Domestic league playoffs: Zalgiris strikes first in Lithuanian finals

May 28, 2019 by Print
Domestic league playoffs: Zalgiris strikes first in Lithuanian finals

Zalgiris delivers first blow in Lithuanian finals

Zalgiris Kaunas protected its home court in the opener of the Lithuanian League finals by downing Rytas Vilnius 79-64 on Tuesday night. Zalgiris led from start to finish to take a 1-0 lead in their best-of-five series. Marius Grigonis scored 10 of the first 17 points for Zalgiris and the hosts opened a 21-10 lead in the first quarter. Martynas Echodas and Arnas Butkevicius combined to score 11 straight points to help Rytas get within 36-31 midway through the second and back-to-back long-range daggers from Derek Needham and Margiris Normantas cut it to 47-43 early in the third quarter. Rytas was within 4 points a couple more times, but a three-point play from Brandon Davies and a pair of three-pointers from Nate Wolters - including one to end the third quarter - made it 65-53 going into the fourth. A triple from Edgaras Ulanovas opened a 72-55 margin with 6 minutes to go in the game, and the visitors never threatened again. Grigonis led the winners with 13 points. Wolters scored 12, Davies had 11 and Ulanovas collected 10 points and 9 rebounds. Artsiom Parakhouski finished as Rytas's top scorer with 14 points and also had 8 rebounds, while Butkevicius netted 13 in defeat. The series now moves to Vilnius for Game 2 on Thursday.

CSKA sweeps Zenit to reach VTB finals

CSKA Moscow advanced to the VTB League finals after a dramatic 67-68 road win over Zenit St. Petersburg in Game 3 of their best-of-five semifinals on Tuesday night. The EuroLeague champions completed the sweep of Zenit and now await the winner of the series between Khimki Moscow Region and UNICS Kazan. Neither CSKA nor Zenit held a lead bigger than 5 points in the first half and CSKA took a 33-36 edge into halftime. A three-pointer from Semen Antonov and a pair of baskets from Joel Bolomboy put CSKA up 36-45 early in the third quarter. Five different players scored in the third quarter to keep Zenit in range before three-pointers from Codi Miller-McIntyre and Marko Simonovic helped the hosts get to 56-59 with 6:30 to go in the fourth. A layup and another three-pointer from Simonovic tied it at 63-63 with 3:40 left, setting up a thrilling finish. The teams went into the final minute with the score tied when Sergio Rodriguez knocked down a step-back jumper to make it 65-67 with 42 seconds on the clock. Higgins kept CSKA in front with 2 free throws, but then missed a pair and Zenit had the last 14 seconds to win it, but Final Four MVP Will Clyburn blocked a layup attempt from Evgeny Valiev to preserve CSKA’s victory. Rodriguez led all scorers with 19 points, and Bolomboy had 10 points and 6 rebounds in the victory. Simonovic scored 15 and Miller-McIntyre had 13 points in defeat.

Turkey: Galatasaray advances to semifinals

Galatasaray Istanbul advanced to the Turkish League playoff semifinals on Tuesday with an 89-77 victory over Gaziantep at Sinan Erdem Dome. Tai Webster paced six Galatasaray scorers in double figures with 18 points and 6 assists, Nigel Hayes posted 14 points and 4 steals, Zach Auguste tallied 13 points and 8 rebounds, Goksenin Koksal scored 12, Aaron Harrison 11 and Can Korkmaz 10. Tonye Jekiri gave Gaziantep its only lead of the game with a free throw that made it 4-5 after 3 minutes of action. Galatasaray took charge with a 14-2 charge led by Auguste and Webster and coasted into the second quarter ahead 23-16. The hosts did not let up and the lead grew to at 48-27 after a Caner Erdeniz basket with two minutes to go in the second quarter. Gaziantep scored the final 7 points of the half to make it 48-34 at the break and cut the deficit to 10 during the third quarter, which ended at 68-56. Harrison scored 6 in a 10-0 run that opened the fourth quarter and gave Galatasaray its biggest lead, 78-56. Gaziantep rallied late and Orhan Haciyeva's three-point play drew the visitors within 9 in the final minute, but it was too little, too late to trouble Galatasaray. Shaquielle McKissic paced Gaziantep with 22 points and Jekiri had 16 points and 11 rebounds in defeat.

Cibona takes 3-0 lead over Cedevita

Cibona Zagreb is one win away from reclaiming the Croatian League title after downing its city rival Cedevita Zagreb 65-76 in Game 3 of their best-of-seven finals series on Tuesday. Cibona holds a 3-0 lead and has a chance to end Cedevita’s run of five consecutive league titles with one more win. Cibona led for the majority of this clash. Cedevita grabbed a 53-52 lead with 1:41 to go in the third quarter, but it was short-lived as Ivan Novacic and Damir Markota made sure Cibona took a 53-58 edge into the fourth quarter and the visitors never trailed again. Toni Katic tied it at 58-58, but Markota hit a triple and Filip Bundovic scored 6 points, including a three-pointer to help Cibona open a 62-72 margin late in the fourth quarter, paving the way to victory. Markota starred with 23 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists and Bundovic had 16 points in the victory. Filip Kruslin scored 15 points in defeat.