Round 12: Top three strong amid tightening table
The top three teams got stronger with home victories, two of them registering blowout wins over archrivals, while the middle of the standings got decidedly tighter in Round 12. Fenerbahce Istanbul extended its winning streak to eight games on Thursday while CSKA Moscow and Real Madrid stayed on its heels by blasting rivals Khimki Moscow Region and FC Barcelona Lassa, respectively. Thursday's lone road winner was KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz while Friday was all about home teams: FC Bayern Munich got a back-to-back win at last, Herbalife Gran Canaria won its third in a row, and Panathinaikos OPAP Athens snapped its three-game losing streak.
Olympiacos Piraeus 88-81 Anadolu Efes Istanbul
Olympiacos Piraeus grabbed its third consecutive home win by edging Anadolu Efes Istanbul 88-81 on Thursday in a fourth-quarter comeback. Olympiacos improved to 7-5 in the standings to retain fifth place, while Efes dropped to 8-4 and fourth. Axel Toupane led the winners with 19 points off the bench. Nikola Milutinov added 15 while Georgios Printezis, Zach LeDay and Janis Strelnieks each had 10 for Olympiacos. Printezis added 11 rebounds for a double-double. Vasilije Micic paced Efes with 24 points and Shane Larkin added 20 for the visitors.
CSKA Moscow 88-74 Khimki Moscow Region
CSKA Moscow rolled to an 88-74 victory over rival Khimki Moscow Region in the Leningradka Derby on Thursday at Megasport Arena. CSKA bounced back to remain undefeated at home as Daniel Hackett led the way with a season-high 14 points. Sergio Rodriguez contributed 12 points and 5 assists in a victory that improved CSKA to 10-2 on the season. Stefan Markovic had 18 points to pace Khimki, which slipped to 4-8.
Fenerbahce Istanbul 92-85 AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan
Fenerbahce Istanbul returned home and survived a fight against AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan to win 92-85 and extend two winning streaks. Marko Guduric paced Fenerbahce with 20 points and Jan Vesely added 17 points as the Turkish champs won their eighth straight game for an 11-1 record atop the EuroLeague standings. It was also Fenerbahce's ninth straight win against Milan dating back to the 2013-14 season. Milan lost its fourth straight game to fall to 6-6 despite a career-high 31 points from Mike James, including 6 three-pointers and 6 assists.
Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv 79-81 KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz
Vincent Poirier came up with a huge dunk over defenders with 11 seconds to go as KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz completed a comeback and pulled out a thrilling 79-81 road win against Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv. Baskonia, which trailed by 10 points on multiple occasions in the third quarter, improved to 5-7, while Maccabi, which had a 10-point lead twice in the third quarter, dropped to 4-8. Tornike Shengelia paced Baskonia with 20 points and 5 assists and Matt Janning netted 16 points in the victory. DeAndre Kane had 13 points and 6 rebounds and Scottie Wilbekin had 13 points and 5 assists in defeat.
Real Madrid 92-65 FC Barcelona Lassa
In the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague version of El Clasico, Real Madrid thrashed archrival FC Barcelona Lassa 92-65 in the Spanish capital on Thursday. Madrid improved to 10-2, while Barcelona dropped to 6-6 and is on a three-game losing streak. Trey Thompkins led the winners with 17 points, Anthony Randolph added 16, and Jaycee Carroll 15 points for Madrid which used a 10-0 second-quarter run to break the game open, before going into halftime with a 52-30 advantage. Thomas Heurtel scored 16 points in the losing effort.
Panathinaikos OPAP Athens 75-67 Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul
Panathinaikos OPAP Athens shook off a late challenge from visiting Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul to win 75-67 and break a three-game losing streak on Friday. Panathinaikos moved to 6-6, in a three-way tie for sixth place. Darussafaka fell to 1-11 with its 10th consecutive defeat. Darussafaka rallied to tie the game 65-65 in the final quarter, but a huge put-back by Konstantinos Mitoglou sparked a 10-2 closing run for the Greens. Mitoglou had a career-high 20 points in 21 minutes to pace the winners. James gist added 15 and Keith Langford 12, while Nick Calathes had a double-double of 10 points and 12 assists. Darussafaka got 15 points from Toney Douglas, 11 from Ray McCallum and 10 each from Michael Eric and Markel Brown, but having come back from double-digit deficits, could not finally overcome 18 turnovers.
FC Bayern Munich 88-84 Zalgiris Kaunas
FC Bayern Munich won back-to-back games for the first time this season with an 88-84 effort at home over Zalgiris Kaunas on Friday. Derrick Williams tallied a career-high 27 points, including 3 three-pointers, to go with 7 rebounds for the winners. Stefan Jovic, Nihad Dedovic and Vladimir Lucic all added 11 points for Bayern, which improved to 6-6 and now shares in a four-way tie for sixth place. Zalgiris saw its two-game winning streak snapped in falling to 5-7. Brandon Davies collected 21 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks. Leo Westermann hit 5 of 7 three-pointers in scoring 19 points with 6 assists, while Aaron White added 12 points in the loss.
Herbalife Gran Canaria 95-85 Buducnost VOLI Podgorica
Herbalife Gran Canaria used a huge first half and its best offensive performance in the EuroLeague to top visiting Buducnost VOLI Podgorica 95-85 on Friday. It was third consecutive win for Gran Canaria, whose record improved to 5-7 for a share of the 10th place in the standings. Buducnost dropped to 3-9. The hosts went on a 27-5 tear late in the second quarter that turned a three-point game into 56-31 lead. Nikola Radicevic orchestrated Gran Canaria's offense with 12 points and 11 assists. Marcus Eriksson led all Gran Canaria's scorers with 15 points on 5-for-8 three-point shooting, while Ondrej Balvin collected 13 points and 7 rebounds in victory. Edwin Jackson finished with 15 points for Buducnost, Alen Omic scored 12, and Nemanja Gordic added 10 points and 6 assists.