Real Madrid are now the only unbeaten side in the Euroleague, but they were made to work hard for the 89-84 win over Galatasaray in the Spanish capital.
The Turkish side looked down and out after three quarters of play, trailing 66-52. But they dug deep and were accurate from three-point land, causing Real to step up when needed. Buckets from Marcus Slaughter and Sergio Rodriguez helped keep Galatasaray at bay and from there, they had survived a late scare to keep their perfect record in check, and thus they are 2-0 in Group F.
“We did not play a good game,” Rodriguez admitted afterwards. “We were not good on defence and Galatasaray is a very talented squad. They have players that can score easily. We have to win these kinds of games where we don’t play as well as others. We spoke a little bit with the coach after the game, but this is normal. We must be more focused in the coming games.”
Jaycee Carroll led a balanced scoring attack for the winners with 15 points, as six Real Madrid players reached double figures. Zoran Erceg led all scorers in vain for Galatasaray with 24 points as they took advantage of sloppy perimeter defending from the hosts to hit 14 three-pointers at 43 percent. Unfortunately, they didn’t get the stops required to get the win.
The other Group F game saw CSKA Moscow see-off Zalgiris 77-62 in the Russian capital.
Vitaly Fridzon had 15 points for CSKA as they pulled away in the third quarter to get their second win of the Top 16 and leave their Lithuanian rivals winless.
“We demonstrated a good team effort with the exception of the last 5 minutes when we lost focus and organization on the floor,” CSKA Moscow coach Ettore Messina said. “Still overall we played a great game with a good number of assists and decent defense. We are happy with this win and we hope to come focused and motivated to our next games.”
Justin Dentmon led Zalgiris with a game-high 22 points with Sarunas Jasikevicius adding 9.
In Group E and Unicaja Malaga survived buzzer-beating heartbreak to beat Anadolu Efes 74-72 in Istanbul to claim their first win in the Top 16.
They won the game from the foul line with Fran Vazquez and Ryan Toolson hitting two free throws each to give Malaga the win. Kerem Gonlum had a chance to win it in the final possession but was unable to.
Zoran Dragic led Unicaja with 17 points with Toolson adding 16 in the win. Scotty Hopson had 15 for Anadolu as they drop to 0-2 in the group.
Panathinaikos grabbed their second win of Group E with a hard-fought 72-64 win away at Laboral Kutxa.
The Greens trailed 52-48 after three quarters and were let down by sloppy defensive play as the hosts were executing on open shots. A 24-12 turnaround though settled the tie in Panathinaikos’ favour.
Stephane Lasme led the winners with 20 points.
“I think we are probably a better team defensively than we were in the first round, but I also think that they played out of their real potential tonight,” Lasme said. “They are a very dangerous team, but tonight they missed some shots. I’m proud of the team, we were able to come here and get the win.