Monaco forces decider in France
AS Monaco protected its home floor once again, leading from start to finish and downing LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne 89-81 in Game 4 of their French League finals on Saturday night. With the best-of-five series tied at 2-2, ASVEL will host the deciding Game 5 on Tuesday. Monaco jumped in front from the start behind 7 points from Jarrod Jones, and a triple from Lazeric Jones that helped open 19-8 lead. The visitors answered with a 2-10 first-quarter run, which featured a David Lighty triple, to catch up. ASVEL got within 30-29 in the second quarter after a baseline floater from DeMarcus Nelson, but Monaco remained in front and took a 37-34 lead into halftime. The hosts extended it to 45-36 through Paul Lacombe and Emeldin Kikanovic in the third quarter to keep control. Nelson had ASVEL within reach, but the hosts held 65-56 margin going into the fourth quarter. Dee Bost hit one from long range to restore a double-digit margin for the first time since the first quarter, 74-63 with 4:34 to go. Bost hit another three-pointer a minute later before Lacombe opened 81-68 lead and Monaco closed the game out. Bost netted 19 points and had 6 assists to lead Monaco. Lazeric Jones had 15, and Lacombe finished with 14 points in a victory. Nelson led ASVEL with 18 points, while Charles Kahudi scored 15 in defeat.
Venice returns to Italian throne
Umana Reyer Venice is the new Italian League champion after leading from start to finish and beating the visiting Dinamo Banco di Sardegna Sassari 87-61 in the deciding Game 7 of the playoff finals. This is now the second title in three years for Venice, which has not won the Italian championship for 74 years prior to that. In the series decider, Venice took the lead from the get-go. MarQuez Haynes hit back-to-back triples for the hosts to open an early lead. Sassari kept in touch with the help of Tyrus McGee’s triple. Austin Daye and Rashawn Thomas traded triples at the start of the second, and Smith also hit one for Sassari to get the visitors within 27-24. But a three-point play from Daye and a triple from Julyan Stone helped Venice take 39-30 halftime lead, the largest advantage of the first half. However, that margin doubled in less than four minutes of the fourth as Michael Bramos hit three three-pointers to open a 50-32 lead. A triple from Haynes helped increase it to 60-38 late in the third, and the margin was 71-47 early in the fourth, as Venice was well on its way to victory, and the title. Bramos hit 5-of-8 triples and finished with 22 points, while Haynes made 5-of-10 three-pointers to score 21 points. Daye added 13 points in a championship-clinching victory for Venice. Thomas was Sassari’s only double-digit scorer with 16 points.