Ryan Broekhoff stepped up big-time to help Lokomotiv tie up their VTB United League quarterfinal series at 1-1, Dan Trist’s side Horsens IC came runners-up in Denmark, while Ben Madgen and Brock Motum’s sides are shaping up well in the Lithuanian LKL playoffs as both advanced.
The VTB United League quarterfinals opened this past week, with Lokomotiv Kuban now locked at 1-1 with Unics Kazan. In the opening game of the series, Lokomotiv were outdone at home. A lapse in the second term was all the room Unics needed, as they upset Lokomotiv 62-71. Ryan Broekhoff came off the bench to play 23 minutes, adding 8 points with 2 rebounds in the close loss.
Lokomotiv Kuban was more resilient and aggressive in opening the game 2 contest, running out to a 10 point lead after the first term. From there Lokomotiv repelled every challenge to hold on for a 92-76 victory to tie up the series. This time Broekhoff was better than just good – he was exceptional – and finished the game as the most efficient player (rating of 34). Not only did he impose himself in the paint in collecting a game-high 12 rebounds, but he would go drain 3-of-5 from downtown and 7-of-10 from the field overall to deliver an impressive 21 points with 3 assists and 2 steals for good measure.
While Broekhoff was deadly from downtown om his way to recording his double-double, he was also effective out in the open court too. He came up with a big steal and even bigger finish in what was a very physical, and at times nasty, encounter. He set the tone for the game for his side which responded with a gritty win, and some much-needed momentum heading into game 3.
Žalgiris Kaunas booked a place in the Lithuanian LKL semifinals thanks to a 96-40 demolition of Dzūkija to complete a 3-0 series sweep. On the back of a commanding 26-12 opening term, Žalgiris steamrolled their outmatched opponent. In a contest where Žalgiris spread the minutes, Brock Motum added 7 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals and 1 blocked shot in 14 minutes. His side will next face Neptūnas Klaipeda in their semifinal match-up.
Also in Lithuania, Lietkabelis Panevezys advanced to the semifinals, closing out their quarterfinal series against Vytautas with 2 straight wins last week to cap off a 3-0 series win.
In game 2, Lietkabelis rode a strong 25-12 second period to power their way to a 71-84 road win. They shot a scintillating 64% from the field and were superbly led by Ben Madgen. The combo guard contributed 13 points (6-of-6 FT) with 5 rebounds and 3 assists in another solid display.
Lietkabelis were in even more dominant form in the game 3 clincher, dispatching Vytautas with clinical ease. In the 83-67 victory, Madgen was one of 6 players to score in double-digits, providing 10 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists as his side closed out the series in style thanks to a 21-6 final quarter. Awaiting in semifinals as their next opponent are Lietuvos Rytas.
Unfortunately for Dan Trist and Horsens IC, they fell to Bakken 73-81 in game 5 to lose the Danish Ligaen Grand Final series 1-4. Trist capped off a great individual finals campaign by providing 10 points (5-of-11 FG) with 6 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal. It was a tough end for what was a great season by Horsens who finished in second place behind Bakken with a 23-5 record.
Over in the Greek A1 League playoffs, AEK Athens advanced to the semifinals following an 70-81 victory over AGOR and a 2-0 series sweep. Trailing by 10 points on the road at the main break, AEK fought back strongly to dominate the second half 41-20. Brad Newley sat out the win due to injury.
Nathan Sobey scored 13 points for PAOK Thessaloniki but it was not enough to avoid a 75-84 home loss to Aris and a 0-2 quarterfinal series loss. Sobey was very good, also adding 5 rebounds and 2 assists in 29 minutes, but his side was swept out of the playoffs in straight games.
Staring at the possibility of being swept aside in their Estonian League semifinals, Tartu Rock bounced back to win game 3, 85-61 in commanding fashion. Tartu dominated in the paint, with Venky Jois going close to a double-double in finishing with 9 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks in a foul restricted 18 minutes. However that win would prove to be their last, as Rapla held off the fast-finishing Tartu to record a narrow 79-75 win in game 4 to take the series 3-1. In coming off the bench, Jois played just 14 minutes for 6 points and 2 rebounds as his season came to an early end. Tartu’s 29-3 regular season record meant nothing as their opponent and third ranked side advanced to the Alexela KML grand final series.
In Serbia, Jonah Bolden continued to build on his NBA Draft credentials in FMP Belgrade’s 82-71 loss to Partizan Belgrade. The 6’10 forward added 14 points with 4 rebounds and 1 steal, and was clearly one his side’s best players. FMP are in 3rd place in the standings with a 4-2 record, falling 1 game behind Partizan due to the loss.
ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne clocked up a 1-1 record over the past week as they near the end of the French Pro A regular season. In a narrow 71-75 loss to his former team Strasbourg, David Andersen was quiet in adding just 1 point and 3 rebounds in 18 minutes. However his side bounced back quickly, accounting for Limoges 80-91 to remain in outright 8th position. It was vintage Andersen in their big win, with the Australian Boomer pouring in 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting (2-of-3 3PT) with 4 rebounds in just 13 minutes (highlights).
Clint Steindl was once again in the points for the Leuven Bears as they went down to Crelan Akapi Aalstars 78-87 in the Belgium EuroMillions League. Steindl was only able to connect on 2-of-10 from deep but still managed to compile 16 points with 3 rebounds and 2 assists as his side continues to languish near the bottom of the standings.
Daniel Johnson (Petrochimi Bandar Imam Harbour) and AJ Ogilvy (Azad) kick off their Iranian SuperLeague semifinals series this week.