(Reuters) - CSKA Moscow and Fenerbahce drew first blood in the Euroleague’s best-of-five playoffs with contrasting home wins over their respective rivals on Tuesday.
A rampant CSKA blew away Panathinaikos 93-66 while Fenerbahce eked out an 80-72 victory against holders Maccabi Tel Aviv after overcoming an 11-point second-half deficit.
Barcelona host Olympiakos Piraeus and Real Madrid welcome Anadolu Efes Istanbul on Wednesday in the other two quarter-final ties.
The winners qualify for the May 15-17 Final Four in Madrid.
Serbia playmaker Milos Teodosic scored seven points as CSKA opened an 18-7 advantage and the home side then steamrolled their opponents to take a 56-27 first-half lead with trademark fast breaks and lethal long-range shooting.
The Russian giants buried nine of 14 three-pointers in the opening period and kept their foot on the pedal until the final whistle, with Teodosic racking up 18 points and eight assists.
“We played very maturely most of the game but the players know this is only the first step in what could be a long series,” CSKA’s Greek coach Dimitris Itoudis told Euroleague television.
“Panathinaikos are better than this and we know they will fight back in the second game.”
The two teams meet again in Moscow on Thursday before the series moves to Athens next week.
Maccabi, who stunned Real in last year’s final, were on top in Istanbul for 25 minutes before a talented Fenerbahce outfit launched a fightback from an unexpected source.
Reserve center Luka Zoric scored eight points during a 19-4 run which turned a 54-43 deficit midway through the third quarter into a 62-58 lead early in the fourth, with Maccabi playmaker Jeremy Pargo halted in his tracks.
Pargo nailed 19 points in the first half but aggressive defending confined him to only six in the second, while Czech center Jan Vesely dominated at the other end to finish with 23 points and seven rebounds.
“I am very happy with the outcome but we must focus on Thursday’s game two immediately,” said Fenerbahce coach Zeljko Obradovic.
Editing by Toby Davis