Panathinaikos grabbed a valuable 78-73 road win in Kaunas against Zalgiris to improve to 5-3 in Group E of the Euroleague Top 16.
Croatian Roko Ukic hit a game-high 21 points with 11 of them coming in the final six minutes to help the Greens to victory. Dimitris Diamantidis secured a double-double of 13 points and 10 assists plus the veteran became the all-time Euroleague leader in steals in this win.
This win gives Panathinaikos the head-to-head over Zalgiris, which could prove vital when the Top 16 concludes.
“If we lost this game, we would have been in very bad shape,” Ukic said.
“Right now we are in a very good position. Now we are in the place that we want to be. It was a crazy three days for me. Two days ago I had problems with my back and didn’t even know if I could play.
“Sometime when you are hurt, you play even better and today was one of those days. We need to win as many games as we can. I think right now that eight or even nine games will be enough to advance. We have lots of tough games left, but this game was very important.”
Zalgiris, after an impressive regular season fall to 3-5 in Group E and are in sixth position. Oliver Lafayette led the Lithuanians with 15 points.
Maccabi Tel Aviv ran riot against Montepaschi Siena, restricting them to just 39 points in three quarters to win 92-61 in the Israeli capital.
Devin Smith and Yogev Ohayon each scored 19 points to lead Maccabi and it was the duo of Smith and David Logan that inspired the hosts to a 14-3 run in the second and Siena didn’t get close after that.
Maccabi are now 3-5 in Group F with Montepaschi Siena at 6-2 – and the Italian champions have now surrendered top spot with this loss. Bobby Brown and Kristjan Kangur led in vain with 13.
Staying in Group F and Barcelona are now alone at the top at 7-1 after they thrashed Fenerbahce 99-60 in Istanbul.
Pete Mickeal led four other Barca players in double-figure scoring with 17 points as the Liga Endesa side led 50-19 at half-time and were in cruise control for the rest of the way.
Bojan Bogdanovic led Fenerbahce with 18 points as they fall to 2-6 and in danger of elimination.
Heading back to Group E and Unicaja Malaga broke even at 4-4 after they escaped with a 68-65 win over Brose Baskets in Germany.
Luka Zoric led Malaga with 26 points while Brose Baskets fall to 0-7 and bottom place in Group E, needing a miracle to advance. Bostjan Nachbar had 17 for the German champions.