Game Center, Round 17: CSKA alone at the top again
CSKA Moscow returned to first place alone with highest scoring performance of the first 17 rounds while Real Madrid completed its resurgence with a seventh win in a row, the longest streak of any team this season. The second through eighth playoff positions are covered by a series of ties as the standings get tighter ahead of the season's fourth double-round week, starting Tuesday.
Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens 84-75 FC Barcelona Lassa
Panathinaikos stayed perfect at home by shutting down Barcelona 84-75 on Thursday, raising its record to 12-5 while the visitors fell to 6-11. The Greens limited Barcelona to 6 points during almost 12 minutes bridging the second and third quarters in what was a decisive defensive stretch. Nick Calathes led Panathinaikos once again with 17 points, 12 assists and 5 steals on a night when the home team suffered 4-for-21 three-point shooting. James Gist matched his 17 points, while Thomas Heurtel led Barcelona with 18.
Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv 90-88 Brose Bamberg
Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv outlasted Brose Bamberg 90-88 in a thriller that came down to the closing seconds on Thursday night at Menora Mivtachim Arena. Michael Roll led six Maccabi scorers in double figures with a career-high 23 points in lifting his team’s record to 9-8. The loss was the fifth in a row for the German champs, who fell to 6-11. John DiBartolomeo scored 14 off the bench for the winners and Pierre Jackson tallied 11 points and 8 assists; he had 7 points and 2 assists in the last five minutes as Maccabi rallied from an 8-point deficit. Maccabi blocked 7 shots as a team, which impacted Brose’s shooters; the visitors made only 15 of 29 two-pointers (38.5%). Ricky Hickman, who won the 2014 EuroLeague with Maccabi, led Brose with 23 points.
AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan 81-107 CSKA Moscow
CSKA Moscow recorded its first win of 2018 by downing AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan 81-107 on the road in the fashion capital. CSKA remained atop the standings with a 13-4 record, while Milan dropped to 4-13. Nando De Colo led the winners with 24 points and Will Clyburn and Sergio Rodriguez each scored 15. Kaleb Tarczewski paced Milan with 17 points. CSKA dominated the entire game, leading 15-23 after 10 minutes, extending it to 36-50 at halftime and then again to 63-89 early in the fourth quarter to cruise to an easier than expected road win.
Valencia Basket 67-80 Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul
Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul lived dangerously, but finished strong to pull out an important 67-80 road win at Valencia Basket on Thursday night. Fenerbahce, playing without Jan Vesely, Nikola Kalinic and James Nunnally, improved to 11-6 to retain at least a share of fourth place in the standings. The reigning champs opened the game with a 0-15 lead, but Valencia slowly erased the deficit and went up 47-39 in the third quarter. However, Fenerbahce found its offense with Kostas Sloukas running the show, and ran away for a victory. Sloukas finished with 11 points and 10 assists, while Marko Guduric led Fenerbahce in scoring with 15 points.
Khimki Moscow Region 78-95 Real Madrid
Madrid dominated from the opening tip to avenge an earlier home loss by rocking Khimki by 78-95 on Friday. Madrid's sixth win in a row, the longest streak in the EuroLeague this season, lifted its record to 11-6 record to share fourth place, while Khimki dropped to 9-8 to share seventh. A 0-16 second-quarter run by the visitors took their double-digit lead as high as 23 before halftime, after which Khimki was unable to challenge. Rudy Fernandez hit 5 three-pointers in a seven-minute span of the second half to finish with 16 points. Fabien Causeur and Walter Tavares followed with 11 each. Madrid shot 14 of 25 from the arc as a team. EuroLeague top scorer Alexey Shved had 23 points for Khimki, while Tyler Honeycutt added 17 and Malcolm Thomas 10, but Khimki suffered from being outrebounded by 27-40.
Anadolu Efes Istanbul 104-95 Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade
Efes overcame Crvena Zvezda 104-95 in a highly entertaining battle at Sinan Erdem Dome on Friday. Efes repeatedly pulled away to double-digit leads but Zvezda always fought back until the final stages, when the home team’s last big offensive surge proved enough to seal its second win in three games. Efes improves to 5-12, two games behind Zvezda at 7-10. Six home team players scored in double figures, led by Zoran Dragic (24 points) and Errick McCollom (20). Milko Bjelica led Zvezda with 15 points and 6 rebounds.
Zalgiris Kaunas 79-77 Unicaja Malaga
In a game that went down to the wire, Edgaras Ulanovas came up with a last-second block of Ray McCallum and Zalgiris Kaunas prevailed 79-77 over the visiting Unicaja Malaga on Friday. Zalgiris improved to 11-6 for a share of the fourth place, while Unicaja dropped to 7-10 in the standings. Unicaja led for most of the first half, but Zalgiris made a charge in the second to take control. The hosts were not able put the game away, but they held on in a dramatic ending. Kevin Pangos paced Zalgiris with 16 points, and Paulius Jankunas collected 14 points, 9 rebounds and 3 steals. James Augustine had 12 points plus 9 rebounds and Nemanja Nedovic had 11 points and 9 assists for Unicaja.
Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz 86-54 Olympiacos Piraeus
Baskonia got back on the winning track by thrashing Olympiacos 86-54 in front of more than 10,000 home fans on Friday. Baskonia improved to 8-9, one spot behind the playoff positions, and Olympiacos dropped to second place at 12-5. Johannes Voigtmann led the winners with 19 points. Vincent Poirier and Rodrigue Beaubois each had 13 for Baskonia. Georgios Printezis led Olympiacos with 13 points. A 36-point third quarter – one shy of its club record – allowed Baskonia to break the game open, 72-44, after 30 minutes. The 32-point difference matched Olympiacos's second-worst defeat in EuroLeague history.