Top 16 Round 14: History is made!
History was made in Top 16 Round 14 with a new playoff side, records set and milestones reached. The playoff picture wasn’t settled until the penultimate game of the Top 16 concluded. Galatasaray Liv Hospital won at home to reach the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Playoffs for the very first time. Justin Dentmon of Zalgiris enjoyed a big night as he set a single-season record for three-pointers made and set a new club record for scoring. Andres Nocioni of Laboral Kutxa had the best scoring night of any player this season in a road win at Barcelona. And Juan Carlos Navarro became the first Euroleague with 500 career three-pointers. More history is one its way with the playoffs only days away!
The champs produced another memorable moment on Thursday night to book third place in the group. Vassilis Spanoulis pulled up for a deep, last-second three as Olympiacos Piraeus bested archrival Panathinaikos 68-65 in the Athens derby at the Peace and Friendship Stadium. The result carried the Reds ahead of the Greens in the standings with an 8-6 record. Panathinaikos finished Group E fourth with a 7-7 record. Panathinaikos led 50-58 with less than five minutes to go, but Kosats Sloukas hit a pair of triples, and Spanoulis took over at the end, scoring 5 of his 9 points in the final 23 seconds. Sloukas finished with 12 points and 5 assists in victory. Laboral Kutxa Vitoria downed FC Barcelona 86-97 on the road to finish its season in style. The result snapped Barcelona's 31-game Top 16 home winning streak, an all-time record. Andres Nocioni paced the winners with 37 points - a Euroleague career high, the most points scored by any player in the league this season and a new record for a visiting player at Palau Blaugrana. Juan Carlos Navarro led Barcelona with 25 points – including the 500th three-pointer of his illustrious career. Barcelona hit 10 of its opening 11 three-point attempts to lead 50-35 at halftime. Vitoria found a go-to guy in Nocioni, who had 19 points in the third quarter, 11 of them in a 0-18 run that brought the guests back to life. The red-hot forward continued to score as Vitoria rolled to an impressive win. In another derby, Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul routed Anadolu Efes 84-67 in Istanbul . Luka Zoric led the winners with 20 points and 17-year-old playmaker Berk Ugurlu scored 12 in his debut. Fenerbahce outrebounded Efes 38-24. Unicaja Malaga snapped a four-game losing streak to finish its Euroleague campaign as a winner. Unicaja defeated playoff-bound EA7 Emporio Armani Milan 95-85 on Friday night at Martin Carpena Arena. The game was tied midway through the second quarter, but Unicaja used an 8-0 run to take a promising halftime advantage and pulled away with an 11-0 third-quarter charge. Vladimir Stimac paced the Unicaja attack with 16 points. Keith Langford returned to the Milan lineup after missing three games due to injury and paced his team’s attack with 22 points.
A surprising result in the second-to-last game in the group decided the final standings. Zalgiris Kaunas upended Real Madrid 87-80 at home Friday behind a magnificent Juston Dentmon. That result dropped Madrid to second place. Because CSKA Moscow scored a hard-fought 76-81 road victory over Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv Thursday at Nokia Arena to keep its hopes of winning the group alive. Dentmon paced the winners with 36 points on 7-of-11 three-point shooting. He broke the Euroleague single-season record for most three-pointers with 74. Dentmon also established a new club mark for points in a game and tied the Zalgiris record for threes in a game. Madrid led 57-59 at the end of the third quarter, but Dentmon had 13 points in the final seven minutes to ensure Zalgiris grabbed a big home win. In Tel Aviv, the game was tied twice in the closing minutes, but back-to-back threes from Aaron Jackson and Sonny Weems gave CSKA the lead for good and the visitors held strong down the stretch. Jackson paced CSKA with a season-high 18 points on 3-of-5 three-point shooting. Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar held off FC Bayern Munich 84-75 in the last Top 16 game for both teams on Thursday. Lokomotiv would have advanced for the first time to the playoffs if results Friday went its way. Instead, Galatasaray Liv Hospital Istanbul topped Partizan NIS Belgrade 64-55 to claim the fourth and last playoff spot, the first in club history. A packed crowd of 11,400 at Abdi Ipecki Arena was on its feet all night long to will their team to victory. Manuchar Markoishvili, who missed 16 games earlier in the season, paced the winners with 16 points and Furkan Aldemir added 13 points and 7 rebounds for the winners. In Krasnodar, Lokomotiv led 54-35 early in the second half, before Lucca Staiger started hitting from downtown and Bayern rallied, but the hosts held on to win. Derrick Brown and Krunoslav Simon scored 18 apiece in victory.
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