There are just three games left in the Euroleague Top 16 after Round 12 wrapped on Friday, and with the Play-Offs looming the qualification places are dwindling. Barcelona was the latest club to punch its ticket to the next round; the Spanish club did not play tonight, but a favour from arch rival Real Madrid sealed the deal. Los Blancos defeated current Euroleague champs Maccabi Tel Aviv to leave just two places up from grabs in Group E.
Panathinaikos enhanced its chances of claiming a Play-Off berth in Group E with a narrow road win over the already eliminated Galatasaray. In Group F there is only one more qualification place remaining, but the picture is hardly clearer after Round 12. Four teams can still grab that spot, but already qualified CSKA Moscow continued its good run with a win over fellow Russians Nizhny Novgorod.
Real Madrid vs. Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv, 81-70
In a re-match of last season’s Euroleague final, Real Madrid bested current champions Maccabi Tel Aviv to ensure home court advantage in the Play-Offs. The Spanish giant moved to 10-2 at the top of Group E, while Tel Aviv (7-5) will have to wait for qualification and is actually getting dragged into a battle with Panathinaikos and ALBA Berlin.
The best assisting team in the Top 16, Real Madrid was facing a Tel Aviv outfit with the best block rate in the competition. However, the Spaniards managed to spread the scoring passes around again with 23 assists dished out through the game. The hosts used a huge 27-13 run through the first quarter to set up victory and eased through the second half to victory.
Jaycee Carroll hit 18 points for the winners, while Felipe Reyes secured 16 points and 9 rebounds. Gustavo Ayon logged 11 points and 7 boards, with Sergio Llull offering 11 points and 9 assists.
Brian Randle paced Maccabi Tel Aviv with 17 points, followed by Jeremy Pargo with 14 points (7 rebounds), while Devin Smith and Joe Alexander grabbed 11 points apiece.
Galatasaray Liv Hospital vs. Panathinaikos Athens, 84-86
Panathinaikos Athens edged Galatasaray in Istanbul to put some distance between it and ALBA Berlin. With a loss, the Greens and ALBA would have been equal on 6-6 in a share of fourth place, but instead Panathinaikos moved to 7-5 locked in a fight for third place with Maccabi Tel Aviv. As for Galatasaray, the hosts were already eliminated and slipped to its ninth consecutive defeat in the Top 16.
Panathinaikos drained six triples (13 overall) in the fourth quarter to take the game after both clubs were locked at 59-59 through thirty minutes. James Gist and Estaben Batista led the Greeks with 14 points each, while Vladimir Jankovic posted 13 points and Dimitris Diamantidis logged 11 points.
Patric Young kept Galatasaray ticking on the scoreboard with a game high 24 points, while he also pulled 9 off the glass. Zoran Erceg was good for 19 points and Vladimir Micov was an attacking threat with 17 points and 7 assists.
Nizhny Novgorod vs. CSKA Moscow, 82-86
CSKA Moscow visited Russian rival Nizhny Novgorod and left with a victory that ensured home court advantage in the Play-Offs. The victory sent CSKA to 10-2 alongside Fenerbahce at the top of the Group F standings, while it has made life difficult for Nizhny. The Novgorod based club now sits seventh with a 3-9 record and will have to win all of its games and hope for other results to fall perfectly to stand any chance of progression.
It was all going so well for the hosts too, with Nizhny pulling off a stunning first half in the attacking paint to lead 55-42 at the long break. However, CSKA showed its class at both ends of the floor in a 7-25 run through the third act before carrying its momentum into the fourth quarter to win the game. Nizhny lost just one quarter in the game, but it was enough to make the difference.
Sonny Weems helped to drag CSKA Moscow from a 15 point losing deficit on his way to 21 points, while Sasha Kaun added 16 points and Milos Teodosic added 13 points.
Taylor Rochesite matched Weems to 21 points and added 6 assists to his stats. Tarence Kinsey scored 17 points in the losing effort, while Trey Thompkins nailed 13 points and took 9 rebounds.