Round 8: Six-way tie for first place!
An unprecedented six-team tie for first place has gripped the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague standings after Round 8 delivered all kinds of big results and performances. CSKA completed that sextet by downing Fenerbahce on Friday. A day earlier, Maccabi moved up with its sixth consecutive victory, a record-breaker at Baskonia. Khimki pulled even with the leaders by beating one of them, Milan, at home. Efes escaped a rally by visiting Zenit to throw its hat in the first-place ring. And Real won El Clásico to drop erstwhile co-leader Barcelona into the pack. Elsewhere on Thursday, in the first double-OT game of the season, shorthanded ALBA ambushed Panathinaikos, which let go of coach Argyris Pedoulakis within 24 hours. On Friday, ASVEL needed only one overtime for its first road win, at Zvezda, joining Real in a tie for seventh place behind the six-pack of leaders.
Khimki Moscow Region 87-79 AX Armani Exchange Milan
Khimki Moscow Region remained undefeated at home by ending AX Armani Exchange Milan's six-game winning streak with an 87-79 decision on Thursday. Both teams now have 6-2 records and could share first place or second by the end of Round 8. Alexey Shved led the winners with 24 points and 7 assists. Jonas Jerebko added 19 points, Devin Booker 11 and Stefan Jovic 10 for Khimki. Luis Scola led Milan with 16 points. Michael Roll added 14 points, Nemanja Nedovic and Sergio Rodriguez 13 each, and Vladimir Micov 11 for the guests. Roll and Jeff Brooks shined early, getting help from Nedovic to give Milan a 22-25 lead after 10 minutes. A three-pointer by Nedovic boosted Milan's lead to 24-33 but Shved and Jerebko brought Khimki within 31-33. Micov and Nedovic rescued Milan and an unstoppable Scola gave the visitors a 47-51 edge at halftime. A 16-0 run that Jovic capped with a three-pointer put Khimki back in charge, 60-56, but Scola and Rodriguez helped Milan tie the game, 65-65, after 30 minutes. Shved and Jerebko fueled an 11-0 run that gave Khimki a 80-68 margin with more than 4 minutes left, enough for the hosts to control the game until the final buzzer.
Anadolu Efes Istanbul 90-88 Zenit St Petersburg
Anadolu Efes Istanbul never trailed and led by as many as 25 points before needing to hold late for a 90-88 win over visiting Zenit St Petersburg on Thursday night at Sinan Erdem Dome. Efes improved to 6-2, while Zenit dropped to 2-6 in its premier Turkish Airlines EuroLeague season. Efes took the lead from the start and, led by the usual suspects Vasilije Micic and Shane Larkin as well as center Sertac Sanli, built a big lead that reached 25 points midway through the third quarter. But Zenit's Austin Hollins caught fire from long range and, with help from Gustavo Ayon and Anton Pushkov, the visitors chipped away at the deficit. Zenit scored 38 points in the fourth quarter, but did not manage to complete the comeback. Micic scored 24 points on a perfect shooting night, Larkin had 22 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds, while big men Sanli and Tibor Pleiss scored 13 points apiece in victory. Hollins scored 26 points on 7-for-11 three-point shooting for Zenit, Ayon netted 21 points, Pushkov had 12 and Renfroe dished 10 assists in the losing effort.
Panathinaikos OPAP Athens 105-106 ALBA Berlin
ALBA Berlin snapped a six-game winning streak on Thursday with a 105-106 double-overtime victory over Panathinaikos OPAP Athens at OAKA. Luke Sikma's three-point play with 8.9 seconds left in the second overtime proved to be the game-winner in lifting his team to 2-6. It also ruined a historic night from Ioannis Papapetrou, who set the Panathinaikos single-game scoring record in the EuroLeague with 39 points. That number is also tied for the eighth-most in EuroLeague history. Martin Hermannsson stepped into the shoes of injured point guard Peyton Siva to shine with 20 points and 10 assists for ALBA. Landry Nnoko added 17 points, Rokas Giedraitis scored 15, Luke Sikma amassed 14 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists, Niels Giffey also scored 14 and Johannes Thiemann posted 11 points and 7 rebounds. In addition to Papapetrou, Jacob Wiley recorded a career-high 22 points for the Greens, DeShaun Thomas netted 16 before fouling out, Nikos Pappas - who started in place of the injured Jimmer Fredette - added 14 and Nick Calathes had 10 points, 10 assists and 9 turnovers. With the loss, Panathinaikos fell to 4-4.
KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz 83-113 Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv
Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv hit a club-record 17 three-pointers and extended its winning streak to six games with a resounding 83-113 road win over KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz. The victory improved Maccabi's record to 6-2 on the season and tied it for the best record in the league. On the other hand, Baskonia suffered its first home loss of this campaign and also its worst home loss in EuroLeague history, dropping to 3-5. Shooting the lights out from long range and led by Scottie Wilbekin, Maccabi had a 10-point lead late in the first quarter, went into halftime up by 23 points, and broke the 30-point barrier early in the third quarter. Wilbekin netted 20 points on 6-for-8 three-point shooting. Elijah Bryant scored 19, while John DiBartolomeo and Nate Wolters scored 14 apiece. Tyler Dorsey had 12 points, and Othello Hunter collected 10 points plus 9 rebounds in a victory in which Maccabi also tied a club record for the most points scored in a road game this century. Baskonia had only two double-digit scorers, Tornike Shengelia with 31 points and Patricio Garino with 24, both setting new career-highs.
