Lithuania: Zalgiris takes ninth straight title!
Zalgiris Kaunas stormed to another Lithuanian League crown with a 92-54 blowout victory over rival Rytas Vilnius at home on Saturday to sweep their best-of-five final series 3-0. As such, Zalgiris lifted its ninth national title in a row and 32nd overall. This was the club's first finals sweep and fourth title under head coach Sarunas Jasikevicius. There was no doubt about the outcome as Zalgiris won each of the first three quarters by double-digit differences, starting the third with a 19-4 burst to top a 40-point lead for the first time at 66-26 late in that quarter. Zalgiris was the picture of teamwork as it made 29 assists on its first 72 points. Edgaras Ulanovas was the driving force for the winners with 15 points, followed closely by Brandon Davies and Aaron White with 13 each, and Deon Thompson with 10. All 12 Zalgiris players scored in the game. Nate Wolters had 8 points on perfect shooting and a team-high 8 assists. He was one of five Zalgiris players with 3 or more assists for a team total of 30 at the finish as compared to just 7 turnovers. Martynas Echodas led Rytas with 17 points.
Greece: Greens on brink of finals
Panathinaikos OPAP Athens blasted Greek League opponent Peristeri 86-66 on Saturday to pull within one victory of reaching the finals. The Greens now lead the best-of-five semifinals 2-0. A majestic 33-17 second quarter performance put the game in the hands of the hosts, who were not threatened the rest of the way. Nick Calathes was in the middle of the victory with team highs of 14 points, 13 assists and 3 steals. Ioannis Papapetrou, Deshaun Thomas and Keith Langford each contributed 12 points to the cause as all 12 Panathinaikos players helped fill the scoreboard. Thanasis Antetokounmpo (8), Georgios Papagiannis (7), Ian Vougioukas (7) and James Gist (7) led a massive 51-31 rebounding advantage for the winners. Papapetrou was a menace on defense with 4 of his team's 7 blocked shots. In Saturday's other semifinal, Prometheus evened its series with AEK Athens 1-1 thanks to a 74-65 home win in which Langston Hall hit 5 three-pointers among his game-high 19 points in 22 minutes on the floor.
Turkey: Fenerbahce rolls in semis opener
Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul took no prisoners while opening the best-of-five Turkish League semifinals with a resounding 102-68 home win over Tofas Bursa. Fenerbahce pulled away early and often as Ali Muhammed, Nicolo Melli and Melih Mahmutoglu helped establish a quick 16-9 advantage. Tofas got back within 16-14 before Fenerbahce pulled away again to lead 32-22 after one quarter. Melli was unstoppable as the difference stretched to 59-39 at halftime. A 13-2 start to the third quarter ended any doubt about the eventual outcome and sent Fenerbahce forward to a 34-point final difference. Melli paced the victors with 27 points, while Ahmet Duverioglu added 15, Mahmutoglu 11 and Marko Guduric 10.