2011-12 Playoffs, Game 3: Barca is first to claim spot in Istanbul!
Two more close contests in Tuesday’s Game 3s were followed by big wins for the home teams Wednesday in the first part of another exciting and dramatic week of Turkish Airlines Euroleague Playoffs action. When the dust had settled, only one team – 2010 champion FC Barcelona Regal – had secured a spot at the 2012 Final Four in Istanbul, with three more potentially decisive games on top Thursday and Friday. The action began in this season’s easternmost point, Kazan, Russia; where FC Barcelona Regal beat Unics 56-67 to sweep their series 3-0 and secure a spot at the 2012 Final Four in Istanbul. Juan Carlos Navarro led the charge with 21 points as Barca rallied back from a 10-point second-quarter deficit to tie the game heading into the fourth and put the game away. Marcelinho Huertas nailed a big three with two minutes to go that sealed the outcome. Henry Domercant scored 19 as Unics finished a spectacular Euroleague debut season. Later Maccabi Electra held off Panathinaikos 65-62 to take a 2-1 lead in their best-of-five series. Richard Hendrix’s tip-in put the hosts up 3 with 15.4 seconds to go and when Nick Calathes’s potential game-tying triple bounced out, the Maccabi fans let out a sigh of relief. Game 4 is on Thursday on the same court and another Maccabi win will send Coach David Blatt and co. to another Final Four, while a Panathinaikos win sends the series back to Athens for Game 5 next week. Yogev Ohayon produced another impressive effort with 12 points and 6 assists to lead Maccabi. On Wednesday, Gescrap BB routed CSKA Moscow 94-81 in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score would indicate. Kostas Vasiliadis scored 20 and Marko Baniv 18 to pace the Men in Black, who entertained a sold-out Bilbao Arena with a brilliant second-half performance in the team’s first-ever playoff game at home. CSKA retains a 2-1 series lead. The win was Gescrap’s fifth in a row at home. Later Olympiacos rocked Montepaschi Siena 75-55 to take control of that series 2-1. Kyle Hines came off the bench for 15 points and 9 rebounds to pace Olympiacos, which outrebounded the visitors 49-29. Last season, the Reds also dominated Montepaschi in their first meeting in Piraeus, but bounced back to take the series. Now every game the rest of the season will be do-or-die for at least one team. Don’t miss the best part of the basketball season as it continues all week on Euroleague.TV and Euroleague.net!