Game Center Round 20: Champs take exclusive hold of second place
The highest-scoring Turkish Airlines EuroLeague game in more than five years capped a competitive Round 20 that marked the end of two-thirds of the regular season. Four of the other seven games were decided by four points or less, including three on the last play, while the defending champions from Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul took over exclusive hold of second place behind season-long leader CSKA Moscow.
Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens 94-93 Zalgiris Kaunas
Nick Calathes beat the buzzer with a layup to lift Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens over Zalgiris Kaunas 94-93 in an overtime thriller at Olympic Sports Center Athens on Thursday night. Calathes finished with 14 points, 8 rebounds and 9 assists for the Greens, who blew a 20-point second-quarter lead and an 8-point fourth-quarter lead before battling back from a 7-point deficit in overtime to claim a hard-fought win. Panathinaikos improved to 13-7, which is one win more than the Lithuanian champs. Former Zalgiris guard Lukas Lekavicius also scored 14 for the winners. Antanas Kavaliuaskas paced Zalgiris with a career-high 21 points on 9-of-12 shooting. Kevin Pangos seemed to have won it for Zalgiris when he made a shot in the lane with 4.7 seconds left in overtime, but that proved just enough time for Calathes to snatch the win.
Real Madrid 87-68 Anadolu Efes Istanbul
Real Madrid got back to its winning ways with a comfortable 87-68 win over visiting Anadolu Efes Istanbul on Thursday night. Madrid improved to 13-7 and at least a tie of fourth place in the standings, while Efes dropped to 5-15 and remains in the last place. Madrid took control in the final minutes of the first quarter, but did not start to pull away until its offense got into its rhythm in the third. The hosts opened a 57-40 margin in the third stanza and took it to the 20s in the fourth, as Madrid cruised to victory. Luka Doncic had 17 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists in victory, but Walter Tavares was Madrid’s main man on this night with 14 points, 9 rebounds and 4 blocked shots. Zoran Dragic scored 18 points for Efes in defeat.
Unicaja Malaga 82-83 Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz
In a thriller that went down to the wire, Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz edged Unicaja Malaga 82-83 on the road on Thursday. Baskonia improved to 9-11 and sole possession of ninth place in the standings, while Unicaja dropped to 8-12. A layup by Toko Shengelia gave Baskonia a 79-83 lead with a minute left, but Adam Waczynski hit free throws and Alberto Diaz added a layup to tie it at 83-83 with 6.5 seconds to go. That was enough time for Jannis Timma, who scored the game-winner in the paint with 2.2 seconds left. Timma led the winners with 17 points and Jayson Granger added 14 points and 8 assists. The hosts set a club record by making 17 three-pointers. Nemanja Nedovic paced Unicaja with 19 points.
CSKA Moscow 81-72 Brose Bamberg
CSKA registered its fourth consecutive win in by topping Brose Bamberg 81-72 in the Russian capital on Friday. CSKA improved to 16-4 in the standings while Bamberg dropped to 7-13. Nando De Colo led the winners with 20 points, making 13 of 13 free throws. Sergio Rodriguez added 13 points and Cory Higgins had 12 for CSKA. Dorell Wright led Bamberg with 11. CSKA led 39-30 at halftime, kept a 55-46 margin at the end of the third quarter and sealed the outcome, 73-56, long before the final buzzer.
Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul 86-82 FC Barcelona Lassa
Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul withstood a determined effort from visiting FC Barcelona Lassa to secure an exciting 84-82 victory, improving to 14-6 and taking exclusive hold of second place. The reigning champion led most of the way but Barcelona – which is now 7-13 – wouldn’t go away without a fight, keeping the outcome in the balance until the final seconds. Two players in particular shone for the winning team: point guard Brad Wanamaker combined 24 points with 7 assists, and Nicolo Melli celebrated his 27th birthday with 23 points on 8-of-9 two-point shooting. Thomas Heurtel led Barcelona with 21 points.
Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade 89-78 Olympiacos Piraeus
Crvena Zvezda shook off a three-game losing streak and the ejection of head coach Dusan Alimpijevic to take a life-extending 89-78 over visiting Olympiacos Piraeus on Friday. The winners raised their record to 8-12 and a tie for 10th place, while Olympiacos dropped to 13-7 and fifth place with a fourth straight road defeat. An unexpected hero, backup point guard Dylan Ennis, came off the bench for 21 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists as Zvezda rallied from 7 down, 61-68, early in the final quarter. Nemanja Dangubic and Taylor Rochestie added 11 points each for Zvezda. Vassilis Spanoulis had 16 points and became the second EuroLeague player, after Juan Carlos Navarro, to reach 3,500 for his career.
Valencia Basket 85-83 Khimki Moscow Region
Valencia held off the visiting Khimki 85-83 on Friday night to register its fourth win in the last six games. It was a game that featured 16 lead changes and 12 ties; neither team was ahead by more than 7 points. Valencia finally took the lead for good in the fourth quarter, but needed Alberto Abalde and Erick Green to hit key baskets down the stretch to hold onto its slim lead and improve to 7-13 record. Tibor Pleiss led the winners with 15 points plus 9 rebounds while Alexey Shved scored 22 points on 6-for-13 three-pointers for Khimki, which dropped to 11-9 to share seventh place in the standings.
AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan 102-111 Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv
Maccabi won the highest-scoring EuroLeague game in more than five years by topping host Milan 102-111 on Friday. Maccabi improved to 11-9 in the standings, tying Khimki for seventh place, while Milan dropped to 6-14. The combined 213 points marked the fifth-highest total in non-overtime game in EuroLeague history and the most in any game since Cedevita beat Zalgiris 108-106 in double-overtime on November 15, 2012. Norris Cole led the winners with 19 points. DeShaun Thomas added 18, Art Parakhouski and Alex Tyus 14 each and Michael Roll 12 for Maccabi. Jordan Theodore led Milan with 22 points. Arturas Gudaitis added 18, Andrew Goudelock 13, Amath M'Baye 11 and Andrea Cinciarini contributed 10 for the hosts. It was the second-highest EuroLeague scoring ever by Maccabi in a road game and its best total overall since scoring 113 against AEK Athens on December 2, 2004. Theodore and Gudaitis brought Milan as close as 98-102 but back-to-back three-pointers by Thomas sealed the outcome down the stretch.