Round 17 of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season produced a pair of thrillers among the three Wednesday tip-offs. The champs rallied late to edge Crvena Zvezda behind a strong finish from EuroLeague MVP Vasilije Micic, and later first-place Barcelona erased a 20-point deficit to force overtime and defeat UNICS. In between, ALBA snapped a losing streak by beating Monaco. The season will formally reach its midway point after Thursday’s games, which include the always hot Athens Derby between Panathinaikos and Olympiacos and a showdown between the two winningest teams in EuroLeague history, Real Madrid and CSKA Moscow.
Anadolu Efes Istanbul 84-83 Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade
Anadolu Efes Istanbul rallied from a 7-point deficit in the final 2 minutes to edge Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade 84-83 in Round 17 on Wednesday. Efes improved to 9-8 in the standings while Zvezda dropped to 7-10. Reigning EuroLeague MVP, Vasilije Micic had Efes’s final 10 points, including the game-sealing free throws with 0.9 seconds left. Tibor Pleiss paced the winners with 23 points on 5-of-5 shooting from downtown. Micic added 21, Rodrigue Beaubois scored ten, and Shane Larkin tallied 8 points and nine assists for Efes. Nikola Kalinic led Zvezda with 20 points, Branko Lazic added 13, and Nate Wolters 12 for the visitors.
ALBA Berlin 92-84 AS Monaco
ALBA Berlin got back to winning ways by downing AS Monaco 92-84 on Wednesday night in the German capital. ALBA snapped its three-game losing streak and pushed its record to 6-11, the same as Monaco, which has now lost seven of its last eight games. Ben Lammers paced the hosts with 18 points, and Marcus Eriksson netted 15, Maodo Lo 12, Jaleen Smith 10, and Luke Sikma returned from injury to post 8 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, and two steals. Mike James had 25 points and eight assists for Monaco, and Donatas Motiejunas scored 14 of his 23 points in the first quarter. ALBA used a solid finish for the second quarter to take a 40-30 lead into halftime and controlled the game in the second half before withstanding a fourth-quarter run from Monaco. Alpha Diallo added 11 points, six rebounds, and six assists, and Paris Lee scored 10 in defeat.
FC Barcelona 111-109 UNICS
In an instant classic, FC Barcelona rallied from 20 down to force overtime and beat UNICS Kazan 111-109 at Palau Blaugrana on Wednesday. Barcelona improved to 15-2 in the standings and reached the regular season’s halfway mark in the first place, while UNICS dropped to 10-7. Nikola Mirotic led the winners with 28 points, including three free throws to tie the game with 15.5 seconds left in regulation. Kyle Kuric added 24, Rokas Jokubaitis had 15, Dante Exum 13 and Nico Laprovittola 12. Lorenzo Brown paced UNICS with 27 points, seven rebounds, and nine assists. John Brown III added 21 points, Isaiah Canaan 20, Mario Hezonja 18, and Tonye Jekiri 10. John Brown and Hezonja helped UNICS to a 37-46 halftime lead before Lorenzo Brown scored 13 points in the third quarter, during which the margin reached 20. UNICS led 73-88 with 4 minutes left in regulation, but Exum, Kuric, and Mirotic rallied Barcelona to force overtime, 94-94. Kuric scored 10 points in the extra session to give Barcelona a 111-109 lead, and Lorenzo Brown missed from beyond the arc at the buzzer.