Round 15: Big home wins mark end of first leg
Luigi Datome was the headline-maker on Friday night, scoring a game-winning basket for Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul against Real Madrid with just six seconds remaining in the battle of the top two. Another big winner was EuroLeague debutant coach Rick Pitino, who saw his newly-inherited Panathinaikos OPAP Athens surge to an eye-catching victory over CSKA Moscow. Elsewhere, FC Bayern Munich mounted a huge comeback to overcome Buducnost VOLI Podgorica, and Herbalife Gran Canaria used a strong defensive effort to defeat Zalgiris Kaunas. On Thursday, KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz became Round 15’s lone road victor on a night also featuring home victories for Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul, FC Barcelona Lassa and Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv.
Khimki Moscow Region 77-85 KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz
Baskonia grabbed its third consecutive road win by downing Khimki 77-85 in the Russian capital on Thursday. Baskonia improved to 7-8 in the standings, while Khimki dropped to 5-10. Shavon Shields led the winners with 15 points and Johannes Voigtmann and Darrun Hilliard each added 14. Jordan Mickey paced Khimki with 19 points. Khimki played once again without stars Alexey Shved and Anthony Gill. The game featured a 20-minute delay early in the third quarter after Toko Shengelia shattered the backboard on an attempted alley-oop slam.
Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul 79-75 Olympiacos Piraeus
Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul ended its 12-game losing streak by beating its former coach David Blatt and Olympiacos Piraeus 79-75 on Thursday night at Volkswagen Arena. Toney Douglas starred with 19 points, 9 assists and 5 steals to pace Darussafaka, which improved to 2-13. Douglass scored all of Darussafaka's 7 points in the final two-and-a-half minutes to preserve the win. Zanis Peiners added a personal-best 16 points plus 9 rebounds for the winners. Janis Strelnieks paced Olympiacos with 15 points on 4-of-6 three-point shooting. The defeat ended a three-game winning streak for the Reds and saw their record fall to 9-6.
Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv 94-92 AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan
In a thrilling game that came down to the final seconds, Maccabi edged Milan 94-92 in a packed and loud Menora Mivtachim Arena in Tel Aviv on Thursday night. Led by Johnny O'Bryant's 32 points, Maccabi improved to 5-10 at the midway point of the regular season, while the loss dropped Milan to 7-8. O'Bryant became the first Maccabi player with more than 30 points in a game since Nikola Vujcic had 33 in January 2007. Alex Tyus added 16 points and 7 rebounds in victory, while Nemanja Nedovic netted 17 for Milan which had six scorers in double figures. Mike James scored 16 points along with 8 assists and 4 rebounds as Milan slipped to 7-8.
FC Barcelona Lassa 80-65 Anadolu Efes Istanbul
Barcelona grabbed its second consecutive win by topping Anadolu Efes 80-65 at Palau Blaugrana on Thursday. Barcelona improved to 8-7 and finished the first half of the regular season in the playoffs zone, just like Efes, which dropped to 9-6 and a share of fourth place. Barcelona trailed by as many as 17 in the first half, but dominated the second 41-15 to snatch the victory. Pierre Oriola led the winners with 14 points and Chris Singleton and Kevin Seraphin each added 13. Brock Motum paced Efes with 13 points.
Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul 65-63 Real Madrid
Luigi Datome scored a superb game-winner with six seconds remaining to give Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul a 65-63 victory over Real Madrid in a compelling heavyweight thriller, played in a spectacular atmosphere at Ulker Sports and Event Hall. Madrid led by 6 points inside the last two minutes but the home team launched a 8-0 run to finish the game, capped by Datome’s driving layup and one, to open up a two-game lead at the top of the standings and record an 11th straight victory. Datome was an appropriate game-winner, leading all scoring with 17 points and also securing 7 rebounds. Jan Vesely scored 13 points, Marko Guduric added 11 and Ali Muhammed had 10. Rudy Fernandez paced Madrid with 12 points, all in three-pointers.
Panathinaikos OPAP Athens 96-84 CSKA Moscow
Inspired by the debut of Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino on its bench, Panathinaikos OPAP Athens knocked off mighty visitor CSKA Moscow by 96-84 on Friday to finish the first half of the regular season in high style. Panathinaikos raised its record to 7-8 in what was just its fifth victory in the last 18 tries against CSKA since 2011. CSKA dropped to 11-4 with its fourth defeat in the last five road games but remains in third place. A 36-point second-quarter explosion marked an 18-point turnaround on the scoreboard. Panathinaikos stayed ahead the rest of the way, although CSKA drew within 72-70 early in the final quarter. Ioannis Papapetrou scored 17 points in his return from injury to lead the winners. Nick Calathes scored 14 to go with his 10 assists, while Stephane Lasme had 13 points. Lukas Lekavicius and James Gist came off the bench for 11 points each. Will Clyburn had a 24-point, 10-rebound double-double for CSKA. Nando De Colo added 17 points, while Cory Higgins scored 12 and Othello Hunter 11.
FC Bayern Munich 93-88 Buducnost VOLI Podgorica
FC Bayern Munich mounted a huge second-half comeback to down Buducnost Voli Podgorica 93-88, ending the calendar year in the EuroLeague on a winning note. Bayern trailed by 17 points in the second quarter, and 39-55 early in the third, but Braydon Hobbs and Derrick Williams got hot shooting from long range to lead the hosts to a victory that improves the team to 8-7, sitting in a share of the sixth place at the midway point of the season. Williams finished with 21 points on 4-for-6 three-point shooting, and Hobbs netted 14 points in 14 minutes, making 4 of 5 triples. Norris Cole had a stellar debut in a Buducnost uniform with 27 points and 6 assists, and 19-year old Goga Bitadze shined in his EuroLeague debut with 17 points, 7 rebounds and 4 blocks for the visitors, which drops to 3-12.
Herbalife Gran Canaria 73-66 Zalgiris Kaunas
Herbalife Gran Canaria grabbed its sixth win in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague by topping Zalgiris Kaunas 73-66 at home on Friday. Gran Canaria improved to 6-9 in the standings, 12th overall but just one win away from Zalgiris, which is now tied for 8th at 7-8. Xavi Rabaseda led the winners with 15 points. Ondrej Balvin added 12 while Albert Oliver had 10 for Gran Canaria. Arturas Milaknis led Zalgiris with 13 points. Derrick Walton Jr. and Brandon Davies each added 11 for the guests.