Euroleague: Panathinaikos, Madrid advance to playoffs

Euroleague: Panathinaikos, Madrid advance to playoffs

The final two-round Euroleague week of the season tipped off on Tuesday and saw Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens and Real Madrid punch their playoff tickets, even though the latter side lost on the road.

All four Tuesday games were won by the hosts, including Zalgiris Kaunas, which – like Khimki Moscow Region, could potentially advance on Wednesday.

Fenerbahce is closer to clinching home-court advantage for the playoffs after beating Maccabi 87-73 at Ulker Sports Arena on Tuesday. Fenerbahce improved to 19-8 in the standings while dropping Maccabi to 13-14. Maccabi started strong and led 18-26 midway through the second quarter, but Kostas Sloukas, Luigi Datome and Brad Wanamaker combined for 25 points in the final six minutes of the first half to give Fenerbahce the lead for good, 45-36. The hosts boosted their margin to 74-56 after 30 minutes and never looked back. Marko Guduric led the winners with 23 points on 5-of-6 three-point shooting and Datome added 16 for Fenerbahce. Pierre Jackson led Maccabi with 13 points.

Aaron White single-handedly outscored Milan 14-3 in a run that bridged the third and fourth quarters to give Zalgiris control for good en route to a 77-65 victory on Tuesday at Zalgirio Arena. The visitors led by 5 late in the third quarter, but once the Lithuanian champs got going they never stopped in improving their record to 16-11. Aaron White finished with 16 points and 8 rebounds to lead Zalgiris, while Kevin Pangos dished 10 assists. Former Zalgiris center Arturas Gudaitis shined with 19 points and 10 rebounds for Milan in a defeat that dropped the team's record to 9-18.

Panathinaikos secured its place in the playoffs with a 91-71 victory over visiting Crvena Zvezda on Tuesday night. The win lifted Panathinaikos to 16-11 and part of a three-way tie for fourth place. The Greens led from start to finish, opening the game with a 17-2 lead to take control and then used a big start to the third quarter to pull away to a 20-point margin that broke the game open. Nick Calathes starred in victory with 17 points, 10 assists, a career-high 6 steals and 5 rebounds in less than 25 minutes. Chris Singleton had 21 points on 4-for-5 three-point shooting as Panathinaikos saw each player play at least nine minutes and score at least 2 points. Dejan Davidovac netted 17 points for Crvena Zvezda, which dropped to 11-16 and was mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.

In an all-Spanish showdown in the EuroLeague, Valencia bested Madrid 96-88 at home on Tuesday. Valencia improved to 10-17 in the standings and Madrid dropped to 16-11. Despite the loss, Madrid had reason to smile; ⟨i⟩Los Blancos⟨/i⟩ qualified for the playoffs earlier when Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul topped Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv. Bojan Dubljevic led the winners with 17 points and Tibor Pleiss added 14. Valencia led 46-40 at halftime and extended its margin to 70-60 after 30 minutes. Madrid managed to get within 80-75 with four minutes left, but Joan Sastre had 9 points in crunch time to seal a prestigious home win for Valencia. Facu Campazzo and Jeffery Taylor led Madrid with 17 points apiece. Campazzo added 12 assists for a double-double.

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