Real Madrid face a crunch battle next week, while Group E has its Playoff line-up, Euroleague Top 16 hangover

Euroleague Basketball
Photo: Euroleague Basketball

For reigning Euroleague champions Real Madrid, the possibility of elimination is now very real.

A wild, off-balance three-pointer from Davis Bertans with 2.3 seconds left handed Laboral Kutxa an incredible, come-from-behind 89-88 win over Real Madrid in Group F of the Top 16 as they secured home court advantage in the quarter-final Playoffs.

But for last season’s winners, they now face a win or go home clash next week against Khimki as they drop to 6-7.

Bertans’ heroics were not alone, Mike James poured in a game-high 27 points for the victors, which included six triples off six attempts.

“We played at a low pace in the beginning, and that cost us a big disadvantage,” James said. “We found a push after half-time, played more up-tempo basketball and that brought us into the game again. I felt great in the third quarter. I was a bit lucky, because the first shots went in and that gave me confidence to keep scoring. They opened the rim and it was great.”

CSKA Moscow also secured home court advantage in the last eight after a third quarter surge saw them get the better of Zalgiris 100-86.

The double-digit win flatters the Lithuanian side a little though, as they led for the majority of the first half, and a buzzer-beating floater from Jerome Randle to end the second kept Zalgiris in front but CSKA came out strong in the third. A 14-3 run gave the hosts the lead, for which they never relinquished.

Nando De Colo starred for CSKA with 26 points and seven rebounds as they improve to 9-4 in Group F.

Anadolu Efes were officially eliminated from the Euroleague at the Top 16 stage after they lost 90-86 to already qualified Fenerbahce in the cross-continent Istanbul derby.

Fenerbahce’s win means that both Panathinaikos and Crvena Zvezda have qualified for the quarter-final Playoffs as Anadolu Efes drops to 6-7 and due to its tie-break disadvantage, can’t catch the newly qualified sides.

Luigi Datome paced Fenerbahce with 24 points.

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Fenerbahce’s Bogdan Bogdanovic in action. Photo: Euroleague Basketball

Fenerbahce’s win secured Panathinaikos’ progression to the last eight for the sixth straight season. The Greens were mid-way through the second quarter when the result broke out in Istanbul, but they were already cruising against Cedevita Zagreb in Athens.

A dominant 42-19 half-time scoreline ended up with Panathinaikos winning 76-60, further confirming their progression to the last eight.

The game itself though was a mere sideshow, as the 18,200 crowd inside the OAKA paid tribute to three-time Euroleague winner Dimitris Diamantidis, who became a ‘Euroleague Basketball’ legend before the game.

Diamantidis, playing in his last season for Panathinaikos hit 10 points and pulled down six rebounds. James Gist led all scorers with 15.

“We showed once again our strong character and this is something like very much,” Gist said. “It was a big night for our captain, Dimitris Diamantidis, and he deserves to enjoy it.”