Real Madrid pipped Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv to the post by edging them 77-76 at the Nokia Arena in Group F to clinch home court advantage in the last eight in the Euroleague Top 16.
With 2.9 seconds left Maccabi’s Alex Tyus grabbed the offensive rebound off a missed three from David Blu, scored it and had the opportunity to send the game into overtime. He missed the resulting free throw as Madrid raced down the other end unscathed.
Madrid are assured of at least second place in Group F, while Maccabi remain third.
Sergio Rodriguez paced the winners with 21 points, 11 of them from the foul line.
“I felt very good,” Rodriguez said afterwards. “They played a good game. They took our rhythm out of us. We didn’t play as good as we did last week, but we knew it was going to be very difficult because they are fighting to get into the playoff. But we needed this game very much and we are ready to play the next games and get the first spot.
“We knew they had a bad game on Sunday and would come very, very strong from the beginning. They played good. They are a hell of a team, I think better than last year. We were worried about that. “
Devin Smith led all scorers in vain for Maccabi with 23.
The other games in Group F saw CSKA Moscow defeat a stubborn Bayern Munich 77-70 in Russia.
Sonny Weems led the Muscovites with 15 points as they continue their battle with Real Madrid to top the group. Weems’ focus though was on something much bigger than topping Group F.
“To me it’s really no matter what kind of point difference we have. We should play in the Final Four,” Weems said. “It is the main goal we must be worried about to finish the Top 16 as strong team. We have a very deep team, each person can do something to hit the goal.”
Deon Thompson paced Bayern with 14 points as they drop to 5-7.
Galatasaray defeated already eliminated Zalgiris 84-72 in Kaunas to go to 6-6 in Group F.
Carlos Arroyo hit five three-pointers for 19 points as the Turkish side’s hopes of a quarter-final spot are improved. Zalgiris were led by Justin Dentmon; who also hit 19 points.
Vassilis Spanoulis was back and Olympiacos never trailed as they beat Unicaja Malaga 80-63 in Group E.
The reigning Euroleague and Final MVP netted 20 points in the win as the champions move to 6-6 in the group, good enough for fourth place. Unicaja drop to 5-7.
“We played very well tonight,” Olympiacos coach Georgios Bartzokas said. “From the beginning we were very intense and very focused. Playing in Malaga is always very difficult because they press well and the atmosphere in the court helps them. We controlled the game from defence. We defended very well for 35 minutes and changed the defence near the end to stop the pick and roll. Our guards had a great game. They have learned how to play each game situation and I think is one of the most important things in this game. With this victory we are closer to qualifying, but we still have two tough games.”
With virtually nothing but pride on the line, Laboral Kutxa beat Anadolu Efes 105-79 in a game where two marriage proposals almost overshadowed the game itself.
Tibor Pleiss led the winners with 20 points, but both teams are eliminated from progressing any further than the Top 16.