Zalgiris Kaunas defeated Olympiacos in Athens on Friday night in round 29 of the Euroleague. As a result, the Lithuanian team kept their playoff hopes alive.
Zalgiris Kaunas came back from a 12-point deficit in the third quarter (51-39). But they outscored Olympiacos 17-33 in the last 15 minutes of the game and sealed the deal (68-72). Aaron White had 14 points for the winners, whereas Briante Weber led the losing squad with a game-high 26 points.
Both teams now have identical records (14-15), but Zalgiris has the tie-breaker. Olympiacos lost for the eighth time in the last 10 matches. In the final round next week, Olympiacos welcomes Darussafaka (April 5). Zalgiris Kaunas, on the other hand, will travel to Madrid to face already-qualified Real on Thursday (April 4).
In the other matches, Anadolu Efes and CSKA Moscow earned impressive road wins over Baskonia and Khimki, respectively.
In a close game at the Fernando Buesa Arena, the visiting Efes took off in the fourth quarter. That’s when they took a double-digit lead (78-91) and cruised to the victory (92-102).
Tibor Pleiss and Adrien Moerman had 21 points apiece for the Turkish winners. Luca Vildoza posted a game-high 23 points for the losing home team.
Anadolu Efes, which has already secured the fourth place in the EuroLeague standings, improved to a 19-10 record. On the other hand, Baskonia dropped to 15-14 but is currently sixth in the standings and most likely to also make the playoffs.
In Friday night’s Russian derby CSKA Moscow led by as many as 19 points against Khimki (42-61) and cruise controlled to an unchallenged victory (72-80). Thanks to this victory, CSKA secured the second place in the EuroLeague regular season standings.
Nando De Colo posted 14 points for CSKA. Alexey Shved had 17 points and seven assists for Khimki.
CSKA improved to a 23-6 record, while the already eliminated Khimki dropped to 9-19.
The big upset of the night took place in Istanbul. There, home team Darussafaka came back from a double-digit deficit on several occasions and beat Bayern Munich (92-87). Thereby shattering the Germans playoff hopes.
Toney Douglas and Jeremy Evans led Darussafaka with 26 and 23 points, respectively. On the other hand, Petteri Koponen had a team-high 23 points for Bayern Munich.
Darussafaka improved to a 5-24 record but remained on the bottom of the table. Bayern Munich dropped to 13-16 and is now eliminated from the playoffs. That must be a big disappointment for the Bavarians. At home in Germany, Bayern Munich is almost unbeatable in the BBL league.
Next week, Anadolu Efes will face Armani Milano at home (April 4). At the same time, Baskonia will travel to Moscow to face CSKA (also on April 4).
Olympiacos, Zalgiris Kaunas, Baskonia and Armani Milano all have to beat their respective opponents to avoid elimination. In theory, six teams are fighting for the last two playoff spots with only one last game to go in the Euroleague regular season.