Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade closed in on a title and ALBA Berlin, Anadolu Efes Istanbul and Panathinaikos OPAP Athens all claimed important wins in their domestic playoff semifinals on Sunday.
Domestic leagues: Zvezda, ALBA, Efes claim big wins
Zvezda survives stiff Partizan challenge to take charge in Adriatic finals
Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade survived a late Partizan NIS Belgarde challenge to win 85-81 and take a 2-0 lead in their best-of-five Adriatic League finals series. Zvezda scored 29 points first-quarter points in taking a double-digit lead and led 47-40 at halftime. Partizan rallied to lead twice in the fourth quarter, but Zvezda answered through Nikola Kalinic triples and held on late to win.
Kalninic led all scorers with 25 points, Luka Mitrovic scored 14, Nikola Ivanovic 12 and Austin Hollins. Nate Wolters also dished 8 assists for the winners. Aleksa Avramovic paced the Partizan attack with 21 points and 4 steals, Mathias Lessort added 18, Dallas Moore 14 and Zach LeDay 11. Zvezda will try to sweep the series in Game 3 on Wednesday.
Efes evens up Turkish semis
Freshly crowned Turkish Airlines EuroLeague champion Anadolu Efes Istanbul got back to its winning ways by evening up its best-of-five Turkish League semifinals series at 1-1 with a 91-77 victory over Istanbul rival Galatasaray NEF on Sunday. Efes held the opponents to 16 second-quarter points in building a 45-37 halftime lead and added to it in the second half.
Vasilije Micic led five Efes scorers in double figures with 19 points and his backcourt mate Shane Larkin shined with 13 points and 12 assists. Elijah Bryant scored 16, Tibor Pleiss added 15 and Bryant Dunston had 12 for the winners. Isaiah Canaan paced Galatasaray with 14 points and Kerry Blackshear scored 13.
Germany: ALBA takes 2-0 lead in semis
ALBA Berlin roared past MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg 100-76 to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the German semifinals. The defending champs never trailed and led by double figures throughout the second half. Louis Olinde led all scorers with 24 points on 5-of-6 three-point shooting, Johannes Thiemann added 22 points, Oscar da Silva netted 14 and Maodo Lo 10. Jonah Radebaugh paced Ludwigsburg with 18 points and 8 rebounds.
Greens start Greek semis on the right foot
Panathinaikos OPAP Athens won the opener of its Greek League playoff semifinals series against Larisa Basket 87-77. Larisa scored 25 points in the first quarter to take the lead, but the Greens turned the tables in a 29-14 second quarter. Nemanja Nedovic scored 20 points to lead the winners, Ioannis Papapetrou added 18 and Okaro White posted 10 points and 9 rebounds to lead the winners. Stefan Moody scored a game-high 29 points for Larisa in defeat.
Herzliya ties Maccabi in Israeli semis
Bnei Herzliya blasted Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv 97-81 to even their best-of-three series at one win apiece. Chris Babb scored 23 points to lead the winners, Andy Van Vliet added 16 and Quinton Hooker 14. Derrick Williams was Maccabi’s top scorer with 18 points and James Nunnally tallied 12 points and 6 assists in defeat. Herzliya started the game on an 11-2 tear and lead 30-19 after 10 minutes. The margin was 8 at halftime, but the Herzliya defense held Maccabi to 15 third-quarter points in blowing the game open for good.