By Aris Barkas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
With just two games left in the Top16, the “Group of death” remains a mess! While CSKA Moscow and Laboral Kutxa are tied at 8-4, five teams follow tied at 6-6. Those are Real Madrid, Barcelona, Olympiacos, Brose Baskets and Khimki and everything is still on the line!
On the other group standings, Fenerbahce is still on top (10-2) despite a defeat, Lokomotiv Kuban and Panathinaikos share the second spot (8-4), Crvena Zvezda is one step behind (7-5) and Anadolu Efes (6-6) still has a shot! But let’s return to the group of death and the MVP!
The Italian forward finally is becoming the player who many projected he would be and proved it once more in the big win of Brose Baskets over CSKA Moscow. The Germans are ready to make the next step and the same goes for Melli who had 17 points on 6/7 shots, made the most crucial basket of the game, added 6 rebounds, 2 assists and also had 2 turnovers. He needed just some months outside of his comfort zone in Italy, in order to shine.
- Vangelis Mantzaris: His calling card is defense, but this time he “executed” Real Madrid with 19 points and 6/6 threes. It’s a personal best in Euroleague and of course the key to Olympiacos‘ win.
- Elliot Williams: He is the man who is saving the Euroleague season of Panathinaikos and against Dogus Darussafaka on the road didn’t blink, scoring 19 points on 10/10 free throws, the winning shot, 1 assists, 1 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 turnovers.
- Nicolo Melli: Not many players had “killed” CSKA and he did it…
- Tyler Honeycutt: Khimki played with fire against Zalgiris but he was there to help them prevail, not so much with his 10 points, but with his personal best 17 rebounds! Zalgiris in total had 20 rebounds, so you get the point.
- Giannis Bourousis: This is his year, playing on a level compared to no one. Bourousis once again was the man with 22 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and 3 turnovers in one more win for Laboral Kutxa over Barcelona.
Best losing performance: Semih Erden
Panathinaikos escaped wioth the win from Istanbul and he had a hell of a game for Dogus Darussafaka. Erden scored 18 points on 7/11 field goals and added 4 rebounds, 4 blocks, 1 assists and 4 turnovers. If he had made one less, then his team could have won..
Coach of the week: Andrea Trinkieri
With Brose Baskets fighting until the end of the playoffs and having the best season ever for a German team in Euroleague, it’s obvious that the Italian coach is the guy behind this feat. His team is not only winning, but playing admirable team basketball and beating CSKA Moscow is one more testament for that. Even if the German doesn’t make it to the next round, their season will be remembered.
Biggest win: Laboral Kutxa
A tone of big games were played this week, but at the end, the result that counted the most was the win of Laboral Kutxa Vitoria Gasteiz over Barcelona. Even if in theory the winners are not yet in the playoffs, the eight wins they have may prove to be enough and their advantage is huge over Barcelona, Real Madrid, Olympiacos, Khimki and Brose Baskets with all of them being two steps behind at six wins. And of course, with one win in the next two games, Baskonia secures not only its playoffs spot, but also the home court advantage.
Last hope: Anadolu Efes
Thanks to the duo of Thomas Heurtel (17 p., 13 as.) and Dario Saric (17 p., 11 r.), Anadolu Efes prevailed over Unicaja Malaga and still can reach the playoffs. However, things are not going to be easy. Efes has to play against Fenerbahce on the road and hosts Panathinaikos in the last game, needs two wins and two defeats by Crvena Zvezda in order to advance. The Serbs are playing at home against Dogus Darussafaka and on the road against Cedevita, both teams are out of the playoffs race and they need just one win in order to secure their spot.
The last word
Supporting my boys! ???? pic.twitter.com/88uHtHtFVH
In the first Euroleague game without Jan Vesely, Fenerbahce was defeated on the road by Cedevita, which has already lost the playoffs train, and with a 30 points difference. Of course, Fenerbahce, which has already secured the home court advantage for the playoffs, has many other weapons, but at this point of the season an injury may prove to be more than crucial…