Laboral Kutxa get the better of the champions, Euroleague Top 16 hangover

Euroleague Basketball

Laboral Kutxa recorded its third Euroleague Top 16 road win by defeating reigning champions Real Madrid 77-68 in Group F.

Baskonia have now beaten both Barcelona and Real in back-to-back weeks as they improve to 4-2 in the group, while the holders fall to 3-3.

Fabien Causeur led the winners with 15 points with Jaka Blazic adding 13 in a game where Laboral Kutxa used stifling defence to rattle Madrid’s offence in the third period to break the game open.

“It was an important game for both teams,” Laboral Kutxa coach Velimir Perasovic said. “We were focused from the very beginning. We had problems at the beginning of the game due to turnovers but worked better after that and this is when things started to get better for us. I think we controlled the game until the fourth quarter, when Real Madrid got within one point. That is normal, when you play against a team with such great offensive talent, it happens, but we kept our temper to win it in the end. There are many games left against very good teams and things can always go south.”

Sergio Rodriguez went for 18 points for Real.

Olympiacos snapped a three-game losing streak as they came back from numerous double-digit deficits to get the better of Khimki 89-77 in Piraeus.

Led by Georgios Printezis’ career-high 30 points, the Reds got it going in the final quarter and never stopped. In a span of 14 minutes, Olympiacos put together a 42-15 run, and in the end won comfortably to improve to 3-3 in Group F, while Khimki dropped its second game of the Top 16 out of six.

The third Group F encounter saw CSKA Moscow convincingly rout Zalgiris 94-59 in Kaunas for the Russian side’s sixteenth straight win over their Lithuanian counterparts.

Milos Teodosic scored 20 points and Nando De Colo 19 for CSKA as it improved to 4-2 in Top 16 Group F, while Zalgiris drop further down the catacombs of the table at 1-5.

“We knew it could be a tough game,” CSKA’s Joel Freeland said. Zalgiris has amazing fans, but we stuck together and found a way to victory.

“I‘m happy that we were focused and grabbed a win in Kaunas, because we all know how hard it is to play here.”

The lone Group E game saw Fenerbahce beat Anadolu Efes 77-73 in the Istanbul derby, played on the European side of the city.

Ekpe Odoh and Bogdan Bogdanovic each got 15 points to lead Fenerbhace, who remain unbeaten at 6-0.