Game Center: Regular Season, Round 27
Round 27, which marks the final two-round week of the regular season, saw the floodgates to the playoffs burst on Wednesday when CSKA Moscow defeated Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul, which carried Fenerbahce Istanbul, Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz and Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens all into the playoff berths and left only two remaining spots. The outcomes on Wednesday also saw the top three teams in the standings secure home-court advantage for the playoffs by winning.
Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv edged Fenerbahce Istanbul 79-81 Tuesday on a Sylven Landesberg buzzer-beater to complete a season sweep of the Turkish champs and deny – temporarily – Fenerbahce a ticket to the playoffs. Maccabi improved to 10-17, while dropping Fenerbahce to 17-10. Coach Zlejko Obradovic’s men advanced to the playoffs a day later when Darussafaka lost. Fenerbahce led by as many as 13 points, but Maccabi battled back and ultimately scored the final 6 points of the game to secure the victory. Landesberg finished with a career-high 22 points to lead the winners, including 4-of-4 shooting from downtown. Diamon Simpson produced a spectacular all-around effort with 14 points, 12 rebounds and 5 steals. Melih Mahmutoglu was 5 of 6 from behind the arc to pace the Fenerbahce attack with 15 points.
Anadolu Efes Istanbul took another step towards qualifying for the playoffs by topping Zalgiris Kaunas 68-76 on the road on Tuesday. Efes improved 15-12 in the standings while Zalgiris dropped to 12-15 and saw its own playoff hopes dealt a crippling blow. Jayson Granger led the winners with 25 points and 8 assists and Bryant Dunston posted 10 points and 9 rebounds. Lukas Lekavicius led Zalgiris with 11 points. Zalgiris finished the first half with excellent shooting percentages, including 6-of-11 shooting from downtown (54.5%), to take a 44-41 lead. It all changed after the break, as Zalgiris hit 7 of 22 two-point shots (31.8%) and 1 of 9 from beyond the arc (11.1%), which allowed Efes to control the game in the final minutes.
Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz truly dominated on the road at Brose Bamberg to earn a valuable 71-96 win, which became enough to secure a playoff berth when CSKA beat Darussafaka on Wednesday. The visitors scored the game's first 8 points without reply and never looked back, leading by double figures for the entirety of the final 36 minutes. Shane Larkin led the offense with 17 points and 6 assists, while Toko Shengelia provided a big double-double of 16 points and 12 rebounds. Chase Budinger produced his best game so far in Baskonia colors with 17 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. Well-beaten Bamberg was paced by Jerel McNeal’s 17 points.
Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens protected its home floor and edged closer to clinching a playoff spot with a comfortable 74-61 win over EA7 Emporio Armani Milan. Panathinaikos registered its ninth straight home win to improve to 16-11 and was able to qualify for the playoffs on Wednesday after CSKA defeated Darussafaka. Milan, which was missing Rakim Sanders, Kruno Simon, Zoran Dragic and Simone Fontecchio, dropped to 7-20 and last place. Nick Calathes and Mike James scored 13 points apiece in victory. Milan’s Awudu Abass led all scorers with 15 points on 3-for-3 three-point shooting.
CSKA Moscow locked up home-court advantage for the playoffs by downing Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul 95-85 in the Russian capital on Wednesday. CSKA improved to 20-7 and became the first team to secure the home-court advantage in the playoffs, while Darussafaka dropped to 13-14 and remains ninth, two wins outside of the playoffs zone. Milos Teodosic led the winners with 20 points and 10 assists and Nando De Colo and Kyle Hines each had 17 points. De Colo added 8 assists, while Hines pulled down 8 rebounds and only missed one shot. Scottie Wilbekin led Darussafaka with a career-high 26 points on 8-of-9 three-point shooting. His 8 three-point shots set a new EuroLeague season high and a club record.
Galatasaray Odeabank Istanbul won for the third time in four games by stopping Unics Kazan 75-67 on Wednesday at Abdi Ipekci Arena. Jon Diebler shot 5 for 6 from downtown en route to 17 points to lead Galatasaray, which improved to 10-17. The loss dropped Unics to 7-20. The visitors led by as many as 7 in the opening quarter, but after Galatasaray came back to within 21-23 after 10 minutes, the hosts went on an 18-3 second-quarter charge and never looked back. Galatasaray big man Alex Tyus blocked 3 shots to move into eighth place on the all-time EuroLeague charts with 141 rejections. Keith Langford was 10 for 10 from the line and scored 24 to lead Unics.
Georgios Printezis sank his trademark game-winner with 3 seconds remaining in overtime to give Olympiacos Piraeus a 64-66 victory – and home-court advantage in the playoffs – over Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade in a packed Kombank Arena. The Reds sit in third place at 19-8, while Zvezda is tied for seventh with Anadolu Efes at 15-12. As expected between two of the competition’s best defenses, it was a low-scoring encounter. But it was also absolutely enthralling as Olympiacos dominated early, restricting Zvezda to just 17 points in the first half. The home team roared back with an 18-0 run over the course of seven minutes, but Olympiacos responded and then the teams could not be separated until Printezis’s jumper settled it. Kostas Papanikolaou led the winning team with 17 points and 9 rebounds. Marko Guduric scored 14 for Zvezda.
Real Madrid led from start to finish and secured home-court advantage in the playoffs by downing archrival and previously eliminated FC Barcelona Lassa 85-69 on Wednesday night in the Spanish capital. Madrid improved to 20-7 and sits in first place, while Barcelona dropped to 10-17. Madrid took control of this el Clasico from the start, but pulled away for good with a 16-5 run in the second quarter. Barcelona remained in the game, hitting 14 three-pointers on 25 attempts on the night, but never came closer than 8 points. Sergio Llull had a masterful performance in the first three quarters, netting 21 points along with 6 assists, 3 blocks and 2 steals, for a career-high performance index rating of 32. He did not play in the fourth quarter. For Barcelona Ante Tomic amassed 12 points and 10 rebounds.