Game Center: Tough wins for teams at the top
Three teams at the top scored tough wins on Thursday and another team showed its recent surge is real during the first four games of Round 19. League-leading Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul pulled away in the fourth quarter to get by Herbalife Gran Canaria on the road and CSKA Moscow needed a big fourth quarter to survive a fierce challenge from FC Bayern Munich, while Olympiacos Piraeus turned away a late rally by Khimki Moscow Region to win its seventh straight home game. In Tel Aviv, Maccabi blasted FC Barcelona Lassa to show it is ready to challenge for a playoff spot. Friday brings four more games in four different countries, including an Istanbul derby.
CSKA Moscow 77-70 FC Bayern Munich
CSKA trailed for more than three quarters, but pulled away late to muscle out a 77-70 win over visiting Bayern in the Round 19 opener on Thursday night. With the win, CSKA improved to 14-5 to remain in third place in the standings, while Bayern dropped to 9-10. CSKA was down by 13 points in the first quarter and did not take its first lead until there was 6:42 left in the fourth quarter, but used inspiration from Joel Bolomboy and Sergio Rodriguez down the stretch to pull out the victory. Will Clyburn was CSKA's top performer with 20 points and 8 rebounds. Bayern had five players in double figures, with Petteri Koponen and Nihad Dedovic scoring 12 apiece.
Olympiacos Piraeus 71-57 Khimki Moscow Region
Olympiacos claimed its seventh consecutive home victory by breezing past Khimki and former coach Georgios Bartzokas 71-57 on Thursday night. The Reds led from start to finish and were up by 20 late in the third quarter, never looking in trouble despite a brief rally from Khimki early in the final stanza. Sasha Vezenkov and Kostas Papanikolaou led the scoring for the winning team with 14 points each. Jordan Mickey excelled for Khimki, pairing 21 points with 7 rebounds. Olympiacos improved to 12-7, while Khimki dropped to 7-12.
Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv 99-83 FC Barcelona Lassa
Maccabi led for all but one possession and was up by as many as 38 points in beating visiting Barcelona 99-83 for its third straight win on Thursday night. The win improved Maccabi's record to 8-11, while Barcelona dropped to 11-8. Maccabi hit 8 triples and scored 34 points in the second quarter when it pulled away to a 22-point halftime lead. Barcelona made a huge 0-20 run to start the fourth quarter, but still never got closer than 13 points. Tarik Black finished as Maccabi's top scorer with 16 points. Pau Ribas led Barcelona with 13 points.
Herbalife Gran Canaria 64-82 Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul
Fenerbahce had little trouble in cruising to a 64-82 victory at Herbalife Gran Canaria on Thursday night to remain atop the EuroLeague standings. Nikola Kalinic led the way for Fenerbahce with 16 points, while Jan Vesely had 13 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals and 3 blocks. Fenerbahce improved to 16-2 with a second straight win after a loss that snapped a 12-game winning streak. Gran Canara lost its fourth straight game and sixth out of its last seven to fall to 6-13 despite a career-high 21 points from Kim Tillie. Gran Canaria kept it close and entered the fourth quarter trailing by 5 before the visitors used runs of 2-10 and 0-9 to put the game away.