Holders Olympiakos struggle as Barcelona march on
By Zoran Milosavljevic
BELGRADE (Reuters) - Euroleague holders Olympiakos Piraeus face an uphill battle to reach the knockout stages following a 78-74 defeat at Fenerbahce while Barcelona stretched their winning Top 16 streak to eight matches.
CSKA Moscow won a rip-roaring Russian classic against Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar 94-93 and former Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom made a cameo appearance for Spaniards Laboral Kutxa Vitoria who are bottom of Group E with a 1-7 record.
Fenerbahce hauled themselves back into the hunt for a quarter-final berth after forward Linas Kleiza and playmaker Lester Bo McCalebb scored 41 points between them in front of a fervent home crowd in Istanbul on Friday.
It was a third win on the trot for Fenerbahce who have a 4-4 record as do Olympiakos, fellow Greeks Panathinaikos and Spaniards Unicaja Malaga with a four-way dogfight developing for three tickets to the knockout stages.
The quartet trail Emporio Armani Milan who have a 5-3 record and runaway leaders Barcelona who are on the verge of sealing their passage with games to spare after Croatia center Ante Tomic amassed 26 points and 15 rebounds in an 89-84 overtime win at Anadolu Efes Istanbul.
"It was a great effort from Efes but we played really smart in the last couple of minutes of regular time and then put our hearts on the court to win the game," Barcelona coach Xavi Pascual told www.euroleague.net.
DOWN TO WIRE
In the day's curtain-raiser, guard Milos Teodosic delighted CSKA fans by burying three late three-pointers to finish with a game-high 25 points against Lokomotiv, with the lead changing hands multiple times in a game that went down to the wire. Continued...