Barcelona dominates in semis opener
FC Barcelona Lassa took a 1-0 lead in the Spanish League semifinals after hitting 15 three-pointers in defeating Tecnyconta Zaragoza 101-59 on Friday night in their best-of-five series opener. Barcelona stormed out of the gate and used two triples from Victor Claver and one each from Pau Ribas, Kevin Pangos, Adam Hanga and Chris Singleton to open a 24-9 lead. Margin continued to grow in the second quarter with 9 points, including two three-pointers from Kyle Kuric, and one from Pierre Oriola to open 40-19 after only 13 minutes. Barcelona held 51-26 at halftime, before more threes, one each from Hanga, Pangos and Kuric doubled-up the lead, 68-34 late in the third quarter. At the end of the night, Kuric had 25 points on 5-for-5 three-point shooting, and Hanga scored 12 points for Barcelona’s balanced offense.
CSKA in control of VTB finals
CSKA Moscow protected its home floor once again and opened a 2-0 series lead with 103-92 win over Khimki Moscow Region in best-of-five VTB League finals on Friday. An 11-0 run in the opening 3 and a half minutes of the game helped CSKA open a double-digit lead right away, before back-to-back triples from Sergio Rodriguez later in the first quarter opened 28-10 margin. Jordan Mickey scored 8 points to get Khimki within 36-25, but Othello Hunter fueled another CSKA charge and the hosts held 55-37 at halftime. The lead reached 20 points at the start of the third quarter before Khimki answered with a 0-10 run, and six consecutive points by Malcolm Thomas made it 64-55. However, Rodriguez hit two three-pointers to quickly restore double-digit margin, and after Khimki once again got within 9 points, Cory Higgins and Hunter combined for a 9-0 run and seal the deal. Rodriguez paced six double-digit scorers with 16 points, Nando De Colo had 14 points and 8 assists, while Higgins and Hunter also scored 14 apiece in the victory. Tony Crocker netted 26 points for Khimki which was without Alexey Shved in this contest.
ASVEL sweeps French semis
ASVEL Villeurbanne led from start to finish en route to topping Nanterre 56-99 and sweep their best-of-five French League semifinal series. Led by Adreian Payne, ASVEL charged in front from the get-go and opened 8-23 first-quarter lead. The hosts stopped the bleeding but never got closer than 26-34 early in the second quarter. ASVEL finished the second quarter with a 2-15 run, one sparked by a three-pointer from Mantas Kalnietis, and during which Theo Maledon knocked down a pair of triples, as ASVEL went into halftime with a 33-58 lead. The visitors continued their dominance after the break, and used a 4-18 run bridging third and fourth quarters as the lead grew to 44-89 and ASVEL was well on its way to the finals where it will against play AS Monaco. A.J. Slaughter finished with 20 points, Jean-Charles Livio scored 19 while Payne had 15 points in a big victory.
Partizan marches to Serbian finals
Partizan NIS Belgrade thrashed FMP Zeleznik 97-59 in the deciding game of their best-of-three Serbian League semifinals series on Friday. Partizan now moves on to the finals where it will face off against its arch-rival and the defending champion Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade in a best-of-five series that is scheduled to start on Monday. Partizan left no doubt in Game 3 against FMP, using long-range daggers from Stefan Jankovic and Ognjen Jaramaz as the team hit 8 triples on 12 first-half attempts to build 52-28 halftime lead. Partizan used a strong finish to the third quarter to extend it to 74-45, and cruised the rest of the way to a 38-point victory. Partizan finished 13-of-26 from long range, as big man Jankovic hit 5-of-5, amassing 21 points and 13 rebounds. Jaramaz finished with 17 points in a series-clinching victory.