Real Madrid 86-76 FC Barcelona
In an outstanding back-and-forth battle, Real Madrid took the first El Clasico of this Turkish Airlines EuroLeague season by downing archrival FC Barcelona 86-76 in the Spanish capital on Thursday. Real improved to 5-3 in the standings while Barcelona dropped to 6-2. Anthony Randolph led the winners with 16 points, Facu Campazzo and Gabriel Deck each added 13 and Jordan Mickey scored 12 for Real. Nikola Mirotic paced Barcelona with 19 points, Ante Tomic had 13 and Kyle Kuric 12 for the visitors. Campazzo and Randolph fueled a 15-0 lead that put Real ahead for good and then Mickey and Usman Garuba boosted the hosts to a 32-14 margin after 10 minutes. Tomic, Kuric and Malcolm Delaney led a 0-18 run that brought Barcelona within 37-35. An unstoppable Mirotic helped Barcelona reach halftime ahead 48-50. Real made the difference after the break by building a 61-50 cushion. Barcelona managed to get within 71-64 after 30 minutes, but Real managed to keep a safe margin throughout the fourth quarter and until the final buzzer.
CSKA Moscow 88-70 Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul
In a battle of true Turkish Airlines EuroLeague giants, CSKA Moscow defeated Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul 88-70 in the Russian capital on Friday. CSKA improved to 6-2 in the standings, joining a six-way tie for first place, while Fenerbahce dropped to 2-6. Mike James led CSKA with 31 points on 6-of-8 three-point shooting. Janis Strelnieks added 23 points while making 4 of 5 from downtown for the winners. Kostas Sloukas paced Fenerbahce with 20 points while Derrick Williams added 19 for the guests, who were without superstar guard Nando De Colo. James and Kyle Hines shined early, allowing CSKA to take a four-point lead, 21-17, after 10 minutes. Sloukas and Williams helped Fenerbahce get within 24-23 early in the second quarter but Daniel Hackett, Kosta Koufos and an unstoppable James carried CSKA to a 39-34 margin at halftime. Strelnieks drilled 3 triples after the break to boost CSKA'S lead to 64-49 BEFORE James hit 5 shots from deep in the fourth quarter to keep CSKA out of trouble until the final buzzer.
Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade 72-74 LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne
LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne registered its first road win of the season by rallying late in the fourth quarter before edging Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade 72-74 after overtime on Friday. ASVEL did not have any lead until half-way through the extra session, but that did not prevent it from pulling out the victory to improve to a 5-3 and a share of seventh place with Real Madrid. Zvezda's record dropped to 2-6. The hosts never trailed in regulation time, leading by as much as 36-26 late in the second quarter, 41-32 early in the third, and 65-58 with less than 3 minutes to go in the fourth. But led by a monster effort by Tonye Jekiri, who amassed 18 points plus 19 rebounds, and his frontcourt partner Livio Jean-Charles, who scored 20 points, ASVEL rallied each time and overcame 22 turnovers. Edwin Jackson was also in double figures for the visitors with 11 points. Billy Baron paced Zvezda with 16 points, Lorenzo Brown had 15 points, and Dejan Davidovac collected 11 points and 7 rebounds.
Olympiacos Piraeus 83-74 Zalgiris Kaunas
Olympiacos Piraeus ended its four-game losing streak against Zalgiris Kaunas by beating the visiting Lithuanians 83-74 on Friday. The hosts trailed at halftime 37-39 but a nice long-range shooting display in the third quarter allowed them to build a small lead that was extended to double-digits, 74-61, late in the game. The Reds bounced back from two painful losses at home to improve their record to 3-5, tied with Zalgiris (3-5) and two other teams, still far from the playoff spots. Vassilis Spanoulis led the way for Olympiacos with 16 points and 7 assists. Nikola Milutinov followed him and added 14 points and 8 boards, while Brandon Paul, Georgios Printezis and Willie Reed contributed 14, 10 and 10 points, respectively, for the winners. Jock Landale collected 23 points, Lukas Lekavicius 14 and Thomas Walkup 10 for Zalgiris.
Valencia Basket 82-56 FC Bayern Munich
Valencia Basket grabbed its second consecutive home win by thrashing FC Bayern Munich 82-56 at La Fonteta on Friday. Valencia improved to 2-6 in the standings while Bayern dropped to 3-5. Vanja Marinkovic led the winners with 19 points. Brock Motum added 14, Guillem Vives 13 and Bojan Dubljeic 11 for Valencia. Vladimir Lucic paced Bayern with 14 points while Maodo Lo added 11. Vives and Marinkovic shined early, then Mike Tobey allowed Valencia to get a 20-16 margin after 10 minutes. A three-pointer by Lo gave Bayern its first lead, 24-25, early in the second quarter. Marinkovic had 8 points in a 15-2 run which gave the hosts a double-digit margin, 39-29, at halftime. Lucic brought Bayern within 39-36 soon after the break but Vives led a 10-0 run which boosted Valencia's margin to 49-36. The hosts kept a 59-47 margin after 30 minutes and then went up 72-53 behind an outstanding Quino Colom, enough to seal the outcome.