ALBA takes series back to Berlin
ALBA Berlin survived a do-or-die situation and regained home court advantage in its best-of-three playoffs series by downing Unicaja Malaga 81-101 In Game 2 on Friday. The series is tied at 1-1 after both teams traded road wins. ALBA hosts Game 3 on Wednesday. Rokas Giedraitis led the winners with 23 points. Luke Sikma added 14, Martin Hermannsson and Peyton Siva each had 11 while Joshiko Saibou and Niels Giffey got 10 apiece for ALBA. Giorgi Shermadini led Unicaja with 15 points. Brian Roberts added 13, Sasu Salin 12, Mathias Lessort 10 while Dragan Milosavljevic and Kyle Wiltjer each had 10 for the hosts. Unicaja led 26-23 after 10 minutes but an unstoppable Sikma allowed ALBA to taje a 43-51 margin at halftime. ALBA boosted its margin to 45-58 soon after the break but Adam Waczynski led an 11-0 run that brought Unicaja as close as 56-58. It didn't last long, however, as Saibou, Giedraitis and Hermannsson took full control of the game, allowing ALBA to get a 75-92 margin and seal the outcome.
Landry Nnoko got ALBA going with a tip-in and fast break layup. Giedraitis soon followed a layup with a triple for a 4-9 score. Roberts answered from downtown, and Wiltjer followed Adam Waczynski's jumper with a three-pointer that gave Unicaja its first lead, 12-11. Siva and Kenneth Ogne joined the three-point shootout to make ALBA regain a 13-19 edge. Lessort scored down low and Roberts added a jumper in a 6-0 run that Milosavljevic capped with a layup. An outstanding Lessort gave Unicaja a 26-23 lead after 10 minutes. Salin bettered Saibou's layup with a triple for a 29-25 score early in the second quarter. Salin struck twice from downtown but Johannes Thiemann and Sikma kept ALBA within 35-33. Shermadini dunked but Giedraitis and Sikma did better with two three-pointers apiece, making Unicaja call timeout at 41-47. Giffey and Saibou kept ALBA fully in charge, 43-51, at halftime. A jumper by Sikma made it a double-digit game, before Seibou and Nnoko boosted the guests' margin to 45-58. Witljer, Waczynski and Milosavljevic downed consecutive triples in an 11-0 run, capped by Waczynski’s put-back layup that brought Unicaja as close as 56-58. But Giedraitis answered from downtown and added a backdoor layup for a 56-63 ALBA lead. Salin buried a corner three-pointer but Thiemann hit a jump hook and Saibou added a jumper. Ryan Boatright sank a three-pointer and Shermadini brought Unicaja within 66-67, but Saibou hit a jumper and Hermannson struck from beyond the arc for a 66-72 ALBA lead after 30 minutes. Shermadini took over with a layup-plus-foul early in the fourth quarter but Siva immediately answered with a triple. Shermadini and Tim Schneider traded baskets, and back-to-back three-pointers by Giffey boosted ALBA's lead to 71-83. Giedraitis followed a layup and a jumper to break the game open, 71-87, after a 0-12 ALBA run. Shermadini scored again but Siva and Nnoko sealed the outcome as ALBA never looked back.
Martin Hermannsson allowed ALBA to keep full control most of the way, stepping up for injured playmaker Stefan Peno. He finished the game with 11 points, 9 assists and 6 fouls drawn for a PIR of 19. An accomplished shooter, Hermannsson is averaging 9.5 assists per game in this series - twice as much as he did (4.7 apg.) in the Top 16.
ALBA led 71-75 early in the fourth quarter and improved on defense at the right time. Meanwhile, Niels Giffey struck twice from downtown and Rokas Giedraitis added a layup and a jumper in a 0-12 run that boosted the guests' lead to 71-87 with under 6 minutes left. Unicaja did not recover, and ALBA cruised to a critical win.
ALBA shot the ball better tonight and finished the game with 24 assists and just 10 turnovers. ALBA hit 64.1% of its shots inside the arc (25-of-39) and 56.5% from three-point territory (13-of-23). Unicaja did well from two-point range (55.9%, 19-of-34) but not so well from downtown (29%, 9-of-31)
Did you notice?
ALBA has become the first team to beat Unicaja at Palacio de Deportes Martin Carpena in a 7DAYS EuroCup Playoffs game. Unicaja won all of its playoffs games in 2017 - against FC Bayern Munich, Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar and Valencia Basket - on its way to the title. ALBA was able to snap that winning streak and force Game 3.
In a winner-take-all showdown for a semifinals spot, ALBA hosts Unicaja in the German capital on Wednesday, March 13.
Friday, March 8, 2019