Game Center, Round 8: Near triple doubles, road wins
The second of five double-round weeks in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague began Thursday with three teams winning on the road and two players flirting with triple doubles. Two games were decided in the final minute, including one that came down to the final shot, so Friday has a lot to live up to, but with the last two EuroLeague champs meeting in the Russian capital and two Spanish sides set to duel in Spain, excellence is expected.
Khimki Moscow Region 69-77 Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv
Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv won on the road for the first time since opening night by hanging on to beat Khimki Moscow Region 69-77 at Mytishchi Arena on Thursday. The result leaves both teams with 5-3 records. It was Khimki’s first loss at home this season. DeAndre Kane led a 0-11 third-quarter run that gave Maccabi the lead for good. Khimki battled back behind Thomas Robinson to get within 1 in the final minutes, but struggled to score down the stretch and Maccabi raced away with the victory. Pierre Jackson led the winners with 19 points, 6 assists and 4 steals. Robinson posted 17 points and 13 rebounds in defeat.
Anadolu Efes Istanbul 81-82 Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens
Nick Calathes was 1 rebound shy of a triple-double in leading Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens to an 81-82 victory over Anadolu Efes Istanbul in a thriller decided at the buzzer at Sinan Erdem Dome. Calathes scored 13 of his career-high 29 points in the fourth quarter and also collected 10 assists and 9 rebounds for the Greens, who had to make a defensive stand at the end of fourth quarter for the win. James Gist came through by blocking Errick McCollum’s jump-shot in the last second of an exciting game. Panathinaikos improved to 5-3 with its third consecutive win, while Efes had its two-game winning streak snapped and dropped to 2-6 to remain winless on its home floor this season. Brock Motum scored 21 points for home side in defeat.
Zalgiris Kaunas 77-97 Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz
Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz grabbed its first road win of the EuroLeague season by downing Zalgiris Kaunas 77-97 on Thursday. Baskonia improved to 3-5 in the standings, while Zalgiris dropped to 4-4. Rodrigue Beaubois and Toko Shengelia led the winners with 19 points apiece. Baskonia drained 17 three-point shots for a new club record. Paulius Jankunas led Zalgiris with 20. Baskonia led 36-62 early in the second half, but Zalgiris managed to get within 64-71 on a three-pointer by Aaron White. Beaubois took over in crunch time to keep Baskonia out of trouble until the final buzzer.
Real Madrid 89-57 Unicaja Malaga
Real Madrid bounced back from three straight losses to blow away fellow Spanish side Unicaja Malaga with an emphatic 89-57 victory on Thursday night. Two days after suffering a club record loss at Baskonia, this felt very much like a statement victory for Los Blancos, which was paced by 13 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 blocked shots from the irrepressible Luka Doncic. Madrid established a double-digit lead early in the second quarter and never stopped accelerating, while dejected Unicaja had no answers. Jaycee Carroll led the scoring with 17 points on 5-of-7 three-point shooting, and Rudy Fernandez added 14 points.
CSKA Moscow vs. Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul
Friday night's action tips off with a cracker as league-leading CSKA (6-1) hosts reigning champ Fenerbahce (4-3) in a battle of the EuroLeague's last two champions. It's a meeting between the league's best offense and best defense, as well, with CSKA averaging 87.7 points while Fenerbahce gives up just 72.4. Visiting coach Zeljko Obradovic will be focused on stopping Nando De Colo and Sergio Rodriguez as he goes up against his long-time assistant Dimitris Itoudis. There will be a big battle in the paint as Kyle Hines and Othello Hunter take on Jan Vesely and Nicolo Melli, while CSKA can't overlook the scoring threat of James Nunnally, who leads the league in three-point conversion rate (56.5%).
Olympiacos Piraeus vs. Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade
After getting back to winning ways in impressive fashion with Wednesday's triumph at Fenerbahce, second-placed Olympiacos (5-2) will welcome a Zvezda (2-5) team eager to snap a three-game losing streak. The Serbian side has been struggling offensively, averaging just 64.3 points per game during its recent slide, and will be hard-pressed to punish an Olympiacos defense which ranks second in the league after allowing just 72.6 points per game. A key area could be rebounding, where Olympiacos will hope Nikola Milutinov can dominate the boards, while the athleticism of Mathias Lessort could help Zvezda disrupt the home team's usual control of the paint.
AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan vs. Brose Bamberg
Fresh from dramatic victories on Tuesday, Milan (2-5) and Bamberg (4-3) will look to summon more energy as they meet in Italy. The home team's double-overtime victory in Valencia owed much to the new backcourt duo of Curtis Jerrells and Jordan Theodore, who will have to step up again with Andrew Goudelock sidelined by injury. Bamberg's recovery from a 26-point deficit to beat Barcelona with seven players scoring at least seven points, and the German side will be confident after winning its last two road games. Ultimately, this game could be decided by whichever team is best able to overcome mental and physical fatigue following Wednesday's heroics.
FC Barcelona Lassa vs. Valencia Basket
The victims of those sensational wins for Milan and Bamberg will attempt to take out their frustrations on each other as Barcelona (2-5) and Valencia (3-4) meet in a Spanish derby. Barcelona's performance in Bamberg offered a microcosm of their season so far, with an outstanding first quarter followed by a complete collapse. And after showing their capabilities by hammering Panathinaikos and Olympiacos at home, the hosts will hope their good version shows up against a Valencia team that will look for offensive inspiration from the league's joint-third highest scorer, Erick Green (16.3 points per game).
Catch all the Round 8 action live on EuroLeague.net and EuroLeague.TV!