Virtus wins in Milan, takes control of Italian finals
Virtus Segafredo Bologna hopes of capturing the Italian League title got another major boost on Monday night with a 72-83 road win in Game 2 of their best-of-seven final series against AX Armani Exchange Milan. Virtus now leads 2-0 in the series, and it is scheduled to host the next two games of the series. Two teams traded runs and blows throughout the game, with 6-12 early Virtus lead being the largest margin in the first 37 minutes of the game. Milan took 59-58 lead into the final quarter, but a triple from Amar Alibegovic to open the fourth quarter put Virtus in front for good. Baskets were few and far between as Milan was held without a field goal for 8 and a half minutes to open the fourth quarter. Virtus pulled away when Stefan Markovic and Alessandro Pajola hit back-to-back triples to make it 63-70 with 2:39 to go, then 60 seconds later a long-range dagger from Milos Teodosic made it 65-75, securing a victory for Virtus. Teodosic paced the winners with 21 points, Giampaolo Ricci scored 15 and Marco Belinelli had 13 for Virtus. Shavon Shileds paced Milan with 16 points, Sergio Rodriguez scored 13 and Kevin Punter had 12 in a losing effort.
Barca scores 40 in semis opener blowout
FC Barcelona thrashed Iberostar Tenerife 112-69 to take the opener of their best-of-three Spanish League semifinal series. Barcelona held 43-36 halftime lead then exploded to score a Spanish single-quarter playoff record 40 points in the third quarter. Barcelona scored on its first 12 possessions in the third quarter, and made field goals in its first 15 trips down the floor. The team was 9 of 12 on two-pointers and 7-for-8 behind the arc during those 10 minutes. Nikola Mirotic led Barcelona with 21 points in 18 minutes, Leandro Bolmaro scored 14, while Alex Abrines and Kyle Kuric had 13 apiece in a victory.
Efes thrashes Fenerbahce, defends Turkish title
Only a week removed from making history and winning the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague title, Anadolu Efes Istanbul swept Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul with a 66-93 win in Game 3 of their best-of-five finals series to lift the Turkish League crown. Fenerbahce had a better start to the game and built a 25-19 lead behind Nando De Colo and Melih Mahmutoglu, and still led 31-25 in the second quarter. But Efes replied with a 0-15 run, sparked with three-pointers from Rodrigue Beaubois and Vasilije Micic, and opened a 32-44 halftime lead. Back-to-back threes from Chris Singleton and Beaubois helped break a 20-point margin early in the third, and more threes from Micic and Beaubois had Efes up 36-62 midway through the third quarter. Efes won the middle to quarters 22-51, paving the way to a big victory to clinch consecutive Turkish League titles for the first time in more than 15 years. Beaubois paced Efes with 30 points on 6-for-8 three-point shooting. Bugrahan Tuncer collected 13 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds, while EuroLeague MVP Micic had 11 points and 8 rebounds. Mahmutoglu netted 19 points for Fenerbahce, and Alex Perez finished with 10 in defeat.
Zalgiris wins Lithuanian crown again
Zalgiris Kaunas won its 11th consecutive Lithuanian League title with an 84-73 win over Rytas Vilnius to sweep their best-of-five final series. Ivan Buva and Andrew Goudelock helped Rytas to a 25-32 second-quarter lead, but Thomas Walkup and Marius Grigonis combined to score 14 of 16 Zalgiris points the rest of the quarter and give the hosts a 41-38 halftime lead. Teams traded blows in the third quarter before Rokas Jokubaitis and Walkup fueled a 9-0 run late in the quarter to make it 64-53 going into the final 10 minutes, and the visitors never came closer than 7 points the rest of the way. Walkup led in victory with 20 points, 5 assists and 5 rebounds. Grigonis had 15 points and 6 assists, Joffrey Lauvergne scored 14 and Lukas Lekavicius had 12 in victory. Buva had 22 points plus 9 rebounds for Rytas.
CSKA a win away from another VTB crown
CSKA Moscow stormed to a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five VTB League finals series with a resounding 57-76 road win over UNICS Kazan. With two road wins in the first two games, CSKA now needs one more to defend its title, and it will have the first chance on its home floor on Thursday. CSKA took control in the first quarter when Johannes Voigtmann, Ivan Ukhov and Daniel Hackett each hit a three-pointer in a 2-17 run that opened a 13-22 lead. CSKA opened the second quarter with a 0-9 run, with Iffe Lundberg hitting one and Semen Antonov a pair of triples that made it 16-33. The margin reached 20 points midway through the second quarter, 22-42, and CSKA held 33-50 at halftime. After the break, CSKA stepped it up defensively some more, even extending the margin and cruising to victory. Tornike Shengelia had 18 points and 7 rebounds, while Voigtmann collected 16 points and 6 rebounds in a victory. Okaro White paced UNICS with 15 points and 8 rebounds.
Panathinaikos takes 2-1 Greek finals lead
Panathinaikos OPAP Athens thrashed Lavrio 103-74 to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five Greek League final series. The Greens started to pull away in the second quarter, then finished the half with an 8-0 run capped by back-to-back triples from T.J. Bray to open 44-30 halftime lead. Bray hit a three-pointer to open the third quarter, too, and Panathinaikos kept Lavrio at bay until the start of the fourth quarter when Ben Bentil scored 13 quick points to lead the hosts' 24-5 charge to race away to a victory. Bentil finished with 28 points, and Bray netted 21 in a victory. The Greens will have a chance to win their fourth consecutive domestic league title when it visits Lavrio in Game 4 on Thursday.