Rudy Fernandez made an insane three-pointer at the buzzer and Real Madrid defeated Panathinaikos (73-74) and denied the “Greens” an early entry in the playoffs.
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The “Whites” came back from an 18-point deficit in the first quarter (32-14) and shocked Panathinaikos in Athens, thanks to Fernandez’s crazy three-pointer at the buzzer. The defending champions outscored their opponents 41-60 in the last three quarters.
Four players scored in double figures for the winners, with Walter Tavares making an impressive double-double (14 points, 16 rebounds).
Nick Calathes and Keith Langford were the best players of the losing squad, with 14 points apiece.
Real Madrid improved to 22-7 and is still third in the standings, whereas Panathinaikos dropped to 15-14 and now have to beat Buducnost at home next week to clinch a play-off spot.
Maccabi Tel-Aviv decimated Gran Canaria at home (90-55) and remained alive in the playoff race.
The Israelis led from start to finish and cruised to an easy victory, whereas the Spaniards played very badly on both ends of the floor.
Five players scored in double figures for the winners, with Alex Tyus posting a career-high 20 points. Only D.J Strawberry scored in double figures for the losing squad, with 11 points.
Maccabi improved to 14-15 and still has a chance to reach the playoffs. On the other hand, Gran Canaria dropped to 8-21.
A 23-14 run in the fourth quarter was enough for Barcelona to prevail over Buducnost at home and secure the fifth place in the standings (95-83).
It was a close game for three quarters (21-22, 44-46, 72-69), yet the Catalans took over in the fourth quarter and outscored their opponents 23-14 to seal the deal.
Adam Hanga and Rolands Smits stood out for the winners, with 18 and 14 points, respectively. Danilo Nikolic had a game-high 25 points (on 10/14 shooting) for the losing squad.
Barcelona improved to 17-12 and will face Anadolu Efes in the playoffs. Buducnost dropped to 6-23.
Fenerbahce went on a 12-27 run in the middle of the fourth quarter and rallied past Armani Milano on the road (90-104) to secure the top spot in the standings.
The Turks were in front from the opening tip (17-22, 42-52), yet the Italians cut the deficit to three early in the fourth quarter (66-69).
The visitors, though, went on a 12-27 to bring their lead back to double digits and never look back (78-96).
Bobby Dixon (23 points) and Nikola Kalinic (22 points) made the difference offensively for the winners, whereas James Nunnally (career-high 26 points) and Curtis Jerrells (20 points) were the best players of the losing squad.
Fenerbahce improved to 24-5 and will finish first on the table. For their part, Armani Milano dropped to 14-15 and their qualification to the playoffs now is in serious jeopardy.
*Yiannis Bouranis is an affiliate partner of ESPN and is being compensated for the use of ESPN+ affiliate links. The opinions expressed in his posts are his own.