BELGRADE (Reuters) - CSKA Moscow advanced to the Euroleague playoffs with four games to spare after an inspired performance by their Serbia playmaker Milos Teodosic gave them an 88-83 home win over Anadolu Efes Istanbul on Friday.
Fenerbahce Istanbul boosted their hopes of becoming the first Turkish team to reach the season-ending Final Four, edging closer to the knockout stages with a 73-64 win at former champions Olympiakos Piraeus.
CSKA, Olympiakos and Fenerbahce all have an 8-2 record in their section, with the latter two still mathematically needing one win from the last four games to progress to the best-of-five quarter-final playoff series.
The Russian giants joined Real Madrid, who secured their passage on Thursday, after Teodosic racked up 20 points and nine assists to lead the competition’s six-time winners past a battling Anadolu Efes.
The visitors held their own throughout the contest but succumbed in a fast-flowing finish as CSKA center Sasha Kaun added 16 points and six rebounds for his side, whose Greek coach Dimitris Itoudis praised the vociferous home support.
“I’d like to thank the fans who turned up tonight and created a great atmosphere,” he told the competition’s official website.
“We made a sloppy start but established a better defensive game and won in the end, although they made some tough shots in the second half.”
Fenerbahce celebrated their ninth successive road win of the season after American playmaker Andrew Goudelock capped a dazzling display with a game-high 24 points, including six three-pointers from seven attempts.
Serbia forward Nemanja Bjelica also played a key role with 16 points and nine rebounds as Fenerbahce stifled out the home team’s playmaker Vassilis Spanoulis, the driving force of the side that won successive Euroleague titles in 2012 and 2013.
Spanoulis was restricted to five points, hitting one of eight field goals, while the visitors nailed 11 three-pointers from 20 attempts to underline their dominance from long range.
Fervent home support carried Zalgiris Kaunas to a 76-70 home win over Panathinaikos and kept alive their playoff hopes.
Guard Will Cherry scored a season-high 18 points for Zalgiris, who improved their record to 4-6 and are tied with Alba Berlin behind Real (9-1), Barcelona (7-3), holders Maccabi Tel Aviv (6-4) and Panathinaikos (5-5).
The Top 16, which is the second group stage of Europe’s premier club competition, comprises two groups of eight.
The top four from each group reach the quarter-finals, whose winners qualify for the May 15-17 Final Four in Madrid.
Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Ken Ferris