Fenerbahce took a crucial step towards a third straight EuroLeague Final Four as they beat Panathinaikos 80-75 in Athens in Game 2 of the Playoffs.
The series now heads to the Ulker Sports Arena in Istanbul for Game 3 where Fenerbahce can compete their third straight Playoff sweep en route to the Final Four. Panathinaikos need to win three straight games in order to reach the EuroLeague’s showpiece finale at the end of May.
Bogdan Bogdanovic paced Fenerbahce with 25 points in the narrow victory overseen by another sell-out crowd in the Greek capital.
“We go step by step, nothing is over,” Bogdanovic said. “They lost twice, it can happen to anyone and we need to stay calm and focussed. We need one more win for the Final Four.
“This was a one-possession game. K.C. Rivers missed a three-point shot after my mistake, I turned it over. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. I don’t like to talk about myself. We played excellent as a team and I’m proud of my team-mates.”
CSKA Moscow also took a 2-0 series lead as a pair of free throws by Kyle Hines with 1.1 seconds left gave the hosts an 84-82 win over Baskonia.
The Muscovites led by as many as 17 points in the third quarter behind a red-hot Milos Teodosic, but Shane Larkin and Johannes Voigtmann fueled a late Baskonia comeback that saw the visitors tie the game on a Rodrigue Beaubois triple with 12 seconds remaining.
Then Hines did the rest.
Teodosic led CSKA with 16 points, cancelling out a 21-point effort by Beaubois for Baskonia.
We had a big lead, I can’t remember exactly what it was, we allowed them to make some big shots because they put pressure on us that allowed them to come back,” Hines said.
“But we were able to make plays down the stretch. Aaron [Jackson] had a big layup, a big finish and we had a couple big stops, so we were able to make pays and finish the game. And that’s what the Playoffs are all about.”