2011-12 Top 16, Round 6: Siena, Olympiacos, Gescrap, Unics complete playoff picture!
The Turkish Airlines Euroleague Playoffs picture was finalized after the last of the Top 16, Week 6 games ended, setting up a mouth-watering lineup for the best-of-five series, which included two teams reaching the round of eight in their debut seasons’ in the elite continental competition, a series rematching teams from last season’s playoffs and the cherry on top: a repeat of the 2011 Euroleague Final! The complete playoffs lineup is CSKA Moscow vs Gescrap BB; Montepaschi Siena vs Olympiacos; Panathinaikos vs Maccabi Electra; FC Barcelona Regal vs Unics Kazan! All eyes Wednesday where on the Group G clash in Kazan, Russia, where Panathinaikos bested Unics 63-68 to win that group. The Greens used a balanced attack led by Mike Batiste’s 12 points to outlast the feisty hosts, who tied the game at 61-61 in the next-to-last minute before a three-pointer by Kostas Kaimakoglou and free throws by Sarunas Jasikevicius sealed the outcome down the stretch. EA7 Emporio Armani defeated Fenerbahce Ulker 85-72 to deny the Turkish champs’ a playoff berth. Malik Hairston scored a career-high 27 points as Armani finished the season with three straight wins and a 3-3 record for third place in Group G. Although the Group H games were for protocol only, both provided great drama. FC Barcelona Regal edged Maccabi Electra 70-67 after Guy Pnini missed a three-pointer at the buzzer that would have forced overtime. Maccabi rallied back from down 14 in the fourth quarter to within 1, but was unable to close. Pete Mickeal paced the winners with a season-high 20 points. Bennet Cantu topped Zalgiris 71-77 behind Manu Markoishvili’s career-high 32 points. Zalgiris led 62-59 midway through the fourth quarter before Markoishvili was joined by Giorgi Shermadini on a 0-8 run that put Cantu ahead for good. Cantu finished its first season back at Europe’s elite level just a tiebreaker away from reaching the playoffs. Gescrap BB downed Unicaja 55-59 thanks to more late heroics from Raul Lopez to take earn second place in Group F. Lopez made a three-pointer to put Gescrap ahead 51-53 and added the foul shots to keep it there en route to a monumental win. Real Madrid overran Montepaschi Siena 90-102, but the margin was not enough to send Los Blancos through. The result left Siena, Madrid and Bilbao all with 4-2 records, but Madrid was left in third place on a tiebreaker. It would have needed to win by at least 23 to advance. Felipe Reyes paced Madrid with 17 points and 14 rebounds. In Group E’s do-or-die duel, Vassilis Spanoulis dominated with 20 points, 8 assists and 4 steals as Olympiacos KO’d GS Medical Park 88-81. The Reds led from start to finish in the Game of the Week that matched its billing to secure second place. CSKA Moscow beat Anadolu Efes 65-82 in Thursday’s early game to finish the Top 16 in style with a 5-1 record. Andrei Kirilenko paced the winners with 15 points. Now starts the countdown to the playoffs in less than three weeks! Don’t miss it.