Game Center, Round 18: Busy week ahead!
The first two-round week of 2018 started with Round 18 and some remarkable individual efforts as well as a huge home win in Piraeus and a losing streak snapped in Bamberg. On Wednesday, there will be a playoff rematch in Istanbul, where Fenerbahce Dogus hosts Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens; Fenerbahce has won six straight home games against the Greens. And Spanish powerhouses Real Madrid and Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz will meet in the capital of Spain.
Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade 70-79 Khimki Moscow Region
A night full of scoring swings ended with Khimki downing host Crvena Zvezda 70-79 on Tuesday in a game that went back and forth until superstar Alexey Shved shut the door in the closing minutes. Khimki's fourth road win raised its record to 10-8 to keep hold of seventh place. Zvezda fell to 7-11. Shved finished with 29 points, including 11 as Khimki won the fourth quarter 16-27. He dueled all night with Zvezda point guard Taylor Rochestie, who had 27 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists.
Brose Bamberg 93-86 Zalgiris Kaunas
Brose Bamberg snapped a five-game losing streak with a 93-86 victory over Zalgiris Kaunas in a ferociously intense battle at Brose Arena. It was close throughout, with neither team leading by more than 7 points at any stage, and the outcome was in the balance until Daniel Hackett hit a crucial long two-pointer inside the final minute. Brose was paced by 22 points and 7 rebounds from Augustine Rubit. Another big performance in the paint came from Dejan Musli with 14 points and 6 rebounds, and Hackett added 16 points. The German champs improved to 7-11, while Zalgiris fell to 11-7. Aaron White excelled with 23 points and 8 boards in defeat.〈
Olympiacos Piraeus 94-64 Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv
Only four days after losing by 32 points on the road in Vitoria, Olympiacos Piraeus showcased a lot of pride in routing Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv 94-64 on Tuesday night at Peace and Friendship Stadium. The Reds improved to 13-5 to keep at least a share of second place in the standings, while Maccabi dropped to 9-9 and eighth place. Olympiacos started pulling away in the first quarter behind Jamel McLean, and never looked back. It held a 13-point margin at halftime, then broke the game open in the second half. On a balanced offense, Vassilis Spanoulis led the way with 13 points and 7 assists and McLean had 12 points in only five first-half minutes before exiting with an injury.
Valencia Basket 81-76 FC Barcelona Lassa
Valencia Basket registered its third win in four games by downing FC Barcelona Lassa 81-76 at home on Tuesday. Both teams now have 6-12 records. Bojan Dubljevic led the winners with 19 points and Rafa Martinez added 13 for Valencia, which was without leading scorer Erick Green. Pierre Oriola led Barcelona with 15 points against his former team. The game came down to the final minute, when Juan Carlos Navarro and Rakim Sanders got Barcelona within 75-72. Free throws by Dubljevic, Fernando San Emeterio and Aaron Doornekamp allowed Valencia to wrap up a well-deserved win.
CSKA Moscow vs Anadolu Efes Istanbul
Wednesday’s first game tips in the Russian capital where CSKA Moscow (13-4) looks to retain sole possession of first place with a home win against an Efes (5-12) team that hasn’t won on the road since mid-November.
Efes will need all the athleticism of Derrick Brown to match up against the all-around effectiveness of Will Clyburn, who scored 20 points when CSKA recorded the most recent of its five straight wins over Efes earlier in the season. The Turkish team will be giving CSKA a new look as defensive expert Toney Douglas joins scoring threat Errick McCollom in the backcourt, but with Nando De Colo in outstanding form – scoring 23 and 24 points in his last two games – the hosts will take some stopping.
Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul vs Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens
A battle royale is in store in Istanbul as Coach Zeljko Obradovic’s Fenerbahce (11-6) looks for a victory that would displace his old team, Panathinaikos (12-5), from its current share of second place. Fit-again Panathinaikos point man Nick Calathes will attempt to continue his outstanding season by picking his way through a Fenerbahce defense that leads the league with an average of just 71.8 points conceded per game. If Jan Vesely remains sidelined by injury, that will be particularly good news for James Gist as the veteran seeks to continue arguably the best season of his career against his former club.
Real Madrid vs Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz
No team is hotter right now than Real Madrid (11-6), which has surged to joint third place with a run of six consecutive wins with the presence of newly signed Walter Tavares – who has averaged 10.5 points and 10 rebounds in his last two games – helping to overcome a lengthy injury list. Madrid lost by 30 against this week’s visitors Baskonia (8-9) when the teams met in Vitoria in Round 7, so expect a sense of revenge to be in the air as two teams that know each other extremely well go head to head. Baskonia showed its capabilities with last week’s thrashing of Olympiacos, and knows another win could be enough to climb into the playoffs zone.
AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan vs Unicaja Malaga
Milan (4-13) is now rock bottom in the standings after suffering a run of eight losses in nine games, and will seek a turnaround against an Unicaja team (7-10) which has been plunged back into doubt by following four straight wins with two consecutive losses. Unicaja is the third-lowest scorer in the competition (76.4 points per game) but has a chance to improve that tally against Milan, which has allowed more points than anyone else (83.3 ppg.). The hosts need leading scorer Andrew Goudelock to return to form after being held scoreless by CSKA last week.