Round 27: Reds, Barcelona win in routs
The final two-round week of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season began with four Tuesday games, which saw Olympiacos Piraeus and FC Barcelona Lassa roll to big wins. The victories fueled the Reds' playoff hopes and even returned Barcelona to the race for fourth place and home-court advantage for the playoffs thanks to CSKA Moscow's victory over the current fourth-place team, Anadolu Efes Istanbul. Fenerbache Beko Istanbul also won on Tuesday. Among Wednesday's games, Panathinaikos OPAP Athens faces KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz in a game with playoff implications and Felipe Reyes will likely make history when Real Madrid hosts AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan.
Anadolu Efes Istanbul 78-80 CSKA Moscow
In an intense showdown that went down to the final seconds, CSKA Moscow bounced back from a tough home loss by downing Anadolu Efes Istanbul 78-80 on the road before 14,000 fans at Sinan Erdem Dome on Tuesday. CSKA improved to 21-6 to remain second in the regular season standings, while Efes dropped to 17-10. The win assured CSKA a third-place finish or better at the end of this phase. Cory Higgins led CSKA with 19 points, including the game-winning layup with 1.9 seconds left. Kyle Hines added 15 points on 7-of-7 two-point shooting while Will Clyburn scored 10 for CSKA. Bryant Dunston led Efes with 19 points and 9 rebounds. Krunoslav Simon added 13 points while Shane Larkin had 11 for the hosts, who led 20-15 after 10 minutes and kept a 30-27 margin midway through the second quarter. An 1-13 run gave CSKA a 31-40 advantage near halftime. The guests did not trail after that, but free throws by Simon tied the game with 5.6 seconds left, before Higgins had the final word on a strong driving basket to finish the drama.
Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul 76-67 Buducnost VOLI Podgorica
A masterful finish lifted league-leading Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul to a 76-67 home win over feisty visitor Buducnost VOLI Podgorica on Tuesday. The 12-1 closing run lasted more than 6 minutes down the stretch and assured that Fenerbahce remained perfect at home for the season. Buducnost, still winless on the road, had led often all night, including by 10 points in the first half. Fenerbahce took its league-leading record to 23-4 while Buducnost fell to 6-21. Nikola Kalinic had 14 points and 6 rebounds for the victors. Jan Vesely followed with 13 and 6 assists, while Ali Muhammed and Kostas Sloukas both scored 11. For the visitors, Earl Clarke lead the way with 20 points, Goga Bitadze added 11, while Filip Barovic and Peter Popovic scored 10 apiece. Fenerbahce seemed to be taking control while building a seven-point lead in the first quarter, but Buducnost used a 7-20 run to take a double-digit lead in the second before succumbing late to a gritty and determined comeback by Fenerbahce.
Olympiacos Piraeus 89-69 FC Bayern Munich
Facing one of its direct playoff-chasing rivals, Olympiacos Piraeus led from start to finish in defeating, and sweeping, visiting FC Bayern Munich 89-69 at Peace and Friendship Stadium on Tuesday night. Olympiacos improved to 14-13 on the season, while Bayern lost its third straight game to drop to 12-15 and on the verge of elimination from the playoff race. Zach LeDay finished with 23 points and Nikola Milutinov scored 20 in victory. Briante Weber netted 12 and Georgios Printezis 11 for Olympiacos. Petteri Koponen paced Bayern with 15 points on 5-for-6 three-point shooting, while Devin Booker added 13 points in 16 minutes on the floor in defeat.
FC Barcelona Lassa 93-64 Herbalife Gran Canaria
FC Barcelona Lassa took another step towards the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Playoffs by downing Herbalife Gran Canaria 93-64 at Palau Blaugrana on Tuesday. Barcelona improved to 16-11 in the standings, remains fifth overall and could mathematically qualify for the playoffs on Wednesday if other results go its way. Gran Canaria dropped to 7-20 and is ranked 14th among 16 teams. Kevin Pangos led the winners with 19 points, Chris Singleton added 16, Kyle Kuric had 14, Pau Ribas 12 and Rolands Smits 10 for Barcelona. D.J. Strawberry paced Gran Canaria with 15 points, Oriol Pauli added 13 and Jacob Wiley had 11 for the visitors. Barcelona led 22-19 after 10 minutes and improved its margin to double digits, 33-23. Strawberry and Marcus Eriksson allowed Gran Canaria not only to rally, but to take a 38-39 edge soon after the break. Barcelona found a scoring reference in Singleton, who joined forces with Ribas and Pangos to break the game open at 63-46 at the end of the third quarter. Nothing changed after that as Barcelona cruised to an important win.