FC Barcelona fights back to remain alive in EuroLeague playoffs

FC Barcelona survived an overtime thriller against Zenit Saint Petersburg and remained alive in the EuroLeague playoff series.

The Catalans managed to bounced back from their loss in Game 1 and defeated the Russians at home (81-78) to even the series (1-1).

The hosts led by nine at halftime (38-29), but the visitors came back and tied the game at 66. Kevin Pangos had the chance to give his team the win, but he missed the two-pointer and the match went into overtime.

In the extra period, Adam Hanga made some crucial plays (a big three-pointer and a steal in Zenit’s final possession) and handed his team the win.

“I think my guys don’t understand one main thing: that is supposed to be difficult. It is supposed to be hard. We are trying and fighting for the Final Four against a very good team.

And of course, we are nervous because we lost the first game. We didn’t compete well. We put ourselves in a hole and now it is up to us to dig ourselves out of this hole,” FC Barcelona head coach Sarunas Jasikevicius told reporters, via the official website of the EuroLeague.

The best-of-five EuroLeague playoff series is now moving to Saint Petersburg, where Zenit will host Games 3 and 4 next week.

CSKA Moscow protected its home court and took a commanding 2-0 lead in the EuroLeague playoff series against Fenerbahce.

The Muscovites endured the comeback of the Turks and claimed the 78-67 victory to move within a win of a record-breaking ninth consecutive EuroLeague Final Four.

Fenerbahce was down by eight at halftime (50-42), but cut the deficit to one, thanks to a 2-9 run (52-51). Yet, the hosts stood tall and sealed the deal in the fourth quarter.

With a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five EuroLeague playoff series, CSKA will have three chances, if needed, to reach its ninth consecutive EuroLeague Final Four, which no team has done before.

“This is just 2-0 in the best-of-five series, so a long way to go; we believe that,” Fenerbahce assistant coach Erdem Can said afterwards.

Game 3 will take place in Istanbul next Wednesday and Fenerbahce hopes all players will be available. The visitors had to play without several players and head coach Igor Kokoskov, due to the coronavirus.

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