Game Center, Round 14: Three thrillers close out Friday’s action!
An exciting week of action came to a close in breathless style on Friday night, with the week’s last three games all decided by just three points. Vassilis Spanoulis helped Olympiacos past Efes, Baskonia survived an epic Barcelona comeback and Unicaja came from behind to defeat Milan. Earlier, CSKA Moscow won its local derby against Khimki. On Thursday, Real Madrid, Zalgiris and Panathinaikos won on the road to complete perfect weeks, and Maccabi downed the reigning champ in Tel Aviv.
Crvena Zvexda mts Belgrade 63-69 Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens
Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens held on for a tough 63-69 victory over Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade on Thursday at the famed Aleksandar Nikolic Hall in the Serbian capital. The Greens racked up their eighth win in nine games to improve to 10-4. Zvezda dropped its second straight game in falling to 5-9. Playing without star point guard Nick Calathes, Panathinaikos committed 15 turnovers, but excelled on defense and limited the Serbian champs to sub-par shooting. James Gist and Marcus Denmon scored 16 points apiece to pace the winners. Former Panathinaikos swingman James Feldeine led Zvezda with 21 points in defeat.
Brose Bamberg 66-81 Real Madrid
Real Madrid snapped its four-game road losing streak in defeating Brose Bamberg 66-81 on Thursday night. It was Madrid’s third consecutive win and improved its record to 8-6, while Brose dropped to 6-8. The visitors stormed out of the gate, using 10 consecutive points from Trey Thompkins and a pair of triples from Fabien Causeur to build 15-point margin after eight minutes, and Madrid never allowed the hosts to get into the single digits the rest of the way. Thompkins finished with 20 points and 5 rebounds to lead 〈i〉Los Blancos〈/i〉 and Fabien Causeur netted 13 against his former club.
Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv 82-73 Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul
Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv bested reigning champion Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul 82-73 at home on Thursday. Maccabi improved to 8-6 in the regular season, while Fenerbahce dropped to 9-5. Pierre Jackson led the winners with 20 points and Norris Cole added 19 for Maccabi. Jan Vesely paced Fenerbahce with 18 points. Fenerbahce rallied from a double-digit deficit to tie the game at 40-40 early in the second half, but Cole and Jackson stepped up for Maccabi to establish a 60-54 lead at the end of the third quarter. The hosts boosted the margin to 72-58 and never looked back.〈
Valencia Basket 63-71 Zalgiris Kaunas
Zalgiris Kaunas rode a dominant second half to a 63-71 victory over Valencia Basket, bolstering its position in the top half of the standings and condemning the Spanish team to a 10th consecutive defeat. Valencia led by 2 points at halftime, but it was all Zalgiris after the break, with Coach Sarunas Jasikevicius’s men moving into a double-digit lead to set up their fifth road win of the season. Vasilije Micic paced the victors with 16 points, while Paulius Jankunas combined 11 points with 11 rebounds. Valencia’s challenge was led by a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds from Bojan Dubljevic.
CSKA Moscow79-68 Khimki Moscow Region
CSKA Moscow took the Leningradka Derby in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague by downing Khimki Moscow Region 79-68 at home on Friday. CSKA improved to 11-3 to keep co-leadership of the standings while Khimki dropped to 8-6. Cory Higgins led the winners with a career-high 26 points on 14-of-16 free throws. Nikita Kurbanov added 18 for CSKA. Alexey Shved led Khimki with 16 points. CSKA led 35-18 midway through the second quarter but Khimki rallied within 57-55 at the end of the third quarter. Kurbanov and Higgins fueled a 14-0 run as CSKA got a 74-57 margin and did not find much trouble to seal the outcome after that.
Anadolu Efes Istanbul 58-61 Olympiacos Piraeus
Olympiacos Piraeus edged to a hard-fought 58-61 victory in a gruelling defensive battle with Anadolu Efes Istanbul at Abdi Ipekci Arena, keeping top spot in the standings. It was closely contested throughout and although the Reds led most of the way Efes battled back to lead in the final quarter, but Vassilis Spanoulis struck a game-winning triple with 61 seconds remaining. Olympiacos was led by Spanoulis’s 12 points and 4 assists, while Hollis Thompson added 11 points and 5 boards. Krunoslav Simon led the game in scoring with 17 points, followed by 16 points from Errick McCollum.
Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz 85-82 FC Barcelona Lassa
In an outstanding showdown, Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz grabbed its seventh win by edging FC Barcelona Lassa 85-82. Baskonia improved to 7-7 while Barcelona dropped to 4-10. Toko Shengelia led the winners with 24 points. Vincent Poirier added 14, Janis Timma had 10 while Marcelinho Huertas dished 10 assists. Pau Ribas led Barcelona with 15 points on 5-of-6 three-point shots. Baskonia played perfect for almost three quarters, leading 52-35 at halftime and extending its margin to 70-45 in the third quarter. But Ribas led a 4-29 run to tie, and a three-pointer by Navarro completed Barcelona's epic comeback, 81-82, with 46.6 seconds left. Then Shengelia and Huertas made free throws and Navarro missed from way downtown on the final buzzer.
Unicaja Malaga 74-71 AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan
Unicaja Malaga rallied late to register its third consecutive win, edging AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan 74-71 on Friday night. The win improved Unicaja to a 6-8 record on the season, while Milan dropped to 4-10. Neither team had a lead bigger than 8 points throughout the 40 minutes, and it was the visitors who held a 60-66 lead in the fourth quarter. However, Unicaja stepped it up defensively, and answered with a 9-0 run to take the lead for good. Jeff Brooks led the way with 15 points and 11 rebounds in victory.