Regular Season’s Round-17 of Turkish Airlines Euro-League basketball threw up seven victories for home teams. The lone exception was FC Barcelona Lassa, who narrowly lost on their home turf to Olympiacos Piraeus. With 13 Rounds left before play-offs, the fight for figuring among the top eight is likely to intensify very soon. After the next couple of Rounds, some teams might hope to reach the play-off stage. For many others, the tournament may become a big battlefield while the last rankers would have lost all their chances.
At Kazan, visitors Brose Bamberg almost took the winners’ honor, when they led over Unics Kazan by 12 points with 15 minutes remaining. But egged on by their home supporters, Unics made a smart turnaround and forked out a thrilling 63-58 victory over Bamberg. Now both teams are tied at 7-10 in the standings and they are still in the qualification race. For Kazan, Keith Langford top-scored with 27 points with 10 rebounds and 5 assists. Janis Strelnieks was Bamberg’s lead scorer with 13 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists.
In Istanbul, home team Darussafaka Dogus created a new club mark in three-point shooting that helped them beat Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz 98-89. Scottie Wilbekin and Brad Wanamaker shared 4 three-pointers with each scoring 4 from 4 chances while Dairis Bertans scored 3 from 4 attempts. In all there were 14 triples shot at the highest rate of 63.6% to make club history. This was also the third straight win for Darussfaka at home that improved their record to 9-8, while Baskonia fell to 11-6. For Darussafaka, Bertans scored his career-best 29 points. Adam Hanga was Baskonia’s top scorer with 19.
In a nail-biting encounter, Crvena Zvezda MTS Belgrade pulled off a 75-73 win over the Fenerbahce Istanbul at Belgrade. When the score was tied at 73-73 with 12.4 seconds remaining, Crvena’s Charles Jenkins produced a long go-ahead jumper and Ognjen Kuzmic blocked a lay-up attempt from Fenerbahce’s Ekpe Udoh. That marked the thrilling 75-73 finish with which Crvena, improved to 9-8. This was also Crvena’s fourth consecutive win, while Fenerbahce dropped to 10-7. For Crvena, Kuzmic scored 21 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks while Udoh and Luigi Datome both scored 16 points for Fenerbahce.
The only road win of the week came in a thriller between Olympiacos Piraeus and FC Barcelona Lassa at Palau Blugrana, where Olympiacos edged out Barcelona 69-67. Olympiacos played without their star guard Vassilis Spanoulis but still prevailed in the end and jumped to second place with a 12-5 in the standings, while Barcelona dropped to 7-10. For Olympiacos, Georgios Printezis top-scored with 16 points and 9 rebounds, but the show by stolen by Vangelis Mantzaris, who came up with 2 game-winning free throws with 7.4 seconds left.
Defending champions CSKA Moscow outplayed EA7 Emporio Armani Milan at 101-64. With that, CSKA improved to 13-4 and continued to lead the standings. For Milan, however, it was the 10th straight defeat in the tournament and they slipped to 4-13. CSKA led the one-sided contest from start to finish with star hoopster Nando De Colo scoring 20 points and every other CSKA player also finding the basket.
Galatasaray Odeabank snapped their four-game losing streak to defeat Zalgiris Kaunas 87-79 and improved to 5-12 in standings while Zalgiris reached 11-6. For Galatasaray, Bruno Fitipaldo, who was playing only his third Euro-League game, scored 21 points with 6 assists while big man Tibor Pleiss added 17. For Zalgiris, Brock Motum scored 18 in defeat.
Surviving a late drama against Anadolu Efes Istanbul, Panathinaikos Athens won 92-81 after overtime at Athens. Efes led 70-67 with 7 seconds remaining but Panathinaikos’ Mike James drew a foul and converted all 3 of his free throws to force the extra session. In overtime, the dominant Greek team finished winners to boost their record to 10-7, while Efes fell to 8-9. KC Rivers was the lead scorer for Panathinaikos with 23 points, Alessandro Gentile added 15 and Mike James and Ioannis Bourousis added 14 apiece. For Efes, Thomas Heurtel scored 15 and Jayson Granger added another 14.
In a classic played at Madrid, home side Real Madrid rallied from a double-digit second-half deficit to defeat Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv 80-75. That took Madrid to 12-5 while Maccabi dropped to 6-11. For Real Madrid, Rudy Fernandez and Gustavo Ayon each scored 14 points but teenage sensation Luka Doncic stole the show with 10 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists. Doncic fell just 2 assists short of the Euro-League’s first triple-double in more than a decade. In defeat, Maccabi’s Victor Rudd and Andrew Goudelock scored 18 points each.
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