Panathinaikos OPAP Athens and FC Bayern Munich both won Game 5s on Wednesday to advance to the playoff finals in Greece and Germany, respectively, while AX Armani Exchange Milan and FC Barcelona also claimed critical wins.
Domestic leagues: Panathinaikos, Bayern advance to finals
Panathinaikos storms into Greek finals
Panathinaikos OPAP Athens thoroughly dominated Larisa 89-43 on Wednesday to advance to the Greek League finals. Even though the Greens needed five games to win the best-of-five series, the deciding game was one-sided. Okaro White led the way for Panathinaikos with 17 points, Nemanja Nedovic added 16, Daryl Macon 14, Ioannis Papapetrou 11 and Georgios Papagiannis posted 10 points and 10 rebounds. Ousman Krubally led Larisa with 11 points in defeat.
The Greens never trailed, jumping out to a 12-2 start with Papapetrou and Papagiannis each scoring twice. It was 28-12 after 10 minutes and 46-23 at halftime as Panathinaikos cruised to victory. The winners controlled the glass 49-25 and made 50% of their 28 three-point attempts.
Germany: Bayern beats Bonn to advance from semis
FC Bayern Munich outlasted Telekom Baskets Bonn 74-87 in Game 5 to take their best-of-five series and set up a clash against defending champion ALBA Berlin for the title. Nick Weiler-Babb led the way for Bayern with 18 points and 8 rebounds. Nihad Djedovic added 14 points, Andreas Obst scored 11 and Augustine Rubit posted 10 points and 9 boards for the winners. Parker Jackson-Cartwright tallied 25 points and 10 assists for Bonn and Karsten Tadda and Saulius Kulvietis added 12 points each.
Vladimir Lucic scored 4 points and assisted on a pair of Djedovic threes as Bayern jumped out to a 3-10 start. The lead reached 8-22 on a DeShaun Thomas three-pointer. Jackson-Cartwright made a three and dished a pair of assists as the hosts rallied to within 16-24 after 10 minutes. Tadda completed the Bonn comeback with a game-tying triple and his next three game his team a 44-42 halftime lead. Threes by Leon Radosevic and Obst helped Bayern get back on track early in the second half and Rubit scored twice to boost the advantage to 61-69 through three quarters. Weiler-Babb made it a double-digit difference, 66-77, three minutes into the fourth quarter and Bonn never got closer than 7 the rest of the way.
Milan strikes first in Italian finals
AX Armani Exchange Milan held off Virtus Segafredo Bologna 62-66 to take the opening game of the best-of-seven Italian league finals. Shavon Shields led the winners with 18 points, Luigi Datome added 13, Kyle Hines posted 10 points and 10 rebounds and Sergio Rodriguez scored 7 and dished 7 assists for the winners. Milos Teodosic produced 16 points and 6 assists for Virtus in defeat and Tornike Shengelia added 11 points and 7 rebounds.
There was little to separate the teams in the first half, in which neither team ever led by more than 5 points. Milan held a 27-28 advantage at the break. Milan made its move with a 0-11 third-quarter run that Datome capped with 5 points to make it 32-45. Free throws by Shields maintained a double-digit margin, 40-50, at the end of the third. Teodosic came alive to halve the deficit and Shengelia got the hosts within 57-59. Ben Bentil and Datome helped Milan add to its lead and the visitors held on the rest of the way.
Barca takes 2-1 lead in Spanish semis
FC Barcelona took a 2-1 lead in its best-of-five Spanish League semifinals series against Joventut Badalona with a 77-83 road win. Nikola Mirotic scored 18 points and grabbed 7 rebounds to lead the winners, who never trailed. Corey Higgins added 13 points and Nicolas Laprovittola had 10. Ante Tomic paced Joventut with 21 points and 7 rebounds, Derrick Willis scored 17, Guillem Vives 13 and Pau Ribas 10.
Brandon Davies scored twice as Barcelona took a 0-6 lead, which grew to double figures on a Laprovittola three-pointer. The margin sat at 14-23 after 10 minutes. Vives and Ribas cut into the Joventut deficit early in the second quarter and Joel Parra made it 29-30. Back-to-back threes by Kyle Kuric and Mirotic gave Barca breathing room and Higgins made it 36-46 at halftime. Willis and Tomic rallied the hosts to 45-48, but they could get no closer and the score stood at 56-61 after three quarters. Free throws by Davies made it a 10-point margin, though Joventut continued to battle and got within 5 in the closing minutes. Tomic made it 74-77 with a minute to go, however, a triple by Nick Calathes all but sealed the victory.