You’d be forgiven for thinking this week’s Euroleague slated consisted of one game and one shot, we begin with the latter.

Efes? Really Efes did this? And Planinic? Wow, it’s like all the mockery of the club and Zoran (there was plenty on Twitter through the evening) was channeled into one wild moment of positive energy. Well, that’s the most sense I can make of it. There are buzzer beaters and there are you are taking the proverbial beaters. This was somewhere north of the latter. The score obviously meant a lot to the Istanbul club but it had wide ranging implications across Group E. Let’s start with EA7 Milan, that one moment of misfortune dropped them to 2-2. That keeps them locked with Unicaja Malaga and Olympiacos and only a game clear of Efes, Fenerbahce, and Baskonia. It is, of course, a tad on the early side to start talking permutations but none of those bottom three teams needed to lose extra ground to Milan. Planinic made sure they didn’t. Now on to the title of this week’s column.


Just like the Governator said in Predator, Real Madrid are not invincible. They’re damn good, and for my money still the best team in Europe, but brilliance doesn’t make you invulnerable (if it did then I wouldn’t have been away from blogging with a chest infection). Lots if caveats here, it was in Moscow, CSKA shot well, and RMB were a vile 16 of 40 inside the arc. Both teams are going to the playoffs, Real will still like get home court, and CSKA can’t be trusted to put two consistent games together against good teams. Do you think any of this matters to a team with a realistic eye on the Final Four or, in domestic action, winning the Copa del Rey? Finally, having been lights out near nightly, Pablo Laso’s men have been hurt. It’s the one thing we wanted to see, not because of hating perfection but because we want to see how they respond. Every coach in Euroleague is telling his players they need no longer fear Madrid but they’re also thinking that what follows could be even scarier.

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Oh hai Maccabi Tel-Aviv. Look at you there with your 4-0 start. Like I said before the Top 16, these guys are going 10-4 and making the playoffs with substantial breathing room. The only question is whether they can somehow split Real (unlikley) and CSKA (harder now) for a top two spot and take home advantage.

Looking ahead to next week…and look it’s Real vs Maccabi. Laso’s men are out for blood. This is a must watch game. FC Bayern meanwhile missed out on a chance to go to 3-1 by dropping a home game to Galatasaray, meaning they actually need to come good against CSKA. Yikes. Possible but still, totally merits a yikes. Group E, oh Zoran you are the best for making round five all the more intriguing, as now Milan must fend off Fener at home. Lock that one onto your schedule. There’s also the small matter of Panathinaikos vs Barcelona, top two teams in the group with a whole lot of history so maybe, MAYBE, you’d be an idiot not to watch.

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