Top 16, Round 6: All tied at the top
Top 16 Round 6 featured great drama as half of the eight games weren’t decided until the final shot! This season’s last remaining undefeated team, CSKA Moscow, fell at the hands of Olympiacos Piraeus to leave the two teams tied atop Group F. Wins for Group E’s co-leaders, Real Madrid and Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv, left them tied too. There were many brilliant individual efforts, plus some outstanding team defense!
Round 6 started with the bang, as Jeremy Pargo hit a buzzer-beating triple in overtime, to lift Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv 94-97 over Galatasaray Liv Hospital Istanbul. The win improved the reigning Euroleague champs to 5-1 and a share of the first place. Behind Devin Smith, Maccabi turned a 10-point third quarter deficit into 73-83 fourth quarter lead, but Zoran Erceg led Galatasaray back, and split free throws with 4 second left in regulation to send the game into overtime, 85-85. In overtime neither team pulled away, and Pargo buried a triple at the buzzer to lift Maccabi to victory. Smith finished with 24 points, and Pargo netted 17 in victory, while Erceg scored 29 for Galatasaray which was without its starting point guard Carlos Arroyo. In the Game of the Week at BarclayCard Center, this spring's Final Four venue in the Spanish capital, Real Madrid crushed archrival FC Barcelona 97-73 to keep up with Maccabi atop the group standings. It was the second-biggest win in 21 games between these teams in the Euroleague dating to 1994, surpassed only by Madrid's record 100-62 win at last season's Final Four. Madrid led for all but one possession, holding a double-digit margin in the third quarter before pulling away to 74-54 lead early in the fourth. Sergio Rodriguez was Madrid's top scorer with 23 points, to which he added 6 assists and 3 steals. Rudy Fernandez had 22 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals. Felipe Reyes added 14 points in victory, while Mario Hezonja scored 20 of his 22 points in the second half for Barcelona. In their first meeting this century, Zalgiris Kaunas held off Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade 68-70 in the Serbian capital. in the Serbian capital. Zalgiris never trailed and improved to 2-4 when Marcus Williams missed a potential game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer. James Anderson kept scoring in bunches and finished with 22 points for Zalgiris, while Boban Marjanovic dominated inside, collecting 17 points and 10 rebounds for Zvezda, which shot 0-for 19 from three-point range. A defensive battle that led to wide swings ended with Panathinaikos Athens holding onto a 59-65 comeback win over ALBA Berlin in the German capital on Friday. ALBA led 41-31 midway through the third quarter, but scored only free throws for the next 10 minutes as Panathinaikos used a 4-20 run to eventually take its own double-digit lead, 50-61 on back-to-back corner three-pointers by Antonis Fotsis. ALBA rallied behind 6 points from Alex Renfroe to within 59-62 heading into the final minute, but couldn't complete its own comeback try. Loukas Mavrokefalidis led the winners with 11 points, while Dimitris Diamantidis and Vlantimir Giankovits had 10 each.
In the lone Thursday game in Group F, a showdown between the competition's best defense and offense, Olympiacos Piraeus handed CSKA Moscow an 84-76 defeat, which was the Russian champs’ first loss this season. The two teams are now tied for first place with 5-1 records as CSKA's 15-game winning streak in the competition came to an end. Vassilis Spanoulis led the winners with 19 points. CSKA big man Kyle Hines, who helped Olympiacos win back-to-back Euroleague titles, was honored in a brief pre-game ceremony. Nemanja Bjelica produced another double-double as Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul edged Laboral Kutxa Vitora 91-90 at Ulker Sports Arena in Istanbul. Bjelica scored the go-ahead free throws with 13 seconds left and corralled the final rebound to secure the victory, which lifted his team to its third straight victory. Bjelica finished with 14 points, 15 rebounds and 2 blocks for the Turkish champs. Laboral had 2 shots to win it late, but Mike James and Davis Bertans both missed. Andrew Goudelock led the winners with 19 points. Unicaja Malaga downed Nizhny Novgorod 85-76 at home for its first Top 16 win. Jayson Granger paced the winners with a career-high 29 points and 5 assists, while Caleb Green added 16 and 8 rebounds. Trey Thompkins led Nizhny with 27 points and 13 points. With the game tied 66-66 in the fourth quarter, Unicaja improved its defense and held Nizhny scoreless for more than six minutes, while Fran Vazquez and Granger combined for all the points in an 8-0 run that sealed the outcome. In a see-saw battle that went down to the wire, Anadolu Efes Istanbul edged EA7 Emporio Armani Milan 71-73. The teams traded leads throughout 40 minutes, with neither team holding a lead bigger than 13-19 – Efes’s advantage early on. In the final two minutes of the hard-fought contest, Milko Bjelica put Efes up for good before Thomas Heurtel and Stratos Perperoglou helped the visitors secure the victory. Perperoglou netted 18 points, and Bjelica had 15 for Efes. Daniel Hackett and MarShon Brooks each scored 18 points for Milan, which was without Alessandro Gentile.
Follow all the action as it happens live on the Euroleague's official twitter account, @Euroleague, on LiveBasketball.tv, on many other television networks around the world and, of course, right here on Euroleague.net!