The longest game of the season so far, with Real (17-3) outlasting Monaco in double-overtime, was long enough for the Spanish powerhouse to retain its top spot in the standings despite four of the next six teams coming into Round 23 also winning. Barcelona (17-5) and Milan (14-6) stay second and third after solid home wins. Zenit (13-7) moved up to the fourth place and CSKA fifth (13-8) after home losses by Olympiacos (12-8) and UNICS (12-9), who are now sixth and seventh. And to end the round, Bayern (11-11) snuck into the eighth and final playoffs spot by winning the German Derby against ALBA (6-15) in comeback fashion. Zvezda (8-12) ended the nine-game home winning streak of Olympiacos while Panathinaikos (5-15) took its first victory of 2022 at home. All those teams and more are back for a rousing double-round week starting on Tuesday, February 1. Don’t miss it!
Round 23, Friday
UNICS Kazan 75-86 CSKA Moscow
CSKA Moscow returned to winning ways and avenged a recent defeat by downing host UNICS Kazan 75-86 at Basket Hall on Friday. CSKA improved to 13-8 in the standings while UNICS dropped to 12-9. Alexey Shved led the winners with 27 points. Nikola Milutinov added 17, while Will Clyburn had 16 for CSKA. Mario Hezonja and Lorenzo Brown led UNICS with 21 points apiece. Tonye Jekiri added 11 for the guests. Lorenzo Brown stepped up early, getting help from Jekiri to give UNICS a 20-16 lead after 10 minutes. Milutinov and Iffe Lundberg fueled a 0-10 second-quarter run, allowing CSKA to take a 32-37 edge at halftime. After the break, Johannes Voigtmann and Shved took over, making it a double-digit game, 40-50. Hezonja and Brown brought UNICS within 66-67, but Shved and an unstoppable Clyburn took over in crunch time to lead CSKA to an important victory.
AS Monaco 84-90 Real Madrid
Real Madrid outlasted AS Monaco 84-90 in a back and forth double-overtime battle on Friday night. Monaco used a 9-0 first-quarter run to take early control, and the home team stayed in front until a 1-10 run restored Real’s advantage midway through the second. The visitors led 34-35 at the break and gradually extended that advantage to 9 points in the third period, but Monaco battled back to lead 57-56 at the end of the third with a 10-0 run. The hosts led 66-60 with two minutes left, but Real battled back to force overtime, which again couldn’t split the teams until Real finally controlled the second extra period. Guerschon Yabusele powered Real with 18 points and ten rebounds, while Vincent Poirier also had a double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds. Thomas Heurtel orchestrated the offense with 10 points and nine assists. Monaco’s Dwayne Bacon and Alpha Diallo led the scoring with 19 points apiece. Danilo Andjusic added 14 points, while Donatas Motiejunas had a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds. Real has now won seven straight and sits top of the standings with an 18-3 record, while Monaco remains just outside the playoffs places at 10-12.
Panathinaikos OPAP Athens 75-63 Bitci Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz
Panathinaikos OPAP Athens snapped its five-game losing streak by racing past short-handed Bitci Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz 75-63 for its first EuroLeague win of 2022. Panathinaikos did a good job bouncing back from its heartbreaking loss to Anadolu Efes Istanbul with a defense that allowed just 20 points in the first half. Nemanja Nedovic, at the other end, led the offense with 16 points while Jeremy Evans scored 14 points and Okaro White chipped in 12 points in helping the Greek side improve to 5-15. Panathinaikos used an 11-0 run early and opened a 16 point lead in the first quarter. The margin grew to 19 points late in the second quarter, to 25 points in the third quarter and as many as 27 points early in the last period. Baskonia was able to get within 13 points but did not have enough in falling to 7-14 with now a three-game losing streak as well as a 2-9 road record. Wade Baldwin IV paced Baskonia with 16 points and eight assists while Rokas Giedraitis scored 12 points, Simone Fontecchio added 11, and Steven Enoch tallied 11 points and 11 rebounds.
AX Armani Exchange Milan 65-58 Zalgiris Kaunas
AX Armani Exchange Milan protected its home court and continued on the winning path by holding off depleted Zalgiris Kaunas 65-58 on Friday night. The win improved Milan to 14-7 in third place in the standings, while Zalgiris dropped to 3-16, remaining in last place. Milan grabbed control of the game in the second quarter, took a 9-point lead into halftime, and led by as many as 14 points in the third quarter. Zalgiris never went away, however, and got within 61-54 with 2:30 to play, but could not get closer than that. Devon Hall and Troy Daniels scored 12 apiece, and Sergio Rodriguez had 10 points in the victory. Marek Blazevic and Lukas Lekavicius scored 13 apiece for the visitors, and Tyler Cavanaugh scored 10 for Zalgiris, which was missing Josh Nebo, Paulius Jankunas, and Janis Strelnieks.
FC Bayern Munich 62-56 ALBA Berlin
FC Bayern Munich grabbed its third consecutive victory by downing ALBA Berlin 62-56 at Audi Dome on Friday in a thrilling German derby. Bayern improved to 11-11 and moved into eighth place, while ALBA dropped to 6-15 and is on a four-game losing streak. Vladimir Lucic led the winners with 19 points. Jaleen Smith and Maodo Lo paced ALBA with 13 points apiece. Corey Walden hit back-to-back triples to give Bayern an early 10-8 lead, but Smith and Johannes Thiemann allowed ALBA to tie the game, 16-16, after 10 minutes. Lucic gave Bayern a 26-21 late in the first half, but Ben Lammers, Lo, and Smith fueled a 1-17 run that gave ALBA a 31-41 margin midway through the third quarter. Walden and Andreas Obst helped the hosts return to the game, 41-44, after 30 minutes. Lo turned the game into a thriller, 53-52, but Zan Sisko and Lucic stepped up big in crunch time to lead Bayern to an important win.