AS Monaco and Real Madrid started their respective semifinals series in France and Spain with big wins.
Domestic leagues: Monaco, Real cruise in semifinals openers
Monaco cruises in Game 1 of French semis
AS Monaco started the French League semifinals on the right foot by blasting Pau-Lacq-Orthez 94-65. Yakuba Ouattara led six Monaco scorers in double figures with 15 points, Will Thomas added 13, Donta Hall tallied 11 points and 7 rebounds and Mike James, Alpha Diallo and Dwayne Bacon scored 10 each. James and Leo Westermann dished 5 assists apiece. Brandon Jefferson was Pau’s top scorer with 15. Monaco took charge early with a 25-13 first quarter and only added to the lead by outscoring the opponents in each successive quarter. The hosts dominated the paint by outrebounding Pau 37-22 and making 67.4% of their two-pointers, while holding Pau to 43.2% two-point shooting.
Real bests Baskonia in Spanish semis opener
Real Madrid held off Bitci Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz 94-84 to win the opener of their best-of-five Spanish League semifinal series. Fabien Causeur scored 16 points to lead Real, Rudy Fernandez added 14, Walter Tavares posted 12 points and 13 rebounds, Vincent Poirier netted 11 points and Guerschon Yabusele 10. Alec Peters paced Baskonia with 15 points, Matt Costello had 12, Vanja Marinkovic 11 and Rokas Giedraitis and Wade Baldwin contributed 10 each in defeat.
The game was close at halftime, with Real holding a 44-42 edge at the break. Causeur drained a pair of threes in a 15-0 run to start the second half to take control. Costello gave Baskonia hope with a pair of threes to get within 8 late in the third, but Yabusele scored 5 in an 11-0 fourth-quarter run and Baskonia never recovered.
Turkey: Efes loses and will face decisive semifinal Game 5
The Turkish League semifinals series between Anadolu Efes Istanbul and Galatasaray Nef Istanbul will go the distance after Galatasaray evened the best-of-five series 2-2 with an 86-81 victory. Dee Bost paced the winners with 20 points and 7 assists, Kerry Blackshear added 18 points and Maurice N’Dour 12. Vasilije Micic led Efes with 23 points, Shane Larkin tallied 17 points and 5 assists, Elijah Bryant scored 13 with 8 rebounds and Chris Singleton had 12 points. The score was tied at 69-69 after Bryant Dunston’s free throw in the second minute of the fourth quarter before Blackshear scored twice in a 10-3 Galatasaray run from which Efes never recovered.