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EuroLeague Recap, Round 21

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CSKA Moscow made the final step for first place after Round 21st, taking three victories advantage from Olympiacos and Fenerbahce. Zalgiris Kaunas catched Panathinaikos and Real Madrid for the fourth position battle, that now will have also Khimki Moscow involved, while Baskonia cut the distance from Maccabi Tel Aviv for last place. At bottom victories for Bamberg, Armani Exchange Milano and Anadolu Efes.

With the 33-11 at the end of 1st period CSKA Moscow put on safety the victory against Real Madrid, despite some risks during last quarter. Rodriguez, Higgins and Hunter were the main protagonists of impressive first half by russians, with Laso’s team totally unable to compete and practically totally out of the game (54-31 at halftime). CSKA can control without difficulties the game until the end of third quarter (78-68 at 30’), when Real Madrid with Reyes, Thompkins and Carrol tried the last desperate attempt to reopen the game, but spanish disadvantage never went under eight points, with Itoudis team that conquer, probably, the decisive victory for lock first place.

Almost the same script, but for entire game, for Olympiacos which back to victory at home against Fenerbahce for the second big match of the round. An impressive performance from behind the arc (13/17 at the end of game) pushed Sfairopoulos’ team already from first period, with the 34-18 at the buzzer that practically closed the game, because Fenerbahce, despite some attempts without conviction to comeback (45-36 at halftime), played probably at the worst version with all players, excepted Muhammad, totally under their standard. So victory for Olympiacos hadn’t discussions (71-54 at 30’), permitting to back at second position with precious 2-0 at tie breaker against turkish.

Panathinaikos missed a huge chance to reach Olympiacos and Fenerbahce at second position after disasterous defeats at Brose Bamberg home. German team lead the game for all duration with Greens in total trouble especially in defense, but despite all an impressive performance of Nick Calathes during third quarter re opened the game (57-55 at 30’) before collapse at last ten minutes, with Rubit and Wright that lead Bamberg to 38-19 partial score for a very huge victory that maybe will not be useful for play offs hopes, but for sure give prestige to the season.

Home victory for Zalgiris Kaunas, that with a 14/23 from three points line, reject all ambitions of Maccabi Tel Aviv. Toupane, with 11 points during first quarter, gave the first break to lithuanians (26-20 at 10’), which touched +14 (37-23) during second period. Jackson, Parakhouski and Roll that lead visitors to a comeback (53-46 at halftime) until -1 at the beginning of third quarter (55-54), but Pangos, Jankunas and Ulanovas lead Jasikevicius’ team for a huge partial score that practically closed the game (76-62 at 30’), with last ten minutes whitout discussions for final score. A tap in buzzer beater made by Gill gave to Khimki Moscow a thriller but crucial home victory against Unicaja Malaga that, probably, lost the last chance to compete for play off. After a first quarter poor of points (9-11 at 10’), spanish with Suarez, Milosavljevic and Waczynski run away during second quarter, taking eight points advantage at halftime (31-39). Khimki, with Jenkins and Anderson, cut the gap during third quarter, but Malaga was able to keep advantage (49-55 at 30’) until 6’40” to end, when Honeycutt tie the game (55-55) giving the start for a thriller final. Waczynski gave again six points advantage to Malaga (60-66 at 2’02” to end), but russians didn’t gave up and with Anderson tie again the game at 43” to end (66-66). Waczynski missed the crucial three pointer, imitate by Shved at opposite side, but Gill correct the mistake at buzzer and gave a the crucial victory to Khimki that now can fight for fourth position.

Large home victory for Baskonia in a not contest game against Crvena Zvezda useful to keep open the hopes for play off, now distant just one victory. Beaubois with 14 points pushed basques during first quarter, closed already with double digit advantage (27-17), increased until +17 (38-21) after 13 minutes, before back to locker rooms for halftime up by 13 (53-40). Crvena Zvezda, practically, never was able to compete, with Baskonia that control the situation without problems until final buzzer (75-59 at 30’), touching twenty points advantage (101-81) as maximum difference. For the bottom of ranking, a jump shot made by Bertans gave to Armani Exchange Milano the victory at Barcelona home after a points by points game, while Anadolu Efes have had one of the few satisfaction of this season with a large victory against Valencia, thanks above all of very good performances by McCollum and Dragic, but they remained still at last position, with spanish that lost last hopes for stay close to play offs area. Big match of round 22 will be played in Madrid between Real and Olympiacos, with also a very interesting Panathinaikos-Baskonia, with greeks called to have a reaction also for keep the position at top 4 and basques that are fighting to reach play offs area. According to previous not difficult games for CSKA Moscow at Valencia and for Fenerbahce at home with Bamberg, while Zalgiris Kaunas will receive at home Khimki Moscow for another very interesting game. Will close the program Unicaja Malaga-Anadolu Efes and Crvena Zvezda-Armani Exchange Milano.

Ranking after round 21

01 CSKA Moscow 17-4
02 Olympiacos 14-7
03 Fenerbahce 14-7
04 Real Madrid 13-8
05 Panathinaikos 13-8
06 Zalgiris Kaunas 13-8
07 Khimki Moscow 12-9
08 Maccabi Tel Aviv 11-10
09 Baskonia 10-11
10 Unicaja Malaga 8-13
11 Crvena Zvezda 8-13
12 Brose Bamberg 8-13
13 Barcelona 7-14
14 Valencia 7-14
15 Armani Exchange Milano 7-14
16 Anadolu Efes 6-15

Next round (22th)

Thursday 08/02
Maccabi Tel Aviv-Barcelona h. 21.05
Panathinaikos-Baskonia h. 21.15
Valencia-CSKA Moscow h. 21.30
Unicaja Malaga-Anadolu Efes h. 21.45
Friday 09/02
Fenerbahce-Bamberg h. 19.45
Crvena Zvezda-Armani Exchange Milano h. 20.00
Zalgiris Kaunas-Khimki Moscow h. 20.00
Real Madrid-Olympiacos h. 21.45

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