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Watch: Playoffs seedings all but confirmed with Zenit win, Gasol makes Barca return

Maccabi's Tyler Dorsey (right) tries to drive past Zenit's Billy Baron. Photo: Maccabi Tel Aviv Basketball

The EuroLeague playoff seedings are all but confirmed as Zenit St. Petersburg beat Maccabi Tel Aviv on Friday, ahead of their final game on Monday – the rescheduled fixture against Panathinaikos. 

Monday night’s game in Russia plays a vital role in determining the eighth seed after Real Madrid consolidated their sixth seed with a 93-67 win over seventh seed Fenerbahce on Thursday to break the tie with their 20-14 record. Valencia tied with Zenit with their 86-81 win over Baskonia on Thursday and remain in contention if Zenit do not take the win on Monday. 

Zenit will be aiming to play the first playoff game in their history after a 86-69 win over Maccabi brought them to a 19-14 record. Austin Hollins led the scoring for Zenit with 15 points as the Russian side led throughout, turning a 44-37 halftime score to 66-48 through a 14-2 run in the third quarter. Kevin Pangos added 13 points for Zenit, with Will Thomas and Tarik Black scoring 11. 

Baskonia lost all chance of a final playoff spot after losing to Valencia while the Spanish side still depend on Panathinaikos for a spot themselves. Derrick Williams led Valencia with 16 points as Klemen Prepelic added 14. Baskonia’s Pierria Henry got 19 points, while Rokas Giedraitis added 17 as both sides took it to the wire with the final minutes seeing Valencia go ahead 60-59 after a Prepelic three-pointer before Mike Tobey and Williams closed off the issue.

Gasol returns to Barca

Top seed Barcelona will have mixed emotions going into the playoffs as they saw veteran center Pau Gasol make his debut for the club, 20 years after his departure to the NBA from Barca, in a 72-82 loss to Bayern Munich on Friday. 

Gasol started his first game since 2019 and scored nine in 13 minutes. But it was fifth seed Bayern who will be the happier side as they led throughout the game. Bayern’s Jalen Reynolds scored a career-high 26 points on Friday, as Wade Baldwin got 18 and hero of the night last week Vladimir Lucic scored 14.

Second-place CSKA Moscow beat ASVEL 88-70 on Thursday to get their fifth straight win and confirm second seed ahead of Anadolu Efes. Iffe Lundberg led the scoring with 23 points for CSKA as Michael Eric added 21. Guerschon Yabusele scored 23 for ASVEL to get them close but an 18-0 run in the fourth quarter sealed the deal for CSKA.

Efes remain third despite their 98-75 away loss to Olimpia Milano, their closest competitors who take fourth seed in the playoffs and will have to wait until Monday to confirm their opponents. Milan led with a double-digit margin by the end of the first quarter as Efes could not get close until the end. Shavon Shields led Milan with 19 points as Kevin Punter added 18. Rodrigue Beauboi scored a team-high of 15 for Efes.

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