After 23 rounds of the Turkish Airlines Euro-League Basketball Regular Season, Real Madrid stayed at the top with 18 victories, followed by 17 by defending champions CSKA Moscow. At third place with 16-7 record is Olympiacos Piraeus while 2016 runners-up Fenerbahce Istanbul are fourth with 15 wins. At fifth place are Panathinaikos Athens with 14 wins but the battle for the last four spots is not over yet.
When Euro-League Basketball action began after a week’s break, CSKA Moscow scored their fifth consecutive victory by defeating Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv 93-81 in the Russian capital. Nando De Colo was CSKA’s top performer with 29 points. Maccabi were without their lead-scorer Andrew Goudelock, who missed out due to injury. The victory took CSKA to 17-6 in the standings while Maccabi fell to 8-15.
In the Game of the Week, Fenerbahce Istanbul’s 15-0 run in fourth quarter helped them wipe out an 11-point deficit on the way to a thrilling 67-64 win over Olympiacos Piraeus. For the winners, Bogdan Bogdanovic was the top scorer with a career-high 27 points, while Luigi Datome added another 17. For Olympiacos, Erick Green’s 17 points went in vain. The win lifted Fenerbahce’s standings to 15-8 but Olympiacos continued to occupy the third place on points’ chart with 16-7.
Mike James became an instant hero for Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens, when he converted the last-second game-winning three-pointer for his team against Unics Kazan. The game went to wire at Athens, where the result came with the buzzer. Though Ioannis Bourousis was the lead-scorer for Panathinaikos, it was Mike James, who made the vital difference through a perfect three-pointer with 0.9 second remaining. For Unics, Keith Langford’s 21 points and 7 assists were wasted. The Greeks won 83-82 and improved to 14-9 in the standings, while Unics dropped to 7-16.
Crvena Zvezda MTS Belgrade scored a 77-58 home victory over Galatasaray Odeabank Istanbul. The win kept Zvezda’s play-off hopes alive with 13-10 in the standings, while Galatasaray dropped to 7-16. After losing the last two games, Zvezda were under the pressure of consolidating their position and they did it with a dominant victory. For the home side, January MVP Ognjen Kuzmic top-scored with 16 points and 8 rebounds while his teammate Branko Lazic added a new career high 17 including 5 of 5 three-point shooting. For Galatasaray, Vladimir Micov scored 11 points.
In a battle of two teams, who are having a horrible Euro-League season this time, FC Barcelona Lassa defeated EA7 Emporio Armani Milan 83-78 on road. With that, Barcelona also snapped their 4-game losing streak and reached 9-14 for the season as Milan slipped to 7-16. For Barcelona, Ante Tomic led the scoring with 19 points and 9 rebounds and Petteri Koponen added another 16. Milan’s Awadu Abass notched up 14 points in defeat.
Anadolu Efes Istanbul improved to 12-11 in the standings with a 96-85 win over Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz. Baskonia also have the same standing with 7 rounds left. The win also yielded a potential tiebreaker for Efes against Baskonia. Thomas Heurtel was Efes’ top-scorer with 21 points and 11 assists and Bryant Dunston added another 15 points with a career-high 5 blocks. Baskonia’s Roddy Beaubois scored 23 points but that couldn’t kelp his team.
Zalgiris Kaunas scored a 91-86 road victory over Brose Bamberg that boosted their playoff hopes. It was a big thriller and both teams fought hard until the very end, when two spectacular personal performances from Paulius Jankunas and Lukas Lekavicius saw Zalgiris home through. Lekavicius finished with a career-high 29 points while Jankunas added 24 points with 6 rebounds. The victory took Zalgiris to 10-13 for the season and they stayed in play-off contention while Bamberg dropped to 8-15.
Table toppers Real Madrid maintained a dominant performance in their 101-83 home win over Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul. It was Madrid’s ninth consecutive win that came peppered with season-highs of 16 three-pointers and 28 assists. Madrid improved to league-best 18-5 record, while Darussafaka dropped to 11-12. For the home side, Sergio Llull led the scoring with 26 points, 19 of which came in first quarter itself with 5 three-pointers. That set the tone for Madrid and they never looked back. Llull also provided 8 assists in his truly brilliant performance in front of the home fans. For Darussafaka, James Anderson’s 18 points proved wasteful.