Round 16: Top five teams start 2019 right
The top five teams on the standings at the start of 2019 lengthened their lead over the rest of the pack by registering their first victories of the new year in Round 16. Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul extended its victory streak to 12 games by winning at home, like five of the other winners, including Olympiacos Piraeus in its derby with Panathinaikos Athens. CSKA Moscow was the only top team to do its damage on the road, but Khimki Moscow Region also won away from home as the only team in the last seven places to triumph in Round 16.
Anadolu Efes Istanbul 92-77 FC Bayern Munich
Anadolu Efes opened the regular season's second half in style by downing Bayern 92-77 at home on Thursday. Efes improved to 10-6 and remained fourth in the regular season standings, while Bayern dropped to 8-8, joining a pack of teams fighting to stay in the playoff zone. Vasilije Micic paced the winners with 20 points and James Anderson and Bryant Dunston each had 16 for Efes. Vladimir Lucic led Bayern with 14 points.
Real Madrid 91-79 Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv
Great starts to the third and fourth quarters sent Real Madrid to a 91-79 home win over Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv on Thursday. Madrid remains in second place with a 13-3 record, while Maccabi stays 13th at 5-11. Gustavo Ayon led six Madrid scorers in double digits with 18 points to go with his game-high 9 rebounds. Rudy Fernandez added 13 points and Sergio Llull tallied 11 points and 10 of Madrid's 23 assists. Maccabi got 23 points on 6-for-7 three-point shooting from Michael Roll. It was Maccabi's eighth consecutive loss on Madrid's court. Maccabi led at times in the first half, which ended in a 44-44 tie, but Madrid runs of 20-6 right after the break and 18-7 run to start the final quarter were too much for the visitors to overcome.
AX Armani Exchange Emporio Milan 111-94 Buducnost VOLI Podgorica
AX Milan set a new club scoring record in a 111-94 rout of Buducnost on Thursday night at Mediolanum Forum. Milan never trailed and set club records for points after one quarter (36) and in a half (56) en route to a lopsided win that took its record to 8-8. Vladimir Micov led the attack with 20 points, Mindaugas Kuzminskas netted 19 and Mike James produced 17 points and 8 assists. Teenager Goga Bitadze shined with 23 points, 8 boards and 3 blocks for Buducnost, which saw its record slide to 3-13.
Herbalife Gran Canaria 70-99 Khimki Moscow Region
Khimki snapped its three-game road losing streak in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague by overwhelming Gran Canaria 70-99 on Thursday. Both teams now have 6-10 records and sit two wins outside of the playoff zone. Dee Bost led the winners with 20 points and Charles Jenkins added 18. Marcus Eriksson paced Gran Canaria with 14 points.
Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul 96-87 KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz
In a great back-and-forth battle, Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul recorded its 12th consecutive victory by downing KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz 96-87 at Ulker Sports Arena on Friday. Fenerbahce leads the standings with a 15-1 record and Baskonia dropped to 7-9, still one win removed from playoffs territory. Nicolo Melli led the winners with 19 points. Jan Vesely added 15, Marko Guduric had 14 while Luigi Datome and Kostas Sloukas each got 13 for Fenerbahce. Shavon Shields led Baskonia with 22 points. Vincent Poirier added 15, Darrun Hilliard and Luca Vildoza each had 11 and Matt Janning got 10 for the guests. Fenerbahce led 48-41 at halftime and boosted its margin to 69-48 early in the second half. Baskonia managed to get within 82-81 midway through the fourth quarter but Guduric and Vesely made Fenerbahce prevail.
Zalgiris Kaunas 79-84 CSKA Moscow
After winning by double-digits for most of the first 25 minutes, CSKA Moscow needed a late comeback to escape with a 79-84 victory against host Zalgiris Kaunas on Friday. CSKA improved to 12-4 and ended a three-game road losing streak. Zalgiris fell to 7-9. Will Clyburn scored 15 of his 19 points in the second half and Daniel Hackett matched his total for the winners. Nando De Colo added 13 points and Cory Higgins 11 for CSKA. Brandon Davies led Zalgiris with 21 points, while Marius Grigonis downed 13 and Derrick Walton Jr. had 10. Hackett's 5 consecutive points in the last 2 minutes made the difference after CSKA had trailed by 6 points, 63-57, early in the final quarter.
Olympiacos Piraeus 79-65 Panathinaikos OPAP Athens
Olympiacos Piraeus got back to winning ways and a perfect start to the new year with a resounding 79-65 win over the arch-rival Panathinaikos OPAP Athens at Peace and Friendship Stadium on Friday. Olympiacos took control from the start, opened a double-digit margin in the second quarter and never again allowed Panathinaikos to get as close single digits again. The Reds improved to 10-6 for a share of fourth place the standings. Nikola Milutinov led in victory with a career-best performance of 18 points and 18 rebounds – and Olympiacos club record. Janis Strelnieks also netted 18 in victory. Nick Calathes finished as the visitors’ top performer with 13 points and 7 assists, and Lukas Lekavicius scored 10 for Panathinaikos, which dropped to 7-9 record and a share of ninth place.
FC Barcelona Lassa 97-65 Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul
FC Barcelona Lassa grabbed its third consecutive win by thrashing Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul 97-65 at home in Palau Blaugrana on Friday. Barcelona improved to 9-7 in the standings, good enough to rank sixth overall. Darussafaka is at the bottom of the standings with a 2-14 record. Thomas Heurtel led the winners with 18 points. Kevin Seraphin added 12 while Chris Singleton and Jaka Blazic each had 10 for Barcelona. Toney Douglas led Darussafaka with 23 points. Barcelona led 29-13 after 10 minutes, boosted its margin to 54-27 at halftime, and never looked back.