After leading all the way in Regular Season until Round-20, defending champions CSKA Moscow lost the top spot to Real Madrid at the conclusion of Round-21 games. It happened after CSKA suffered a road loss in a rematch of their 2016 finals against Fenerbahce Istanbul and Real Madrid scored a road win over Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz. The Round-21 also intensified the play-off race with Anadolu Efes snapping Crvena Zvedza’s 7-game winning streak and a historic comeback by EA7 Emporio Armani Milan in beating Darussafaka Dogus.
In a notable road win for Olympiacos Piraeus, the Greek outfit defeated Unics Kazan 90-75 despite injury concern to Vassilis Spanoulis, Patric Young and Matt Lojeski. That improved their standings to 15-6 while Unics dropped to 7-14. For Olympiacos, Erick Green scored 25 points and Georgios Printezis added another 20. Keith Langford’s 25 points for Unics’ were of no avail.
In two matches that brought CSKA Moscow to second spot, Fenerbahce Istanbul defeated the reigning champions 77-71 in a thriller in Istanbul while Real Madrid scored a 79-71 road victory over Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz. These results took Real Madrid to the top with a 16-5 record while CSKA’s defeat pegged them at 15-6. CSKA’s loss took Fenerbahce to 14-7. In Istanbul, the match-fit Ekpe Udoh posted 15 points, 11 rebounds and 2 blocks for Fenerbahce with Bogdan Bogdanovic added 12 with 8 assists. CSKA top star Nando De Colo scored 23 points in helping his team to take a 42-36 half-time lead but in the next 5 minutes, Fenerbahce reeled off 14 straight points to silence the visitors. Once more, Madrid’s win over Baskonia was engineered by 17 year-old Luka Doncic, whose 16 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists made the outcome decisive. Baskonia’s Roddy Beaubois scored 20 points but they still lost and slipped to 12-9.
Zalgiris Kaunas edged out FC Barcelona Lassa 89-85 and improved to 9-12, while Barcelona slipped to 8-13. The closely-contested match saw several lead changes but a couple of 4th quarter runs resulted in Zalgiris taking the lead for good. Zalgiris’ Lukas Lekavicius top-scored with 17 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals, while Edgaras Ulanovas also added 17. However, the same 17 points scored by Juan Carlos Navarro couldn’t help Barcelona.
Brose Bamberg came out of their 4-game losing streak by beating Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv 90-75 and improved to 8-13 in the standings, while Maccabi dropped to 7-14. Janis Strelnieks was the lead scorer for Bamberg with 25 points and Maccabi’s Andrew Goudelock scored 22 in defeat.
In an amazing comeback, EA7 Emporio Armani Milan wiped off a 25-point third quarter deficit to shock Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul 89-87. Darussafaka looked a clean winner as they led Milan 68-43 in third quarter but Milan’s Davide Pascolo and Krunoslav Simon engineered the miracle in the last 15 minutes to inspire the home side. Milan thus improved to 7-14, while Darussafaka dropped to 10-11. For Milan, Pascolo and Simon both scored 15 points each, while Brad Wanamaker’s 20 points and 6 assists for Darussafaka were wasted.
Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens defeated Galatasaray Odeabank Istanbul 79-84 and equaled the highest figure of 16 three-pointers by any team this season. Five Panathinaikos players reached double-digit scores, of whom Mike James topped with 18 points. The Greek Club improved to 12-9, while Galatasaray dropped to 6-15. Besides Mike, James Feldeine added another 15 and Nick Calathes 10.
Anadolu Efes Istanbul scored an 86-72 road victory over Crvena Zvezda MTS Belgrade. The result took Efes 10-11 in the standing while Zvezda dropped to 12-9 after their historic 7-game winning streak came to an end. Efes’ Derrick Brown top-scored with 20 points and 11 rebounds, DeShaun Thomas added 17, of which 15 came in the fourth quarter. Zvezda’s Marko Simonovic scored 17 points in defeat.
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