Round 23 began on Thursday with three games. In the early game, Zenit protected its home court against the champs behind a career-high 21 points from Alex Poythress. Then Zvezda became the first visiting team to leave Piraeus with a victory when it bested Olympiacos. In the nightcap, Barcelona blasted ASVEL. Friday brings five more games, including a clash between Russian clubs, UNICS Kazan vs. CSKA Moscow, and the battle for the pride of Germany, Bayern vs. ALBA.
Zenit St Petersburg 76-67 Anadolu Efes Istanbul
Zenit St Petersburg dominated the third quarter and held on in the fourth to defeat defending champion Anadolu Efes Istanbul 76-67 on Thursday night at Sibur Arena. Alex Poythress shined with a career-high 21 points plus nine rebounds to lead Zenit, which matched AX Armani Exchange Milan on victories for third place and improved to 13-7 on the season. Jordan Mickey added 15 points, Billy Baron scored 13 with five assists, and Jordan Loyd tallied 8 points and eight assists. Vasilije Micic led the Efes attack with 22 points but delivered only three assists and committed seven turnovers. Krunoslav Simon added 17 points, and Adrien Moerman scored 11. The loss dropped Efes to 10-11.
Olympiacos Piraeus 72-76 Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade
Crvena Zvezda Belgrade left Peace and Friendship Stadium with a big road win, 72-76, over Olympiacos Piraeus on Thursday night. The visitors built a 10-point margin in the first quarter, but most of it evaporated before the break, and the lead was 36-37 at halftime. A 3-13 run early in the third quarter granted Zvezda a 42-50 advantage that was reduced to 67-68 late in the fourth, but Olympiacos’s rally came up short as Ognjen Dobric capped a 0-6 spark with a dunk entering the last minute. The Serbian guard was Zvezda’s top scorer with 14 points, followed by Nikola Kalinic, who provided 12. The result snapped a three-game losing streak for Zvezda, which improved to 8-12. Sasha Vezenkov posted 20 points and eight rebounds, while Kostas Sloukas scored 18 points for Olympiacos, which dropped to 12-8 after losing its first home game this season and third in a row overall.
FC Barcelona 84-71 LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne
FC Barcelona never trailed and led by as many as 25 en route to an 84-71 victory over LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne on Thursday night at Palau Blaugrana. Nicolas Laprovittola scored 12 of his team-high 20 points in the third quarter to help the hosts put the game away early. Nikola Mirotic added 16 points and seven rebounds, and Brandon Davies scored 11 for Barcelona, which improved to 17-5 on the season. Youssoupha Fall paced ASVEL with 20 points and seven rebounds, and Elie Okobo tallied 17 points and eight assists in defeat. The result dropped ASVEL’s record to 9-13.