The action-packed 4 days during December 20-23 in Turkish Airlines Basketball Regular season saw Rounds-13 & 14 being played at a furious pace that allowed no respite to the contestants. While Round-13 games were staged on December 20-21; Round-14 followed over the next two days on December 22 and 23. Four Round-13 games went in favor of visiting teams and other four were won at home. In Round-14, there were five home winners while three teams scored road victories. The Round-14 highlight was the repeat of last season’s Championship Game that was decided after overtime.
In Round-13, Unics Kazan’s 73-60 home victory over Galatasaray Odeabank had the imprint of Evgeny Voronov’s career-best 22 points that nullified Galatasaray‘s 11-0 rally before halftime. Unics continued their winning momentum in Round-14; two days later in scoring an 88-80 road win over Zalgiris Kaunas. Unics trailed Zalgiris by 11 points in fourth quarter but Keith Langford’s 26 points and Art Parakhouski’s 24 ensured Unics’ victory. In overall standings, Unics and Zalgiris are both tied at 5-9.
Before losing to Unics in Round-14, Zalgiris had scored a creditable 84-71 Round-13 road win over Anadolu Efes Istanbul. In an all-round display, Zalgiris’ Kevin Pangos top-scored with 15 points and Edgaras Ulanovas added 14. However, Anadolu Efes played much better in their 86-76 Round-14 road win over Galatasaray Odeabank. That was Galatasaray’s second loss in two days and they slipped to 4-10 for the season while Efes improved to 7-7. For Efes, Brandon Paul scored 19 points and 5 steals to create a late surge.
Olympiacos Piraeus won 73-65 in Round-13 home game against Crvena Zvezda MTS Belgrade. Olympiacos led from first quarter and never looked back despite Crvena trying their best. Matt Lojeski was Olympiacos’ top-scorer with 18 points, Erick Green netted 15 and Nikola Milutinov another 11. But Olympiacos’ long winning streak was snapped in Round-14, when they lost 68-82 to Brose Bamberg on road. Bamberg led from start to finish with Darius Miller top-scoring with 20 points while Olympiacos’ Vassilis Spanoulis netted 15.
In Round-13, however, Bamberg lost 72-95 on road to Real Madrid, who jumped to an early double-digit lead. The match saw another huge performance from teenage sensation Luka Doncic, who led Madrid with 16 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists. Sergio Llull added 14. However in Round-14, Madrid suffered a 70-82 loss against Crvena Zvezda Telekom MTS Belgrade. Crvena’s Marko Simonovic scored 20 points while 25 point from Madrid’s Jeffery Taylor went in vain. Madrid lost Luka Doncic after first quarter due to injury.
Istanbul-city Round-13 derby saw Darussafaka Dogus beat Fenerbahce 71-64. Darussafaka led continuously in second half and prevented Fenerbahce from bouncing back. For Darussafaka, Scottie Wilbekin scored 22 points and Will Clyburn added another 20. In Round-14, Darussafaka continued the winning run by scoring a thrilling 86-84 home win against Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv. At one stage, Darussafaka trailed Maccabi by 19 points but they erased the deficit to finish winners for second time in two days. Darussafaka’s Scottie Wilbekin top scored with career-high 23 points while Will Clyburn added another 20. Darussafaka improved to 8-6 while Maccabi fell to 5-9 with their fifth loss in a row.
Earlier in Round-13, Maccabi had lost 76-80 at home to defending champions CSKA Moscow. The visitors trailed by 18 points at one time but came back strongly to reverse the deficit and end as winners. CSKA notched up their 6th straight victory even without their two top stars; Nando De Colo and Milos Teodosic. For CSKA, Cory Higgins scored 16 points while Maccabi’s Andrew Goudelock scored 19 in defeat. But Round-14 saw CSKA suffering their second loss of the season in a rematch of last year’s final against Fenerbahce Istanbul. After the teams were locked 75-75 at the buzzer, the thriller went into overtime, which produced a competition record of 20-4 inspired by Fenerbahce’s Bobby Dixon. It was a spectacular finish for Fenerbahce and they ended CSKA’s 17-game unbeaten run at home. Dixon scored 12 of his 25 points in overtime and Ekpe Udoh added 17 with 11 rebound. For CSKA, Milos Teodosic scored 21 in defeat.
Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens won both Round-13 and 14 over the week. After beating EA7 Emporio Armani Milan 86-72 on road on Wednesday night, they defeated Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz 69-68 in a heart-stopping Round-14 thriller. In Round-13, Panathinaikos dominated second and third quarters to convert 16-21 deficit to 64-42 lead before sealing the match. Mike James was Panathinaikos’ top scorer with 19 points and Nick Calathes added 16 with 6 assists. The Round-14 game between Panathinaikos and Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz proved another thriller and the one-point victory for Panathinaikos came in the final second. For Panathinaikos, Chris Singleton scored 23 points, Mike James added 16 and Nick Calathes another 14. Now both Panathinaikos and Baskonia have reached 9-5 for the season just as Real Madrid, Olympiacos Piraeus and Fenerbahce Istanbul.
Earlier in Round-13, Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz had rallied from a double-digit deficit to beat FC Barcelona Lassa 65-62 in another thriller. Baskonia’s Shane Larkin produced back-to-back three pointers late in fourth quarter to make the difference. For Baskonia, Rodrigue Beaubois top-scored with 19 points while Larkin added 14. In Round-14, Barcelona Lassa played much better to score an 89-75 home win over EA7 Emporio Armani. The Victory took Barcelona to 6-8 for the season while Milan dropped to 4-10. For Barcelona, Ante Tomic top-scored with 19 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocks while Tyrese Rice added 10 and matched Barcelona’s EuroLeague record with 11 assists.