Game Center Round 21: Two playoffs races in one
A last-second victory, a major upset and a scoring show highlighted Friday of a Round 21 that ended with six teams battling for the top four spots and one challenger getting closer to the eighth and last playoff position.
CSKA Moscow 93-87 Real Madrid
An early and decisive takeover run lifted CSKA to game-long leads en route to defeating Real Madrid 93-87 Thursday. Top-of-the-table CSKA improved to 17-4 while Madrid fell to 13-8, in danger of vacating the top four spots in the standings. A 24-3 run in the game's first 7 minutes led CSKA to a 33-11 advantage after one quarter. Madrid whittled that difference down to its low at the finish, but could not complete the comeback and remains winless against CSKA in Moscow in five tries since 2008. Sergio Rodriguez paced the winners with 18 points and 5 assists against his old team. Cory Higgins added 16 points, Will Clyburn and Othello Hunter 11 each. Luka Doncic led all scorers with 21 points for Madrid, which saw All-EuroLeague forward Anthony Randolph return after two months injured.
Anadolu Efes Istanbul 82-66 Valencia Basket
Anadolu Efes Istanbul snapped its three-game losing streak with an 82-66 victory over Valencia Basket 82-66 at home on Thursday. Efes improved to 6-15 in the standings, while Valencia dropped to 7-14. Errick McCollum led the winners with 24 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists. Efes led for the better part of the game, but Valencia rallied to within 63-58 early in the fourth quarter. McCollum, Bryant Dunston and Derrick Brown took over in crunch time to lead Efes to its sixth win. Erick Green scored 18 for Valencia, which came to Istanbul without seven injured players, including all four of its point guards.
FC Barcelona Lassa 81-83 AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan
Dairis Bertans sank the game-winning jumper with 5.6 seconds remaining as AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan edged FC Barcelona Lassa 81-83 at Palau Blaugrana to complete a regular season sweep of their series. Andrew Goudelock scored 20 points and Arturas Gudaitis posted 16 points on 7-of-7 shooting plus 9 rebounds to lead the winners. The result left both teams with 7-14 records. Ante Tomic paced Barcelona with 14 points.
Zalgiris Kaunas 99-84 Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv
Zalgiris Kaunas got back to its winnings ways, defeating visiting Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv 99-84 in Zalgirio Arena on Thursday night. With the win Zalgiris improved to 13-8 for a share of at least fifth place in the standings, while Maccabi dropped to 11-10 in eighth place. Zalgiris led for the majority of the night, but pulled away for good with a 16-4 third-quarter run that opened a 16-point margin and the Lithuanian champs never looked back. Kevin Pangos led the way with 16 points and 11 assists as Zalgiris set a club record with 29 assists and tied a record with 14 three-pointers. Paulius Jankunas returned from injury to post 17 points and 7 rebounds for the victors. Michael Roll scored 17 for Maccabi.
Olympiacos Piraeus 95-70 Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul
Olympiacos Piraeus registered its sixth consecutive home win by downing reigning EuroLeague champion Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul 95-70 at Peace and Friendship Stadium on Thursday. Vassilis Spanoulis and Janis Strelnieks led the winners with 19 points apiece, combining for 8-of-8 three-point shooting. Olympiacos hit 13 of 17 shots from downtown to set a new club record with the fourth-best shooting percentage in EuroLeague history. Ali Muhammed led Fenerbahce with 24 points. Spanoulis scored 14 points in the first quarter as Olympiacos took charge to lead 34-18 after 10 minutes and kept a safe margin all the way.
Khimki Moscow Region 68-66 Unicaja Malaga
After leading for just 20 seconds until then, Khimki used a tip-in at the buzzer by Anthony Gill to top visiting Unicaja 66-68 on Friday and strengthen its playoffs hopes in dramatic fashion. Khimki improved to 12-9 in seventh place, while Unicaja dropped to 8-13 with its fifth loss by two points. Alexey Shved led Khimki with 22 points, but when his 11th three-point miss bounced out with 2 seconds left, Gill was there to tip it. Unicaja had controlled the scoreboard all game, leading by as many as 10 before Tyler Honeycutt took over late. He finished with 11 points, all after the break, and 15 rebounds. James Anderson scored 11, too, including 2 baskets in the final minute before the game-winner. Unicaja, playing without leading scorer Nemanja Nedovic and Jeff Brooks, got 16 points from Adam Waczynski and 10 from Ray McCallum but was unable to score again after being up 60-66 with 2 minutes remaining.
Brose Bamberg 95-74 Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens
Brose stayed in the playoff hunt using a huge fourth-quarter run to take a 95-74 win over the visiting Panathinaikos on Friday. The hosts were up by double digits at the halftime, but the Greens rallied in the third quarter behind a brilliant Nick Calathes. However, Brose was near-perfect in the fourth, converting one possession after another and broke the game open. Augustine Rubit led the way with a career-high 26 points and pulled 8 rebounds in victory. Dorell Wright added 15 points for Bamberg, whose record improved to 8-13, three games behind the eighth and final playoff spot. Calathes scored a career-high 31 points and dished 7 assists for Panathinaikos, which dropped to 13-8 in a three-team tie for fourth place.
Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz 103-84 Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade
Rodrigue Beaubois inspired Baskonia to a huge 103-84 win over Zvezda on Friday, scoring 14 points in the opening 5 minutes 36 seconds to give his team a big early lead that was never threatened afterwards. Baskonia moved within one win of the playoffs places with a 10-11 record. Zvezda is now two games further back at 8-13. Beaubois top-scored with 25 points for the winners, making 9 of 12 two-point attempts and 2 of 3 from long range, while Matt Janning added 18 points, all on triples. There were also solid contributions from Patricio Garino with 12 points, Toko Shengelia with 11 points and 7 rebounds, and Jayson Granger with 10 points and 6 assists. Baskonia dished a total of 28 assists, one short of a club record. Dylan Ennis topped Zvezda's scorers with 22 points on 4-of-5 three-point shooting, while Nemanja Dangubic and Dejan Davidovac both scored 10.