Only one more game remains before the 2012 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four. CSKA Moscow and Olympiacos Piraeus made sure of their trips to Istanbul with tough wins on Friday to win their series 3-2. However the defending champs made sure one playoffs series would go the distance with a Game 4 road win. Moscow and the Reds join previously qualified FC Barcelona Regal to make up three-quarters of the Final Four. Panathinaikos hosts Maccabi Electra next week to decide the fourth club. CSKA held off Gescrap BB for a 71-73
win at Bilbao Arena behind Andrei Kirilenko’s 23 points and 8 rebounds – the final board coming with 2 seconds to go to secure the win. Aaron Jackson rallied Gescrap from 14 down in the fourth quarter to 70-71 in the final seconds. He then went to the line with his team down 3 and 2.9 seconds remaining. The point guard made the first –barely – and missed the second on purpose, but Kirilenko rose for the rebound to seal the game and series. CSKA returns to the Final Four for the ninth time in 10 seasons after missing out last season. Gescrap bid farewell to the Euroleague after a spectacular debut season in Europe’s premier competition. Olympiacos downed Montepaschi Siena 76-69
with a strong finish. The hosts trailed by 1 heading into the fourth quarter and the game was tied at 61-61 with five minutes to play, but Vassilis Spanoulis scored 6 points down the stretch and assisted Kostas Sloukas on a big three-pointer as Olympiacos sent the fans at Peace and Friendship Stadium into a frenzy with their third trip to the Final Four in the last four seasons. Spanoulis and Kyle Hines collected 19 points apiece – Hines also had 7 rebounds and 4 blocks – to lead Olympiacos, which grabbed 17 offensive rebounds to make up for just 4 of 22 shooting (18%) from long range. On Thursday, in yet another intense and outstanding showdown, Panathinaikos beat Maccabi Electra 69-78
at Nokia Arena in Tel Aviv, Israel. The win tied the series at 2-2 and Panathinaikos hosts Game 5 next week in Athens. Nick Calathes led the winners with 15 points but it was Dimitris Diamantidis and Kostas Kaimakoglou who took over in crunch time, finishing with 12 piece. Maccabi trailed for the best part of the game but a one-handed jumper by Lior Eliyahu gave his team a 65-64 lead with over four minutes to go. David Blu still gave Maccabi a 67-66 lead but Kaimakoglou and Diamantidis combined for all the points in a 0-10 run that sealed the outcome down the stretch. As such, Panathinaikos kept its chance alive to become the first defending champion to reach the Final Four since 2009. Maccabi needs to beat the Greens at OAKA to get to the Final Four for the ninth time in 13 years.