Real Madrid were given a tough examination against Unics Kazan but the Liga Endesa side are still top of the pile in the EuroLeague after they recorded a narrow 81-77 win.
Both teams had their runs and their leads in through first three quarters, and early in the fourth, before Madrid went on a 14-4 run to open a 79-70 margin with 2:45 to go, which it never relinquished.
Anthony Randolph paced the league leaders with 19 points. Luka Doncic dished out a career high 11 assists as they secured their eighth straight win.
“I am happy for this win,” Madrid coach Pablo Laso said. “Our rebounding advantage was probably the key, it gave us a lot of opportunities to control the rhythm of the game.
“I don’t think [Sergio] Llull was finding his rhythm, and I think Doncic and [Dontaye] Draper, who came in for him, gave us a lot of things. But I don’t like to talk about individual players. It was a great team job today to win.”
Unics, who had 20 points from Keith Langford, drop to third from bottom.
Unics Kazan’s loss was Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv’s gain as they leapfrogged the Russian side thanks to an 85-84 win over slipping Baskonia.
While Maccabi move up a place in the table, Baskonia, who were fourth last month remain in seventh but are just one win ahead of Anadolu Efes.
Andrew Goudelock led the winners with 21 points.
I am just happy we got the win; we needed it,” a relieved Goudelock said. “We just stuck to the game plan. We were winning at half-time and were focused on coming out and playing with the same energy that we had in the first and second quarters.
“That has been our problem for like the last two months. We came out and did it. I am really proud of everybody.”
Milos Teodosic returned from injury and Nando De Colo went for 25 points as CSKA Moscow bested Crvena Zvezda 102-80 in the Russian capital.
The result keeps CSKA in second while Crvena Zvezda – who had once won seven straight – fall to their second consecutive defeat.
‘Despite the fact that we gave up 80 points, I think our defence was pretty good in the second half,” CSKA coach Dimitris Itoudis said.
“The only thing that I would say is the 20 turnovers, which sometimes because of our wish to play faster, we didn’t read some situations. But overall the 27 assists says how my team wants to play: team basketball, sharing the ball and involving everybody. It’s good to have Milos and Nando back and practicing continuously, so they can get back into their shape. Players are not robots. They come and go with injuries and it’s a process of getting back.”
Luka Mitrovic paced Red Star with 16 points.
Anadolu Efes came back from a 19-point deficit to edge EA7 Milano 90-86 in a thrilling encounter in Istanbul. Efes improved to 11-11 to remain in eighth place in the table, while Milano remain second from bottom.
Thomas Heurtel led the winners with 17 points as their bench scored 61 of the team’s points. Jayson Granger was the only Anadolu Efes starter in double figures with 11 points.
“Maybe we slept in the first half, I don’t know what happened,” Anadolu Efes coach Velimir Perasovic said. “Maybe we were scared, especially how we missed easy shots in the beginning.
“But after the third quarter we changed completely the game. I think we deserved this victory for our fight and our heart. We are still in the race for the playoffs and this is most important.”
Rakim Sanders paced Milan with 18 points.
Panathinaikos scored its seventh straight win at home as they overcame a slow start to beat Brose Bamberg 81-72 in Athens.
After trailing 11-3 in the early stages, Panathinaikos regrouped and controlled the game to build an 11-point lead in the second quarter, a nine-point margin in the third, and an 11-point lead again in the fourth quarter.
But Bamberg kept coming back each time before Mike James scored key baskets that helped Panathinaikos take another cushion and get to victory.
Chris Singleton collected 17 points and s rebounds for Panathinaikos.