Top 16 Round 12: Only three playoff tickets remain!
Three playoff spots remain up for grabs after Olympiacos Piraeus claimed its spot on Thursday. The three-day round of games saw three teams collect valuable road wins and two teams rally to win after trailing by 15. The final game of the round featured a rematch of the 2014 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Championship Game!
In a rematch of last season's Turkish Airlines Euroleague Championship Game, Real Madrid defeated reigning champion Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv 86-75 in the Spanish capital on Friday and secured home-court advantage in the upcoming playoffs. The result also clinched home-court advantage for FC Barcelona too. Madrid improved to 10-2 and can lock up first place if it beats archrival Barcelona at Palau Blaugrana next week. Maccabi dropped to 7-5 and must keep fighting to secure a playoffs spot. Jaycee Carroll led the winners with 18 points, while Felipe Reyes added 16 points and 9 rebounds, while Sergio Llull tallied 11 points and 9 assists for Los Blancos. Brian Randle led Maccabi with 17 points. Madrid dominated early and led 27-14 after 10 minutes. Jeremy Pargo and Devin Smith stepped up for Maccabi to bring the guests back to life at 31-29. It was 46-40 at halftime; Carroll took over after the break with 9 quick points and got help from Fernandez and Andres Nocioni as Madrid pulled away for good. In a rare Wednesday game, FC Barcelona eliminated host Zalgiris Kaunas with a resourceful 72-83 road win. The victory was Barcelona's sixth in a row in Group E. The difference in the result could be attributed to Barcelona's depth, as its bench outscored that of Zalgiris 37-23. Alex Abrines, part of that effort, led the visitors with 16 points, hitting back-to-back fourth-quarter triples to put the game out of reach at 60-75. Tibor Pleiss added 14 points and 7 rebounds off the bench. Zalgiris tried to ride scorer James Anderson on his birthday to the upset, but despite his 24 points in the first three quarters, could not get more from him. Panathinaikos Athens held off Galatasaray Liv Hospital Istanbul 84-86 in a dramatic fashion on Friday. Panathinaikos improved to 7-5 and climbed into third place, while Galatasaray dropped its ninth consecutive decision and fell to 2-10. The Greens hit 6 three-pointers in the first seven minutes of the fourth and built a 70-81 margin, but Galatasaray was not done. An 8-0 run got the hosts within 83-84 with 15 seconds to go, but Panathinaikos made enough free throws the rest of the way to prevail. Esteban Batista collected 14 points, 6 rebounds and 4 steals in victory. Patric Young led Galatasaray with 24 points and 9 rebounds. In an exciting showdown that went down to the wire, ALBA Berlin bested Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade 73-68 in the German capital to improve to 6-6 and remain strong in the fight for a playoffs spot. Zvezda was mathematically eliminated from the playoff hunt. Marko Banic paced the winners with 18 points on 8-of-10 two-point shooting. Alex Renfroe added 13 points and 6 assists, while Reggie Redding dished a career-high 11 assists for ALBA. Boban Marjanovic led Zvezda with career-high numbers - 27 points and a performance index ranking of 40. He added 10 rebounds for his 14th double-double this season. Charles Jenkins added 19 points for the guests. ALBA led 39-22 at halftime, but Marjanovic took over after the break to spark Zvezda, which tied the game at 61-61 with six minutes left. However Leon Radosevic and Renfroe rescued ALBA and a jumper by Redding sealed the outcome, 71-64, with less than two minutes remaining.
In an epic battle that neither team led by more than 6 points through the first 35 minutes, Olympiacos Piraeus owned the finish to take an 86-75 victory over visiting Anadolu Efes Istanbul and punch its ticket to the playoffs on Thursday. Despite playing without three injured regulars - Vassilis Spanoulis, Kostas Sloukas and Brent Petway - Olympiacos raised its record to 9-3 and assured its place in the next round. Efes dropped to 5-7 but stayed tied for the fourth and final playoff spot. The game was marked by Dusan Ivkovic coaching from the Peace and Friendship Stadium visiting bench in a Euroleague game for the first time since he and Olympiacos won their second title together in 2012. His Efes team put up a battle that featured 10 lead changes and 10 ties during the first three-and-a-half quarters as Stratos Perperoglou matched his career high with 5 three-pointers against his former team. But Olympiacos found a spark in Ioannis Papapetrou, who had played just 12 minutes in two games this season before Thursday. His 10 points in five minutes to start the final quarter rallied the Reds offense to score 33 points in that quarter on the way to victory. Oliver Lafayette led the winners with 17 points, while Georgios Printezis scored 14 and pulled 12 rebounds. Perperoglou led Efes with 23 points. Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul beat Unicaja Malaga 78-63 on its home floor for its ninth consecutive Top 16 victory. The Turkish champs improved to 10-2. Andrew Goudelock scored 22 points and Nemanja Bjelica totaled 15 points, 11 rebounds and 2 blocks to lead the charge. Unicaja started strong and scored the game’s first 7 points. It was 19-21 after 10 minutes and after Fener took control in the second quarter, Unicaja closed to within 3 in the closing seconds. But Bogdan Bogdanovic’s three-quarter’s court buzzer-beater made it 39-33 at the half. Then Bjelica, Bogdanovic and Goudelock combined to score 20 of Fenerbahce’s 24 third-quarter points to break the game open. The lead hit 18 and Unicaja never threatened again. Down 15 points at one point, EA7 Emporio Armani Milan rallied for a 99-85 victory over Laboral Kutxa Vitoria. Both teams remain are among four fighting for one remaining playoff berth from Group F. Despite the loss, Laboral managed to hold on to a superior point-differential in head-to-head games, having won their first contest by 19 points. Mike James led Laboral early on and the visitors opened a 26-41 second quarter lead, but the hosts used an 11-0 run to close to within 39-43 at halftime and then dominated in the third quarter. Gentile scored 13 points during that period as Milan put together a 25-6 charge, pulling away to a double-digit margin and never looking back. Gentile netted career-high 29 points on 4-for-5 three-point shooting plus 7 rebounds. Samardo Samuels finished with 17 points and 7 rebounds in victory. Milan nailed 14 triples on 30 attempts. Darius Adams scored 18 for Laboral. After trailing by as many as 15 in the second quarter, CSKA Moscow scored an 82-86 road win at fellow Russian club Nizhny Novgorod on Friday. CSKA improved to 10-2 to remain strong in the fight for home-court advantage in the playoffs, while dropping Nizhny to 3-9 and delivering a critical blow to its playoff chances. Nizhny played a masterful offensive first half and led 55-42 at the break. CSKA regrouped, held the home team to just 7 third-quarter points while putting a 3-17 charge together at one point. The lead reached 10 midway through the fourth quarter and though Nizhny rallied late, it never got within a shot of trying the score. Sonny Weems paced the winners with 21 points and Sasha Kaun scored 16. Taylor Rochestie led Nizhny with 21 points and 6 assists.
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