Game Center, Round 30: Darussafaka claims final playoff ticket
The playoff matchups were finally set in the 30th and final round of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season. Thursday's results – in which three of the four winners were road teams – saw Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens clinch fourth place and home-court advantage against Fenerbahce Istanbul. On Friday, Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul claimed the final playoff berth after winning a do-or-die clash and will meet Real Madrid in the next stage. The other two playoffs matchups see Olympiacos Piraeus face Anadolu Efes Istanbul and CSKA Moscow against Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz.
Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 12 points in the last three minutes of regulation and in overtime to lead Fenerbahce Istanbul to a 68-65 overtime victory against FC Barcelona Lassa on Thursday at Fenerbahce Ulker Sports Arena. The victory snapped a three-game losing streak for Fenerbahce, which improved to 18-12, finished the regular season in fifth place and will face Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens in the playoffs. Barcelona finished its season with a 12-18 record. Bogdanovic finished with 15 points and 4 steals and Ekpe Udoh posted 9 points, 15 rebounds and 4 steals. Tyrese Rice paced Barcelona with 19 points. Ante Tomic collected 7 rebounds to mover past former Panathinaikos great Mike Batiste and into a tie for seventh place with current Panathinaikos forward Antonis Fotsis on the career rebounding charts with 1,121. Juan Carlos Navarro started for Barcelona and scored the 4,000th point of his EuroLeague career in the third quarter.
In the final Turkish Airlines EuroLeague game for both teams this season, Galatasaray Odeabank Istanbul used 6 fourth-quarter three-pointers to come from behind on the road and beat Brose Bamberg 79-84 on Thursday night. Galatasaray finished the season with an 11-19 record and in 12th place, while Bamberg’s 10-20 record was good enough to finish in 13th. On this night, Galatasaray hit 12 of 24 three-point attempts and scored 26 fourth-quarter points to get to victory. Sinan Guler finished with 17 points and Blake Schilb was instrumental with 16 points on 4-for-6 three-point shooting. For Bamberg, Nicolo Melli scored 17 in his final game of the season.
Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens waited 20 minutes before putting a lock on fourth place and home-court advantage in the playoffs with a 61-81 road win over eliminated Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv on Thursday. The Greens finished the regular season at 19-11, while Maccabi dropped to 10-20 to close its EuroLeague campaign. Panathinaikos flirted with disaster as Maccabi vaulted in front 45-32 on the first basket of the second half. But after that, the Greens flipped a switch, using an 11-0 run to spark a 16-49 finish to the game. Mike James led the winners with 17 points, all in that second-half splurge, and Chris Singleton had 13 points, 8 rebounds, a career-high 6 steals and 2 blocks. Maccabi got 17 points from Victor Rudd. Gal Mekel dished a career-high 9 assists, but coughed up 7 of his team's 16 turnovers. Panathinaikos went 1 for 15 on three-pointers in the first half and made 9 of 18 in the second.
Zalgiris Kaunas finished its Turkish Airlines EuroLeague season on a high note by downing Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz 79-84 on the road on Thursday. Zalgiris finished the regular season in 10th place with a 14-16 record, while Baskonia ended at 17-13 and will face CSKA Moscow in the EuroLeague playoffs. Kevin Pangos led the winners with 15 points and Leo Westermann tallied 13 points and 9 assists for Zalgiris. Shane Larkin led Baskonia with 20 points and 6 assists. Zalgiris outrebounded its opponents 34-37 and made 13 of 27 three-point shots (48.1%) in two of the biggest keys to the win.
CSKA Moscow defeated Olympiacos Piraeus 90-86 Friday in the Russian capital in a tense and exciting tune-up for the two playoff bound teams. CSKA recorded its eighth straight home win to finish the regular season in second place with a 22-8 record. The champs will face Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz in the playoffs. Olympiacos lost its third game in a row to rank 19-11 and finish third. It will play Anadolu Efes Istanbul in the next stage. CSKA led for much of the game with the lead reaching 14 in the second quarter, but the Reds came back and stayed close down the stretch. Ioannis Papapetrou hit a deep three with 1:32 left in the fourth quarter that tied the score at 81-81, but Milos Teodosic, who shined with 11 fourth-quarter points, countered with a three-point play and the hosts made their free throws down the stretch to keep the win. Nando De Colo and Teodosic scored 23 points apiece to lead the winners, while Vassilis Spanoulis collected 16 points and 7 assists and Papapetrou also scored 16 for Olympiacos.
Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul is going to the playoffs for the first time after winning 78-62 against visiting Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade on Friday for the last open berth! Both teams finished with 16-14 records, but Darussafaka took eighth place thanks to beating Zvezda in both of their games. Darussafaka will face first-place Real Madrid in a best-of-five playoff series starting in less than two weeks. A 10-0 start to the game signaled Darussafaka's resolve and the hosts led by double-digits much of the night. However, a 5-17 third-quarter blast by Zvezda cut the difference to 52-49 before Darussafaka relocated its offense and pulled away in the fourth quarter to victory. Brad Wanamaker again led Darussafaka with 22 points to go with 5 assists and 10 fouls drawn. Zvezda, which suffered greatly from 1-for-16 three-point shooting, got 14 points from Ognjen Kuzmic.
In a clash of two teams trying to finish their respective Turkish Airlines EuroLeague seasons on a winning note, Unics Kazan used big second half to crush EA7 Emporio Armani Milan 68-91 on Friday night at Mediolanum Forum. Unics snapped its 12-game losing streak to finish the season with an 8-22 record, ahead of Milan, which has the same record, but Unics swept their head-to-head series. Latavious Williams had a career-night with 20 points on 8-of-9 shooting and 12 rebounds to lead Unics. Keith Langford, who became the first player to reach 600 points in a season, finished with 13 points. David Pascolo had 19 points for Milan.
Real Madrid rounded out a great regular season by downing Anadolu Efes Istanbul 97-80 in the Spanish capital on Friday. Madrid finished the regular season with a league-best 23-7 record and is set to face Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul in the playoffs. Efes placed sixth with an 18-12 record and had learned the fate of its playoffs opponent, Olympiacos Piraeus, a day earlier. Jaycee Carroll led the winners with 29 points on 7-of-8 three-point shots, while Luka Doncic dished 11 assists for Los Blancos. Bryant Dunston paced Efes with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Efes led 64-67 with seven minutes left, but Carroll scored 20 points, including 6 three-pointers, in crunch time to ensure Madrid claimed to a big home win.