. Madrid rallied to finish strong and take the victory when DeShaun Thomas missed the chance to force overtime near the final buzzer. Jeffery Taylor paced the winners with 13 points, Fabien Causeur scored 12 and Walter Tavares combined 8 points with 8 rebounds. Nick Calathes recovered from a slow start to lead all scorers with 17 points for the Greens and Thomas added 12 while Ian Vougoiukas paired 10 points and 6 rebounds. The teams will meet again for Game 2 in Madrid on Friday.