Top 16 rounds are coming to an end in two weeks’ time. With Olympiacos Piraeus claiming the fifth spot after their Round 12 match against Anadolu Efes Istanbul, three play-off places still remain. Eight Round-12 games were played over three days, during which three teams notched up impressive road victories and two others rallied from brink to win their matches. Among other highlights; the last Round-12 game was an exact rematch of the 2014 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Championship Game and Alessandro Gentile emerged as the week’s MVP. The EA7 Emporio Armani Milan star continued his great run with a top score of 29 points. Gentile now stands second in Top 16 with 18.3 points per game but Nizhny Novgorod’s Taylor Rochestie remains the league’s top scorer with 19.2 points per game and Top 16 leader at 18.6 per game. A brief summary of Round-12 matches follows hereunder.
On Wednesday, FC Barcelona recorded their sixth consecutive win by beating Zalgiris Kaunas 83-72 on road. FCB demonstrated their bench strength in outscoring Zalgiris with Alex Abrines being the top scorer with 16 points, hitting back-to-back fourth-quarter triples to take the game out of Zalgiris’ reach. Tibor Pleiss added 14 points with 7 rebounds. For Zalgiris, birthday boy James Anderson’s 24 points in first three quarters but his efforts could not help his team.
In another road victory, Panathinaikos Athens edged out Galatasaray Liv Hospital Istanbul 86-84 and climbed to third place in Group E. In a dramatic match, Panathinaikos built a 81-70 margin with 6 three-pointers in first seven minutes of fourth quarter but Galatasaray engineered an 8-0 run to come within 84-83 with 15 seconds left. However, in dying stages, free throws from Panathinaikos ensured the victory at finish. For Panathinaikos, Esteban Batista scored 14 points, 6 rebounds and 4 steals while Galatasaray’s Patric Young scored 24 points and 9 rebounds.
In another thrilling match, ALBA Berlin beat Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade 73-68 at home. With a 6-6 Round-12 record ALBA are still in contention for a playoffs spot while Zvezda literally exited the competition. For ALBA, Marko Banic scored 18 points, Alex Renfroe added 13 with 6 assists and Reggie Redding provided a career-best 11 assists. Zvezda’s Boban Marjanovic came up with a career-high 27 points and reached a performance index rating of 40. Marjanovic also added 10 rebounds for his 14th double-double this season. ALBA led 39-22 at halftime, but Marjanovic’s scintillating show after the break took the game at 61-61 with six minutes left. ALBA were finally rescued by Leon Radosevic and Renfroe with Redding sealing victory with a jumper with less than two minutes remaining.
The last Group E encounter was a rematch of 2014 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Championship Game in which Real Madrid continued their good show with a 86-75 home victory over defending champions Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv. With 7-5 results in Top-16 so far, Maccabi is still fighting for a play-off spot. Jaycee Carroll top-scored for Real Madrid with 18 points, Felipe Reyes added 16 and 9 rebounds and Sergio Llull came up with 11 points with 9 assists. Brian Randle led Maccabi with 17 points.
In a classic played on Thursday, Olympiacos Piraeus claimed a play-off spot with an epic 86-75 home victory over Anadolu Efes Istanbul. In the first 35 minutes, both side established leads but the margin never exceeded 6 points. Olympiacos played without star performers; Vassilis Spanoulis, Kostas Sloukas and Brent Petway but still raised their record to 9-3. Despite dropping to 5-7, Efes continue in contention for the play-off stage. For Olympiacos, Ioannis Papapetrou, who has played only for a total of 12 minutes in two games this season, came up with 10 points in five minute before the start of the final quarter that saw Olympiacos score 33 points in last 15 minutes. Oliver Lafayette top scored for Olympiacos with 17 points, while Georgios Printezis added 14 and pulled 12 rebounds. For Efes, Perperoglou scored 23 points in defeat.
Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul defeated Unicaja Malaga 78-63 for their ninth consecutive Top 16 victory. Fenerbahce now have a 10-2 score after 12 rounds. Andrew Goudelock scored 22 points and Nemanja Bjelica added another 15 with 11 rebounds and 2 blocks. Unicaja made a strong start by scoring the game’s first 7 points. But Fenerbahce took control with Bogdan Bogdanovic excelling in second quarter to ensure a 39-33 lead for Fenerbahce at halftime. In third quarter, Bjelica, Bogdanovic and Goudelock combined to score 20 out of 24 points to enhance the lead to 18 and it was curtains for Unicaja after that.
EA7 Emporio Armani Milan defeated Laboral Kutxa Vitoria 99-85 and the result left both teams still fighting for the last playoff berth in Group F. Laboral took a 41-26 second quarter lead through Mike James but the hosts used an 11-0 run to reduce the deficit to 43-39 at halftime. After the break, EA7 dominated with Gentile scoring 13 points in an overall charge of 25-6 that enhanced their lead to double digits. Gentile finished with a career-high 29 points on 4-for-5 three-point shooting plus 7 rebounds; Samardo Samuels added 17 with 7 rebounds. For Laboral, Darius Adams top scored with 18.
CSKA Moscow scored an impressive 86-82 road victory over Nizhny Novgorod after trailing by 15 in second quarter. While CSKA is already in play-offs, Nizhny’s 9th loss in 12 games, dealt a critical blow to their playoff chances. Nizhny began with a forceful first half to lead 55-42 at halftime but CSKA regrouped and changed everything in last two quarters. For CSKA, Sonny Weems scored 21 points and Sasha Kaun added another 16. Taylor Rochestie led Nizhny with 21 points and 6 assists.