Playoffs, Game 3: Madrid makes it to the Final Four!
Completing a playoffs sweep on one of the toughest courts in the world, Real Madrid on Tuesday became the first team to reach the 2013 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four in London! Real Madrid downed Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv 57-69 on Tuesday in front of a sellout crowd of 11,060 fans at Nokia Arena in Tel Aviv, Israel, to reach the Final Four for the second time in three years. Jaycee Carroll led the winners with 16 points on his 30th birthday. Sergio Llull added 13 points while Sergio Rodriguez had 12 in a truly historic win for Madrid, which led 44-52 after 30 minutes and sealed the outcome of the series long before the final buzzer. In a high-voltage game in the Greek capital, Panathinaikos Athens edged FC Barcelona Regal 65-63 to take a 2-1 series lead. Panathinaikos also hosts Game 4 on Thursday with a chance to return to the Final Four for the third consecutive season. Mike Bramos paced the winners with 14 points. Dimitris Diamantidis added 12 for Panathinaikos. Juan Carlos Navarro led Barcelona with 17 points. Panathinaikos was up 31-16 midway through the second quarter but Navarro and Ante Tomic rallied Barcelona to a 53-57 edge with 5:40 remaining. Panathinaikos battled back and Diamantidis banked in a triple for a 64-63 edge with a minute to go. Gist split free throws with 5 seconds left and Navarro missed an acrobatic three-point shot in the game's final possession. On Wednesday, Anadolu Efes defeated Olympiacos Piraeus 83-72 to extend its Euroleague season by at least two more days. Jordan Farmar scored 17 and Jamon Lucas flirted with a triple-double to pace Efes, which hosts Game 4 on Friday. The keys to victory were excellent three-point shooting and clear domination in rebounds. After struggling from downtown in the games in Piraeus, Coach Oktay Mahmuti’s men drained 8 of 15 (53.3%) from behind the arc in Game 3. They also nabbed 12 offensive rebounds – turning many of them into second-chance baskets – while outrebounding Olympiacos 39-30. The Reds still lead the series 2-1 and can close it out with a win on Friday. Caja Laboral Vitoria routed CSKA Moscow 93-72 to force Game 4 after losing the two games in Russia by large margins. Vitoria took control with a 17-3 second-quarter march, led 43-24 at halftime and extended the advantage to 33 in the third quarter in coasting to victory. Thomas Heurtel paced the winners with 21 points on 5-of-6 three-point shooting; Vitoria made 15 of 26 threes (57.7%) for the game. The loss was CSKA’s worst ever in the playoffs. The Fernando Buesa Arena will also host Game 4 on Friday.