Game Center, Round 9: Comebacks, streaks and milestones
Round 9 was full of thrillers and big games. On Friday, CSKA Moscow registered a road win against Unicaja Malaga, Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens rallied past Real Madrid and Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul topped Khimki Moscow Region. Olympiacos Piraeus and Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz won on the road on Thursday, while FC Barcelona Lassa, Zalgiris Kaunas and Brose Bamberg - in come-from-behind fashion - protected their home courts.
Zalgiris Kaunas 91-83 Anadolu Efes Istanbul
Zalgiris used a big advantage on the glass and fine performances by Edgaras Ulanovas in first and Paulius Jankunas in the second half in holding off Anadolu Efes Istanbul 91-83 on Thursday. The win improved Zalgiris to 5-4 and snapped its two-game home losing streak, while Efes dropped to 2-7 at the bottom of the standings. Zalgiris led for most of the night and extended its margin to double-digits midway through the fourth quarter, before holding off the visitors in the final two minutes. Ulanovas scored 20 of his career-high 22 points in the first half, and also had 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 blocks. Jankunas added 17 points with 6 rebounds for Zalgiris, which pulled down a season-high 16 offensive boards and outrebounded the visitors 40-29.
Brose Bamberg 83-82 Valencia Basket
Brose Bamberg finished the game on a 14-1 tear to complete a comeback from a 16-point fourth-quarter deficit in beating Valencia Basket 83-82 on Thursday at Brose Arena. Ricky Hickman made 3 free throws with 2.1 seconds remaining to win a game that the hosts had trailed since the first quarter. Brose improved to 5-4, while sending Valencia to its fifth straight loss and a 3-6 record. Hickman finished with 26 points for the winners. For 35 minutes Valencia was in total control thanks to brilliant three-point shooting and former Brose center Tibor Pleiss’s rim protection, but the Brose went to a small lineup late and let Maodo Lo – with 7 fourth-quarter points – and Bryce Taylor ignite the comeback that Hickman finished.
AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan 85-86 Olympiacos Piraeus
In a thriller that went down to the last shot, Olympiacos Piraeus escaped with an 85-86 victory over AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan as Jamel McClean came up with the last of many big plays against his team of the last two seasons. Olympiacos improved to 7-2 to retain a share of first place, while Milan fell to 3-6 when Curtis Jerrells failed to connect with the game's final shot. McLean had 22 points, including a three-point play with 46 seconds left that provided the game's final points. Brian Roberts followed with 18 points for the winners, while Milan got 20 points from Jordan Theodore and a double-double of 19 and 10 rebounds from Arturas Gudaitis.
FC Barcelona Lassa 89-67 Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv
In a very special night for the club, FC Barcelona Lassa thrashed Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv 89-67 at Palau Blaugrana on Thursday. Barcelona improved to 4-5, while Maccabi dropped to 5-4. Petteri Koponen led the winners with 20 points and Rakim Sanders added 18; the duo combined to make 10 of 13 three-point shots. DeAndre Kane led Maccabi with 13 points. Barcelona solved the game in an outstanding first half. Barcelona dished 12 assists and outrebounded Maccabi by 24-15 before the break, while limiting the visitors to just 9 of 26 shots inside the arc for a 44-24 lead at halftime. EuroLeague scoring king Juan Carlos Navarro was honored in a pre-game ceremony marking the 20thanniversary of his first team debut with Barcelona.
Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade 81-85 Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz
Johannes Voigtman and Tornike Shengelia hit key baskets in the final minute to help Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz hold off Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade 81-85 on Thursday night. It was Baskonia’s third straight win and second consecutive on the road to improve to 4-6
record. Voigtmann paced Baskonia with 17 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists, while Shengelia finished with 16, after scoring 12 in the first half. Mathias Lessort scored 19 points, and Ognjen Dobirc scored 17, both career-highs, for Zvezda, which dropped to 2-7 with its fifth consecutive defeat.
Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul 71-67 Khimki Moscow Region
Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul held on to withstand several spirited comebacks from Khimki Moscow Region to triumph 71-67, improving its record to 6-3 with a fourth win in five games. Fenerbahce never trailed and occasionally threatened to make it a blow-out by establishing several double-digit leads, but Khimki always came back and it was a one-point game in the final minute, before a trio of free throws from Brad Wanamaker settled matters. James Nunnally top scored for Fenerbahce with 20 points on 4-of-5 three-point shooting, while Wanamaker combined 16 points with 6 assists and 5 rebounds.
Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens 82-80 Real Madrid
In an outstanding thriller that literally went down to the final shot, Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens rallied from a 16-point deficit in the final 19 minutes to top Real Madrid 82-80 in the Greek capital on Friday. Panathinaikos improved to 6-3 and remained undefeated at home while Madrid dropped to 5-4. K.C. Rivers led the winners with 20 points. James Gist had 15 and Nick Calathes added 12 and 8 assists for Panathinaikos. Luka Doncic had 19 points for Madrid, which led 40-56 early in the second half. An outstanding Rivers put Panathinaikos in charge, 77-73, but Doncic made Madrid tie the game, 80-80. Free throws by Gist allowed Panathinaikos to win the game, as Trey Thompkins missed from downtown at the buzzer.
Unicaja Malaga 80-89 CSKA Moscow
In the last game of Round 9, CSKA Moscow got back to its winning ways, pulling away late for a hard-fought 80-89 road win over Unicaja Malaga. The win improves CSKA to 7-2, in a share of the first place in the standings, while Unicaja drops to 3-6. CSKA stormed out of the gate and had a 13-point second-quarter lead, but Unicaja used its defense to get back into the game, with a series of three-pointers and a pair of Ray McCallum three-point plays capping a 17-2 third-quarter run to go up 63-57. But Sergio Rodriguez got CSKA’s offense going once again, scoring 13 of his game-high 21 points in the final 11 minutes of the contest, and the visitors pulled away again. Unicaja’s James Augustine collected 18 points and 9 rebounds against his former teammates.