Playoffs Game 4: CSKA, Madrid and Olympiacos wrap up series!
After Games 3 provided some memorable drama with each decided on a final possession, and along the way produced the first Final Four team - Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul - the 2014-15 Euroleague Playoffs concluded after Game 4 clashes. On Wednesday, CSKA secured its 12th Final Four appearance in the past 13 seasons. On Thursday, Real Madrid bounced back from a dramatic loss to clinch the series with a road win and Georgios Printezis provided another historic moment with his buzzer-beating three to lift Olympiacos Piraeus to another Final Four.
Playoff A: Anadolu Efes Istanbul 1-3 Real Madrid
After losing Game 3 on a buzzer-beater Real Madrid pulled away late and beat Anadolu Efes Istanbul 63-76 on Thursday at Abdi Ipekci Arena to win their best-of-five series 3-1 and advance to the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four for the third consecutive season. Rudy Fernandez hit a pair of threes in the final minute to close out a game that was close for three and a half quarters. Fernandez led Madrid with 17 points and Sergio Llull added 14 points and 5 assists. Llull moved into the Euroleague’s all-time top 10 in assists by overtaking Jaka Lakovic. Llull has 584 career assists. Nenad Krstic paced Efes with 16 points and Dario Saric posted 9 points, 12 rebounds and 5 assists in defeat.
Playoff C: Panathinaikos Athens 1-3 CSKA Moscow
On the strength of a defensive masterpiece, CSKA Moscow routed Panathinaikos 55-74 Wednesday at Olympic Sports Center Athens to win their best-of-five playoffs series 3-1 and take a spot at the 2015 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four. CSKA limited Panathinaikos to 12 points or less in three quarters in a game that it never trailed after the third minute. Andrei Kirilenko dominated early to give CSKA a double-digit lead in the first quarter. James Gist helped Panathinaikos get back within 3 in the second quarter, which ended at 32-37. A Nikos Pappas triple made it 41-45 in the third quarter, but a 0-13 CSKA run essentially put the game out of reach and CSKA marched towards the victory and a ticket to Madrid. Nando De Colo led all scorers with 18 points, while Kirilenko added 13 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks. Pappas paced Panathinaikos with 11 points and Dimitris Diamantidis tallied 9 points and 5 assists in defeat.
Playoff D: Olympiacos Piraeus 3-1 FC Barcelona
At the end of a dramatic fourth quarter that featured nine lead changes and six ties, Georgios Printezis played the role of hero again with a three-pointer on the buzzer to lift Olympiacos Piraeus over FC Barcelona 71-68 at Peace and Friendship Stadium to win their playoff series 3-1 and return to the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four. Printezis, who already earned legend status at his boyhood club when he scored the winning basket in the 2012 Euroleague Championship Game, finished with 14 points for the Reds. Vassilis Spanoulis led the Olympiacos attack with 17 points and 5 assists; in doing so he overtook Marcus Brown for second place on the Euroleague’s all-time scoring charts. Spanoulis has scored 2,744 points in his Euroleague career. It was the third straight win for Olympiacos, which lost Game 1 of the series in Spain. Ante Tomic led Barcelona with 13 points.
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