By Eurohoops team/ email@example.com
Playoffs qualification drama? Check! A legend being honored? Check! An epic game? Check! What else do you need? Top16’s round 13 ended, but its magic will remain in the memories of everyone.
As you can see in the standings, after this week the four teams of Group E which will play in the next round have been decided. They are Fenerbahce, Lokomotiv Kuban tied with Panathinaikos and Crvena Zvezda. In the “Group of death”, CSKA Moscow and Laboral Kutxa have qualified, while two tickets are left open for Barcelona, Khimki, Real Madrid, Brose Baskets and Olympiacos. The scenarios are many, but in most cases, Barcelona, Khimki and Real Madrid are the top contenders.
And that brings us to the MVP..
Did you get tired? He is not! Davis Bertans with his three gave the win to Laboral Kutxa over Real Madrid, but Bourousis got things done once more with a double double (25 p., 10 r.), 3 assists, 3 steals and no turnovers in 29 minutes of action. He did it against his former team and current defending champs, Real Madrid, putting them in trouble once more.
- Malcolm Delaney: One more demonstration of his quality with 15 points, 10 assists and 3 rebounds in the 81-60 win of Lokomotiv Kuban over Unicaja Malaga with the Russians pushing towards the home court advantage in the playoffs.
- Mike James: It’s really rare for Eurohoops to have two players of the same team in the best five, but Mike James scored 27 points against Real Madrid for Laboral Kutxa and had 5/5 threes in the third quarter. Any questions?
- Nando De Colo: By the numbers, he was equal to Bourousis with 26 points, 8/11 field goals, 7/7 free throws, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 turnovers in the win of CSKA Moscow over Zalgiris. A spectacular game, but not against Real Madrid…
- Luigi Datome: Despite the woes of Fenerbahce, the Italian forward did it again with 24 points, 8/11 field goals, 7 rebounds and also 5 turnovers in the win over Anadolu Efes.
- Giannis Bourousis: Who else?
Best losing performance: Sergio Rodriguez
You can find better numbers in other losing teams, but “Chacho” was one of the key players in what was one of the best games of the season. With two crucial threes he put his team in the position to win and he was also the player who lost a crucial free throw and permitted to Bertans to “steal” the game with his three. In total he had 18 points on 5/7 threes, 5 assists, 3 steals and 3 turnovers and he will be the leader of Real next week, when the “Whites” will fight for their lives.
Coach of the week: Xavi Pascual
Against one of the most well coached teams of the Euroleague, Brose Baskets, Pascual and Barcelona made their come back and a huge step towards the playoffs. Despite its injury woes, having practically nine players, the hosts were more than prepared for this game and they prevailed by taking care all the little things, making things easy for themselves.
Biggest win: Khimki Moscow Region
Under a new coach, Dusko Ivanovic, and with a much different approach to the game, Khimki remains one of the most talented offensive teams in the league. And that was proven again as the Russians thanks to their efficient shooting and stellar rebounding got a more than easy win against Olympiacos (more on the Reds later). The point is that Khimki has a shot for the playoffs and with shooters like Shved and Kopponen, this shot may turn out to be a golden opportunity against the defending champs next week.
The underachievers: Anadolu Efes
With their life on the line, the players of Dusan Ivkovic despite a valiant effort for an epic come back in the last minutes, couldn’t avoid the defeat by Fenerbahce, which ended their hopes for a spot in the playoffs. Efes, which is currently the leader in the Turkish BSL, created a team with a lot of young talent in order to get to the Final Four for the first time since 2000. Duda wanted to build an even better version of his Olympiacos’ team, but in the end it was proven that it’s hard for lighting to hard twice.
The disappointment: Olympiacos
In theory, Olympiacos can still hope to get to the playoffs – with a win over CSKA Moscow and provided, among other results, that Zalgiris will beat Barcelona – however this seems besides the points. The Reds for the first time after 10 years will miss the Top8 of Euroleague and even if losing to the more than talented Khimki can’t be considered a surprise, the fact that Olympiacos didn’t have any kind of fighting spirit, it is…
Τhe last word: Legend
Dimitris Diamantidis decided to put an end to his career this season. And he is going out with a bang. Today he was named officially a “Euroleague legend” in a sold out OAKA, Panathinaikos locked a spot in the playoffs with a win over Cedevita. By the way, he has already won a Euroleague title in Berlin…