Quarter-finals set, Euroleague Top 16 round-up

Olympiacos Piraeus- Nizhny Novgorod 77-70

Olympiacos did what they had to do in order to beat the Russian side at home. The “Reds” had a good start in the game taking the upper hand 25-18 and managed to increase it by the end of the half, 40-30.

But with nothing to play for but pride from Group F, Nizhny Novgorod did not give up and they took advantage of Olympiacos’ poor defense to score 26 points during the third period to enter the final period with a chance at 56-56.

But with coach Giannis Sfairopoulos forcing the Greek side to play with more passion and focus on defense, a choice that finally gave them the win, which was a small boost for the upcoming games against Barcelona in Spain.

Vassilis Spanoulis’ absence was covered by Matthew Lojeski who led his team offensively having 17 points and 8 rebounds, followed by Georgios Printezis who added 12.

For Nizhny, Rihards Kuksiks scored 17 points and Trey Thompkins amassed 16.

“We finished the Top 16 with a victory, which is not to be underestimated,” said Sfairopoulos. “It is always hard to play a game wihout serious motivation, but we saw it as a kind of readiness test before the playoff series.

“We had a lot of good moments tonight, including the cooperation between the players, the steals and the way we opened the tempo of the match. I didn’t like our performance in the third quarter, as we allowed Nizhny to score 26 points, but we improved our defense in the last period and won it.”

Galatasaray Liv Hospital Istanbul- F.C. Barcelona 65-88

In the end, Barcelona eased past Galatasaray and the final score reflects the difference the two had. 17-21 after 10 minutes in a good game with Barcelona establishing their advantage during the second period and we were led to the half time with the visitors in front 34-39.

Galatasaray scored 17 points in each of the three periods of the game but Barcelona scored more points in all of them since the home side did not show any will to defend at all, giving Barca a safe 51-61 lead which was extended as the game was going towards its end.

Ante Tomic was the game’s top scorer with 20 points and 9/10 field goals while Tibor Pleiss was the only other player from the winners, who scored double digit points. On the other side Vladimir Micov scored 10 for the Turkish side who finished Group E last.

Real Madrid- Zalgiris Kaunas 99-83

Real was once again an unstoppable force offensively beating Zalgiris which was caught off-guard right after the jump-ball allowing their opponents to get a 14-2 lead.

But the Lithuanian champions attempted to recover, only to reduce the gap to 21-12 playing quick basketball and finding the open shots they needed behind the arc, achieving to end the half leading 40-43, applying pressure on Real that needed the win to finish first at their group.

The home side returned to the game being shocked from Zalgiris’ style of play and despite their attempts to take control, their shooting totals were poor and the Lithuanian side was able to follow them closely, 68-62.

It was a matter of time until coach Pablo Laso’s players would snap out of their bad performance and as soon as the closing quarter begun, three shots behind the arc found the target putting Real on the driver’s seat.

From then on, their quick pace alongside their fans enthusiasm helped them get the win. Felipe Reyes scored 17 points and Sergio Rodriguez followed with 16. Jaycee Carroll had 16 too and made three important shots towards the end to boost his team to the win.

For Zalgiris who made their last stand in this year’s competition, James Anderson led them with 17 points.