Game Center: Regular Season Round 22
The EuroLeague's top three teams grabbed victories and extended their margin from the rest of the pack in Round 22, which saw six teams defend their respective home courts, with road teams claiming victories in the first and in the last game of the week.
Real Madrid registered its eighth consecutive victory by going on the road to defeat Unics Kazan 77-81 on Thursday. Madrid improved to a league-best 17-5 record, while Unics dropped to 7-15 on the season. Both teams had their runs and leads in through first three quarters, and early in the fourth, before Madrid went on a 4-14 run to open a 70-79 margin with 2:45 to go, which it never relinquished. Anthony Randolph paced Madrid with 19 points and Luka Doncic dished a career-high 11 assists. Keith Langford netted 20 for Unics.
Anadolu Efes Istanbul trailed for 39 minutes, but finished the game on a 10-1 tear to defeat EA7 Emporio Armani Milan 90-86 on Thursday at Abdi Ipekci Arena. Efes improved to 11-11 to remain in eighth place, while Milan fell to 7-15. Point guard Thomas Heurtel led the winners with 17 points and 6 assists off the bench. The Efes reserves combined for 61 of the team’s points. Rakim Sanders paced Milan with 18 points. The visitors dominated early and led by as many as 19 in the second quarter, but Efes regrouped at halftime and forced itself back into the game. Petar Naumoski, who played six seasons for Efes and led the club to the 1996 Korac Cup crown, was in attendance and honored in a special ceremony in which his No. 7 jersey was raised to the rafters.
The EuroLeague's best offense dominated the best defense as CSKA Moscow rolled over Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade 102-80 in the Game of the Week for Round 22 on Thursday. CSKA raised its record to 16-6 and held onto second place, while Zvezda fell to 12-10, failing to separate itself a bit from the playoff-chasing crowd. Reigning MVP Nando De Colo led the CSKA onslaught with 25 points and 6 assists, while Nikita Kurbanov scored 18 without a miss and Milos Teodosic returned from three games out due to injury to score 16 points. Zvezda got 16 points and a career-high 9 assists from Luka Mitrovic. CSKA made its first 7 three-pointers on the way to a 58-46 halftime lead, which proved too much momentum even against the league-leading Zvezda defense, which had allowed just 73.3 points on average in the seasons' first 21 games.
In a thriller that came down to the final seconds, Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv recorded its second consecutive home win by edging Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz 85-84 at Menora Mivtachim Arena. Maccabi improved to 9-14 in the regular season standings, while Baskonia dropped to 12-11. Andrew Goudelock led the winners with 21 points and Gal Mekel tallied 10 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists for Maccabi. Andrea Bargnani led Baskonia with 17 points and Johannes Voigtmann posted 13 points and 11 rebounds. It all came down to the final play, in which Baskonia was unable to get off a potential game-winner before the buzzer.
Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens registered its seventh consecutive home win by downing Brose Baskets Bamberg 81-72 on Thursday night in the Greek capital. Panathinaikos improved to 13-9 on the season and is in the sole possession of fifth place in the standings. Bamberg dropped to 8-14. Panathinaikos controlled the game and led by as many as 11 points in the second quarter, 9 in the third and 11 again in the fourth, but Bamberg kept coming back each time before Mike James scored key baskets that helped Panathinaikos seal the victory. Chris Singleton collected 17 points and 6 rebounds for Panathinaikos. Daniel Theis scored 18 points in 18 minutes for Bamberg.
Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul stayed in the thick of the playoff hunt after a 72-65 victory over EuroLeague runner-up Fenerbahce in the latest Istanbul derby at Volkswagen Arena. Ante Zizic and Brad Wanamaker each posted double-doubles as Darussafaka improved to 11-11 and is one of four teams within one win of each other between sixth and ninth place. The loss dropped fourth place Fenerbahce to 14-8. Will Clyburn scored 20 points, Zizic posted 14 points and 10 rebounds and Brad Wanamaker tallied 12 points, 3 steals and set a career-high and club record with 11 assists to pace the winners. The game was tied entering the fourth quarter, but Clyburn scored 9 points in the final 10 minutes to help Darussafaka race to victory. Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 18 points for Fenerbahce.
Olympiacos Piraeus continued its winning run at home and widened its margin as one of the top three teams in the league after pulling away late and beating Zalgiris Kaunas 73-64 at Peace and Friendship Stadium on Friday. It was the 11th win in the last 13 games for the Reds and their seventh straight home win, which improved the team to the league's second-best record, 16-6. Zalgiris dropped to 9-13 on the season. Olympiacos never had a lead bigger than 4 points until the fourth quarter, and behind Matt Lojeski and key baskets from Georgios Printezis and Vassilis Spanoulis, opened an unsurmountable 10-point margin with 80 seconds to go. Printezis finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds to lead the way. Lukas Lekavicius scored 11 for Zalgiris.
Galatasaray Odeabank Istanbul recorded its first road win of the EuroLeague season by downing FC Barcelona Lassa 62-69 at Palau Blaugrana on Friday. Galatasaray improved to 7-15, while Barcelona dropped to 8-14. Alex Tyus paced the winners with 19 points and 9 rebounds and Jon Diebler scored 14 on 4-of-4 three-point shooting. Sasha Vezenkov led Barcelona with 18 points and Stratos Perperoglou grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds for the hosts. Barcelona led 28-26 edge at halftime, however Galatasaray stayed close, was perfect from the free throw line and relied on an outstanding Diebler to seal the outcome down the stretch.
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