Game Center: Regular Season Round 19
January's week of two rounds started with Round 19 and featured lots of thrills and some pretty big upsets as the races for the playoffs and home-court advantage all heated up.
Fenerbahce Istanbul held off Unics Kazan for an 81-86 road win on Tuesday at Basket Hall. With the win, Fenerbahce improved to 5-5 on the road and 12-7 overall, while dropping Unics to 7-12. Luigi Datome paved the way with 18 points on near-perfect shooting and Bogdan Bogdanovic tallied 16 points and 7 assists. Fenerbahce did a wonderful job of defense on Keith Langford, the league’s leading scorer, who was held to just 11 points without a single two-point shot attempt. Art Parakhouski stood tall with 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting plus 9 rebounds for Unics and Orlando Johnson set a career-best with 16 points.
Galatasaray Odeabank Istanbul ended its five-game winless slide against Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv in emphatic fashion on Tuesday by pulling away to a 102-63 victory at home in Abdi Ipekci Arena. The result leaves both teams with 6-13 records. Galatasaray broke its own club EuroLeague records in the scoring total for a non-overtime game, in the winning margin of 39 points and in dishing 29 assists. It was Maccabi's worst loss in the EuroLeague this century, following a 100-65 defeat in Moscow to CSKA in 2014. Jon Diebler matched his career high by making 6 of 7 three-pointers en route to 21 points to lead the winners, who made 12 of 20 attempts from downtown. Andrew Goudelock led Maccabi with 22 points.
Zalgiris Kaunas bested reigning champion CSKA Moscow 79-74 at Zalgirio Arena on Tuesday. Zalgiris improved to 7-12 in the standings, while CSKA dropped to 14-5. Zalgiris grabbed its first EuroLeague win against CSKA in almost 17 years, breaking an 18-game losing streak in Europe's top competition. Kevin Pangos led the winners with 21 points and Leo Westermann tallied 10 points and 10 assists. James Augustine paced CSKA with 15 points. CSKA led 38-45 at halftime, but things changed after the break as Zalgiris improved its defense and forced the visitors into 19 turnovers.
In a battle of EuroLeague powerhouses that lived up to the expectations, Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens held off FC Barcelona Lassa 71-65 on Tuesday night in the Greek capital. Panathinaikos improved to 11-8, while Barcelona lost its seventh consecutive road game and dropped to 8-11 for the season. Panathinaikos took the lead for good in the second quarter and despite rarely holding a double-digit margin, the hosts kept control thanks to forcing 21 turnovers and hitting 11 three-pointers. Ioannis Bourousis stepped up with a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Greens. Tyrese Rice had 12 points for Barceloan in defeat.
Crvena Zvezda mts Telekom Belgrade grabbed its sixth consecutive win – a new club record in the competition – by downing Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz 69-87 on the road on Tuesday. Both teams now have 11-8 records in the standings. Zvezda became just the second team to beat Baskonia at Fernando Buesa Arena in the last two seasons, joining Olympiacos Piraeus. Marko Simonovic led the winners with 23 points and Stefan Jovic tallied 18 and 12 assists. Shane Larkin paced Baskonia with 16 points.
Anadolu Efes Istanbul moved within one victory of the playoff zone and claimed a vital tiebreaker too with a 93-81 victory over city rival Darussafaka Dogus in the latest Istanbul derby at Abdi Ipekci Arena. Efes sits in ninth place at 9-10, which is one win less than eighth-placed Darussafaka. By sweeping the season series, Efes also owns the tiebreaker. It was a game of runs that seemed destined to go to the wire, but after the visitors clawed their way to within 1 midway through the fourth quarter, Brandon Paul scored 5 in a 9-0 run to finish off the game. Paul shot 5 for 9 from downtown to lead all Efes scorers with 21 points. Brad Wanamaker led Darussafaka with 24 points and Ante Zizic dominated inside with 16 points and 18 rebounds. He set club records for rebounds and offensive rebounds (8).
In a thriller that came down to the final shot, Real Madrid grabbed its fourth consecutive win to move atop the standings by edging Brose Bamberg 89-91 in Nuernberg, Germany, on Wednesday. Madrid improved to 14-5 to match CSKA Moscow for first place, while Bamberg lost another heartbreaker to drop to 7-12. Sergio Llull led the winners with 26 points and once again became Madrid's hero by hitting the game-winning floater with 1.1 seconds left. Jaycee Carroll added 24 points and Gustavo Ayon posted 16 points and 8 rebounds for Madrid. Fabien Causeur led Bamberg with 14 points. Madrid outrebounded Bamberg 24-37, including 14 offensive boards.
EA7 Emporio Armani Milan used an inspiring fourth quarter to pull away to a resounding 99-83 win over visiting Olympiacos Piraeus on Wednesday night. Its second consecutive win improved Milan to 6-13, while Olympiacos dropped to 13-6 and third place in the standings. Olympiacos tied its club record with 21 offensive rebounds, but Milan overcame the visitors’ domination on the glass with a big performance in the fourth-quarter when they scored 32 points against the league’s best defense. Davide Pascolo finished with 15 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steal, with most of it coming in the final 11 minutes of the game. Georgios Printezis scored 16 to lead Olympiacos.