By Aris Barkas/ email@example.com
Eleven rounds down, three to go in Top16 and the end will be thrilling specially in the notorious “Group of Death”.
Thanks to the big win of Barcelona over Real Madrid, everything seems possible. As you can see in the standings CSKA Moscow became the first of the group which locked a place in the playoffs (8-3), but even Laboral Kutxa (7-4) is in danger, followed by the Catalans (6-5), the “Whites” (6-5), Brose Baskets (5-6), Khimki (5-6) and Olympiacos (5-6).
On the other group things are more simple with Fenerbahce (10-1) securing not just the playoffs, but also the top spot and the trio of Lokomotiv Kuban, Panathinaikos and Crvena Zvezda tied at 7-4. Anadolu Efes follows at 5-6, while Unicaja Malaga (3-8), Dogus Darussafaka (3-8) and Cedevita Zagreb (2-9) are out. But let’s get back to Barcelona…
He is a Euroleague champ both with Olympiacos and Panathinaikos, he has never been a marquee name, but he just doesn’t care. After all, a low profile can be an asset, as it was evident in the win of Barcelona over Real Madrid. Perperoglou finished the game with 20 points and 6 rebounds and decided the outcome with big plays down the stretch in what was for him just an other day in the office.
- Nando De Colo: He continues his stellar season for CSKA Moscow and against Laboral Kutxa he had a 27 PIR missing just one shot on the way to 19 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and 2 turnovers.
- Bradley Wanamaker: He is one of the leader of Brose Baskets and he proved it in the win over Khimki with 25 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists. He had 1/6 threes, but also 8/11 two-point shots and just 1 turnover.
- Dimitris Diamantidis: It’s his last season, however he is still giving win to Panathinaikos and adding new chapters to his legend. He took over the game against Lokomotiv Kuban with 15 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals and big plays when it counted the most.
- Stratos Perperoglou: It was his night in Barcelona.
- Ekpe Udoh: He is having an amazing Top16 and he was the best of his team with 18 points and 6 rebounds in the win of Fenerbahce over Dogus Darussafaka.
Best losing performance: Adam Hanga
He is one of the key players of Laboral Kutxa and he is having his best season yet in the top level, reminding to everyone what the Spurs saw when they drafted him. This was evident in Moscow, where he had 19 points, 7 rebounds, 4 steals, 2 blocks and 3 turnovers against the mighty CSKA.
Coach of the week: Dejan Radonjic
His players had the spotlight many times, but this is his night. Crvena Zvezda has a better record in Top16, than the 5-5 the team had in regular season! This was the second road win of the team, after beating Panathinaikos in Athens and in the next road game against Lokomotiv Kuban, the Serbs will be fighting for the second place of their group and the home court advantage in the playoffs! Crvena Zvezda has a clear plan on the court, the players know their roles and this is a testament to Radonjic’s work.
Biggest win: Barcelona
After many ups and downs in Top16, Barcelona thanks to its second win against Real Madrid, has things again under control. It was the second win against the “Whites”, giving to the Catalans the tie breaking advantage and with a four points win next week against Laboral Kutxa, they will climb to the second place of the “Group of Death”. Not bad at all…
The survivors: Anadolu Efes
In a do or die game, Anadolu Efes flirted with disaster until the last seconds. A steal and a rebound of Cedi Osman secured the win which gives one more fighting chance to coach Ivkovic’s team. However, Anadolu Efes with a 5-6 record is hunting teams which already have 7 wins in order to advance to the playoffs. That means that only with three more wins they will have real hope.
The last word: Saras back to SEF
Sarunas Jasikevicious has a history with Olympiacos and he returned to the home court of one of his arch-rivals as a coach for the first time. An uspet this time was not possible, like in the first round of Top16 in Kaunas, the Euroleague season of Zalgiris (2-9) had ended mathematically and Saras couldn’t produce one big result against the Reds…