Three more Euroleague playoff spots filled

Friday’s action saw reigning champs Anadolu Efes Istanbul rally from 15 points down to beat ALBA Berlin and clinch a place in the playoffs. With that outcome, AS Monaco also punched its playoffs ticket. FC Bayern Munich completed the playoffs picture by thrashing Crvena Zvezda Belgrade, while Olympiacos Piraeus downed league leaders FC Barcelona and Bitci Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz overcame Zalgiris Kaunas.

Anadolu Efes clinches Euroleague playoff spot

Anadolu Efes Istanbul 87-77 ALBA Berlin

Efes stormed into the playoffs by downing ALBA Berlin 87-77 at home, improving to 15-11 and mathematically qualifying to the next phase, while ALBA dropped to 11-15. With this result, AS Monaco also reaches the playoffs. Shane Larkin led the winners with 28 points. Elijah Bryant added 14, while Adrien Moerman had 13 for Efes. Oscar Da Silva led ALBA with 20 points. The visitors had a 15-point lead, 19-34, but James Anderson, Tibor Pleiss, and Moerman fueled a 13-0 run that brought Efes within 36-39 at halftime. Larkin took over after the break, getting help from Moerman to give Efes a 62-57 lead after 30 minutes. ALBA managed to get within 70-69, but Bryant and an outstanding Larkin made sure Efes punched its ticket to the playoffs.

Olympiacos Piraeus 73-66 FC Barcelona

Olympiacos Piraeus battled hard to overcome FC Barcelona 73-66 and finish its regular season on a high note. First-placed Barca drops to 21-6, while Olympiacos finishes the regular season 19-9. The visitors led from the first possession and were up 33-40 at the break, but Olympiacos kept fighting, and after a fourth quarter featuring several lead changes, the Reds pulled away. Shaquielle McKissic powered the home team with 20 points, while Sertac Sanli top-scored for Barca with 13 points.

FC Bayern Munich 82-57 Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade

FC Bayern Munich qualified for the playoffs by thrashing Crvena Zvezda Belgrade 82-57 at Audi Dome. Bayern improved to 13-12 and mathematically advanced to the next round. Zvezda dropped to 11-15 and is out of contention to reach the next round. Augustine Rubit led the winners with 22 points, and Nikola Kalinic led Zvezda with 12 points. Kalinic and Nate Wolters allowed Zvezda to get a 15-18 lead after 10 minutes, but Rubit took over in the second quarter, and after the break, Bayern found a go-to guy in Jaramaz, allowing the hosts to cruise home.

Bitci Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz 96-79 Zalgiris Kaunas

Bitci Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz led from start to finish in its season finale, beating Zalgiris Kaunas 96-79 on Friday night at Buesa Arena. Baskonia finishes with a 12-16 record, while Zalgiris drops to 7-20 with one game to go. Baskonia used a massive first quarter in which it made 4-of-5 triples and 9-of-10 two-point shots to open a 35-15 lead, and Zalgiris never threatened after that. Baskonia had seven scorers in double figures. Steven Enoch scored 18, and Rokas Giedraitis had 17. Lukas Lekavicius led Zalgiris with a game-high 20 points.

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