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Euroleague: Madrid falls, Barcelona rolls on

The quarterfinal picture in Euroleague Group E got much clearer on Thursday as three clubs clinched spots. It was very unceremonious as three of the four teams involved lost their Week 12 matches, but the key loss was No. 5 club Unicaja Malaga falling to CSKA Moscow to give them a three-game cushion with only two weeks to play. Not only did CSKA lock up their seat in the quarterfinals, but so did Anadolu Efes and Real Madrid, even though both of those clubs lost their Week 12 matches as well. All three clubs are now tied for the top of Group E with 9-3 records. The loss for Madrid was their second straight. Barcelona continued to dominate Group F with an 83:74 win over Caja Laboral to improve their Top 16 record to 11-1. Friday’s games could potentially shake up Group F a bit as No. 2 (tied) Olympiacos Piraeus hosts No. 5 Maccabi Electra. The other two games will only cause movement if there are upsets as winless Besiktas JK hosts No. 2 (tied) Montepaschi Siena and No. 4 Khimki MR hosts No. 7 Fenerbahce Ulker.

Thursday, March 21, 2013
Real Madrid – Panathinaikos Athens, 73:74
Panathinaikos Athens took a big step towards the Euroleague quarterfinals Thursday with a huge win over Group E leader Real Madrid, 73:74, on Madrid’s home court. The last 18 of 20 points scored during the game were free throws and neither team was able to build a lead during the game of more than seven points.

Madrid opened the scoring, but Panathinaikos used a 0:9 run early on to build a 14:17 lead after the first quarter. The two clubs battled for the lead for the better part of the second quarter, but Kostas Tsartsaris and Dimitris Diamantidis knocked down consecutive triples as part of the guests 1:10 run late in the quarter to get up by 10, but the hosts chipped away as time ran out in the half to cut the gap to five at the break, 33:38.

The hosts went right at the Greens and were able to knot the score at 38. It was an exchange-fest for most of the 10, until Madrid ran off eight unanswered to get up seven, 53:46. Roko Ukic popped a three-ball at the buzzer to cut the margin to four, 53:49, heading into the final frame.

Panathinaikos got a three-pointer by Jonas Maciulis to start the fourth and shortly after they had pulled ahead, 57:58. Madrid shut their guests down briefly, while they tallied up six to go up 63:58. The Greens put together a classic run of their own that gave them a three-point lead, 63:66. Panathinaikos won the battle of the stripe, even with some poor shooting in the final seconds, but Sergio Llull also split two pair of singles down the stretch and the Greens were able to hold on giving them an 8-4 record and a single win away from grabbing the final spot in Group E.

Tsartsaris’ 16 points were team-high, Diamantidis added 14 points and 8 assists, Ukic hit 12 points and 6 rebounds; Stephane Lasme scored 10 and grabbed 5 rebounds for the victors.

Rudy Fernandez and Nikola Mirotic tallied 17 each for Real Madrid.

Zalgiris Kaunas – Anadolu Efes, 79:71

Unicaja Malaga – CSKA Moscow, 66:70

Barcelona Regal – Caja Laboral, 83:74

Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Brose Baskets – Alba Berlin, 72:75

Euroleague Group E

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Euroleague Group F

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