Game Center, Round 22: Road warriors rise up in the end
After six home teams set the pace with victories in Round 22, huge moves in the playoffs race were made by a pair of road warriors, Khimki Moscow Region and Olympiacos Piraeus, in the last two games on Friday. Khimki moved up into a three-way tie for fifth place with the team it ambushed, Zalgiris Kaunas, and Real Madrid, the team that Olympiacos knocked off to take over second place.
Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv 94-82 FC Barcelona Lassa
Pierre Jackson scored 15 of his team-high 18 points in the fourth quarter to lead Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv to a 94-82 victory over FC Barcelona Lassa at Menora Mivtachim Arena. The fourth quarter featured four early lead changes, but once Jackson got going, Maccabi pulled away for a key win to solidify its hold on eighth place in the standings at 12-10 with a two-win gap over ninth placed Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz. Barcelona dropped to 7-15. Maccabi outrebounded Barcelona 44-32. Thomas Heurtel paced the visitors with 18 points and 10 assists. It was Barcelona’s first game under interim Coach Alfred Julbe, after Coach Sito Alonso was relieved of his duties earlier in the week.
Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens 80-76 Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz
Panathinaikos overcame a sluggish start to hold off Baskonia 80-76 and improve to 14-8. Baskonia, which dropped to 10-12, led by 7 in the first quarter, but a flurry of triples from Kenny Gabriel sent the host ahead and the Greens extended the gap to 18 as the visitors scored just 31 points in the middle two quarters. Gabriel was joined on 15 points by James Gist to lead the home team’s scoring, while Nick Calathes led the offense brilliantly with 7 points and 12 assists. The visitors were led by 15 points apiece from Toko Shengelia and Rodrigue Beaubois.
Valencia Basket 103-99 CSKA Moscow
Valencia grabbed its third consecutive home win by downing CSKA 103-99 at Pabellon Fuente de Sant Luis on Thursday. Valencia raised its record to 8-14. CSKA dropped to 17-5, but remains first overall. Erick Green led the winners with 19 points and Bojan Dubljevic scored 18. Nando De Colo paced CSKA with 30 points and Will Clyburn added 27. The Spanish champs seemed to be in total control when a three-pointer by Dubljevic made it 82-68 in the fourth quarter, but Cory Higgins, De Colo and Clyburn brought CSKA within 86-85 midway through the fourth quarter. De Colo tied the game at 95-95 in the next-to-last minute, but a big triple by Alberto Abalde and free throws by Will Thomas, Dubljevic and Green sealed the outcome.
Unicaja Malaga 79-68 Anadolu Efes Istanbul
Unicaja Malaga returned to its winning ways with a 79-68 victory over Anadolu Efes Istanbul on Thursday night. Unicaja controlled things for majority of the night and held a 15-point lead in the third quarter, but Errick McCollum led an Efes charge that tied the game at 65-65 in the fourth quarter. However, Adam Waczynski hit back-to-back triples as Unicaja closed the game with a 14-3 run to secure the win. Wacyznski finished with 20 points in only 21 minutes on the floor, and James Augustine collected 10 points, 12 rebounds and 2 blocks in a victory that boosted Unicaja’s record to 9-13. Last-placed Efes slid to 6-16 despite the effort of Errick McCollum, who scored all of his 16 points in the second half
Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul 77-69 Brose Bamberg
Fenerbahce busted out to early leads and followed an inspired Jan Vesely to a 77-69 victory over visiting Brose on Friday. Fenerbahce raised its second-place record to 15-7 while Brose dropped to 8-14. Vesely was the game-long catalyst for the winners, finishing with 26 points and 11 rebounds. It was the second-best scoring night of his career and led to his career-high index rating of 36. Marko Guduric added 10 points on no shots missed, while Brad Wanamaker scored 9 to go with 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals. Fenerbahce led by a high of 17 points, 52-35, midway through the third quarter, but Dejan Musli had 13 of his 18 points for Brose after that to get the guests within 8 points with 5 minutes left, but no closer.
Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade 100-89 AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan
Crvena Zvezda matched its club record for points in a non-overtime game in a comfortable 100-89 win over the visiting Milan on Friday. Zvezda kept its slim playoff hopes alive with, improving to a 9-13 record, which is three games behind the eighth and final playoffs place in the standings. Zvezda dominated the boards 31-21 and pulled down 14 offensive rebounds on the night. The hosts took a double-digit lead with a 12-0 second-quarter run and never let slip the rest of the way. Mathias Lessort had 15 points and 10 rebounds for Zvezda, while Stefan Jankovic also scored 15. Taylor Rochestie had 14 points and 9 assists in victory. Mindaugas Kuzminskas scored 17 points for the visitors.
Zalgiris Kaunas 74-84 Khimki Moscow Region
A mammoth second quarter allowed Khimki to claim a vital 74-84 road win over Zalgiris, moving the teams level with 13-9 records. The home team started fast and led by 14 points in the second quarter, but Alexey Shved and Tyler Honeycutt sparked a spectacular 1-20 surge to completely turn around the game. Zalgiris couldn't get its offense moving in the second half, and Khimki held on to claim head-to-head advantage between the teams as well as ending Zalgiris's seven-game home win streak. Shved and Anthony Gill led the game with 20 points apiece, while Honeycutt posted 17 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals and 2 blocked shots.
Real Madrid 79-80 Olympiacos Piraeus
Olympiacos sent a message that echoed all around the competition by edging Real Madrid 79-80 in the Spanish capital on Friday. Olympiacos improved to 15-7 and took over second place in the standings due to its 2-0 record against Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul. Olympiacos is also 2-0 now against Madrid, which dropped to 13-9. Georgios Printezis led the winners with 21 points. Kyle Wiltjer added 12 and Janis Strelnieks had 11, including the go-ahead free throw with 15 seconds left, while Nikola Milutinov pulled down 12 rebounds. Luka Doncic led Madrid with 27 points and Trey Thompkins added 20 on 5-of-6 three-point shooting. In the final minute, a floater by Strelnieks gave Olympiacos a 78-79 lead, and after he and Doncic traded free throws, Madrid could not get a shot off on the game's final possession.