The battle for the EuroLeague playoffs intensifies

Khimki, Zalgiris Kaunas and Fenerbahce claimed crucial victories in Round 26 and remained alive in the EuroLeague playoffs race.

The Muscovites boosted their playoff hopes after decimating ASVEL Villeurbanne 108-79 at home.

Alexey Shved was the star performer with a double-double of 24 points and 13 assists. Five more players scored in double figures for the winners.

Adreian Payne paced ASVEL with 14 points and 6 rebounds.

Khimki improved to 12-14 and entered the playoff zone, whereas ASVEL fell to 9-17, three wins off the eighth place.

Zalgiris defeated Armani Milano in overtime at the Zalgirio Arena (105-97) and continued its epic comeback.

The game saw several ups and downs and lead changes, yet the hosts took over in the extra period and sealed the deal.

Both teams have identical records (11-15), with the Lithuanians being one game below the playoffs border.

For their part, the Italians are still in free fall, after losing for the seventh time in the last eight EuroLeague matches.

Nigel Hayes set a new career high in the EuroLeague with 21 points for the winners.

Sergio Rodriguez had 18 points and eight assists for the losing squad, yet he was forced to leave the game due to injury.

Fenerbahce grabbed its fifth consecutive road win by downing Valencia 86-93 at La Fonteta.

Both teams have a 12-14 record and are within the EuroLeague playoffs zone.

The Turks have the tie-break advantage over the Spaniards, who beat the Turkish powerhouse in overtime earlier this season.

Derrick Williams led the winners with 22 points.

As mentioned above, the battle for the EuroLeague playoffs intensifies. Valencia, Fenerbahce and Khimki are tied for the final playoff spot (12-14), while Zalgiris, Olympiacos and Armani are just one victory below.

The aforementioned teams are at 11-15, with the “Reds” having the toughest schedule in the next eight rounds.

At the same time, Panathinaikos’ qualification for the postseason is also in jeopardy, despite its sixth place.

The “Greens” have a 14-12 record, however they have lost two straight and four of their last five games.

Concurrently, they will face Olympiacos, CSKA Moscow and Fenerbahce in the next three rounds and it is not unlikely their losing streak will be extended to five games.

Following Friday’s results, Real Madrid became the third team that advances to the postseason after Barcelona and Anadolu Efes.

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