Euroleague Playoffs action heats up

Euroleague Playoffs

Three games into the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Playoffs and so far only one team has made it through into the semifinals. Three other quarterfinal match-ups are still being resolved. FC Regal Barcelona swept Galatasaray Liv Hospital Istanbul 3-0 to move on. Olympiacos S.F.P. Pireus did allow themselves to suffer the same fate that befell Galatasaray by stifling Real Madrid 78-76, keeping their hopes alive with a 1-2 series. Panathinaikos Athens beat CSKA Moscow by six points to keep their playoff hopes alive. Maccabi Electra Tel-Aviv came up with a convincing 75-63 victory over EA7 Emporio Armani Milano to take a one-game lead in their series, 2-1.

Here is Barca’s series-sweeping game versus Galatasaray.

Olympiacos vs. Real Madrid, 78-76

As they say “when the going gets tough, the tough get going” and that is exactly what the 2013 Euroleague defending champions did in their must-win game against this year’s tournament favorites. The Red and Whites started off strong and ended the first quarter 23-15. They were able to hold their momentum and keep pace with Real Madrid’s offense in the second and third periods. And when push came to shove in the final quarter, Olympiacos scored just enough to keep their competition at bay and come out on top.

Olympiacos was led by Bryant Dunston who finished with a game-high 21 points and nine rebounds, while veteran guard Vassilis Spanoulis added 17 points and four assists.

Sergio Rodriguez’ 19 points and Rudy Fernandez’ 18, were not enough to book Real Madrid’s seat in the Final Four. Sergio Llull chipped in 16 points, while Felipe Reyes contributed 13 of his own.

Panathinaikos Athens vs. CSKA Moscow, 65-59

Yet another Greek club was able to extend its stay in the Euroleague playoffs as Panathinaikos avoided being swept out of contention by CSKA Moscow. Panathinaikos took advantage of a sluggish first period by CSKA, which was only able to post 11 points on the board. The Russian club turned things around in the second period and outscored Panathinaikos 24-21 to trail just by six at the half, 35-41. Action slowed after the break as defense was intensified by both teams. Panathinaikos put up more points in the final period and prevailed in the end.

Sonny Weems and Vitaly Fridzon were the only CSKA players to score in double figures, with 14 and 10 points respectively. Andrey Vorontsevich and Vladimir Micov added seven points each. Stephane Lasme led the victors with 13 points, while Zach Wright contributed 10 points and 8 rebounds.

Maccabi Tel-Aviv vs. EA7 Emporio Armani, 75-63

This is a back-and-forth battle, with each team trading games. Maccabi Electra Tel-Aviv took home a convincing 12-point win to pull ahead 2-1 in their series against EA7 Armani. Both teams kept the contest close in the beginning, with Armani taking a one-point lead,16-15 at the end of the first quarter. Maccabi surged ahead in the second frame thanks to a 24-13 rally and entered halftime with a comfortable 10-point advantage, 39-29. After the break, the team from Israel followed through with their strong play and ballooned their lead to 16 points after three periods. Armani could not put together enough of a push in fourth to come close enough to take the win.

Maccabi’s David Blu finished with a game-high 16 points. Richard Hickman delivered 15 points and six assists. Armani was led by Daniel Hackett who ended the night with 14 points and six rebounds.

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