Familiar faces returned to action in Europe this week, with David Barlow joining Aleks Maric at Obradoiro, while David Andersen returned to France to defend his title with ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne.
David Andersen's return to ASVEL in France saw him make an immediate impact, with his side recording a convincing 73-59 win over 13th ranked Hyeres-Toulon (Highlights). Coming off the bench, the sweet-shooting big man landed 3-of-6 from the field for 8 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists in a productive 17 minutes. 8th placed ASVEL remain just 1 game ahead of Le Portel in the LNB Pro A standings, with the addition of Andersen bolstering their chances of securing a playoff berth and a chance of defending their 2016 won with Andersen leading the way.
In Lithuania, Lietkabelis split their two games over the past week and in doing so fell 1 game behind 2nd place Lietuvos Rytas in the LKL standings. Against lowly Šiauliai, Lietkabelis were on the receiving end of a major upset, going down 80-85. Despite 15 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals from Ben Madgen, he was unable to prevent one of the biggest upsets of the season.
Thankfully for Madgen and Lietkabelis, they bounced back quickly with an important 74-61 win over 4th placed Neptūnas. Madgen was again very good in adding 10 points, 3 rebounds and 7 assists in playing 24 minutes. His output ensured his side remained in the hunt for second place in the run towards the finals.
Strong first and third quarters saw Lithuanian giants Žalgiris Kaunas easily account for Pieno žvaigždės 94-70. Forward Brock Motum came off the bench to connect on 5-of-7 shooting on his way to scoring 13 points with 1 rebound and 2 assists in just 17 minutes in the big win. Now 5 games clear of second place, Žalgiris are the clear title favourites.
Zalgiris unfortunately lost their most recent EuroLeague contest to Milan 84-88. Despite leading by 11 early, it was Milan who finished stronger to snap a 7-game losing skid. Motum had 11 points and 2 rebounds in 19 minutes, and with 1 round left to play, his side is unable to make the playoffs.
Lokomotiv Kuban enjoyed a strong 79-61 VTB United League win over Avtodor to maintain 4th position, just 3 games behind ladder leader CSKA Moscow. After a tight opening period, Lokomotiv powered away, with Ryan Broekhoff making a valuable contribution off the bench. The versatile swingman chimed in with 7 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals in 20 minutes. 5th placed Unics Kazan will be their next opponent.
With David Barlow returning to the Spanish ACB, he joined Aleks Maric at Obradoiro. Both hit the court in an enthralling 83-82 win against Joventut. Maric came off the bench to play 10 minutes for 2 rebounds and 1 assist, while Barlow saw 9 minutes of action for 1 rebound and 1 steal. Battling to avoid relegation, the win was vital as Joventut are also in the same position.
After some great performances in coming off the bench in the Greek A1 League, Brad Newley was elevated to AEK Athens' starting lineup in their 68-64 road win over Doxa Lefkadas. Newley had a quiet outing on the score sheet, going scoreless with 3 rebounds and 2 steals in playing 29 minutes in playing a defensive role. His side remains in 3rd place and in a strong position ahead of the playoffs.
5th placed PAOK Thessaloniki were no match for top side Olympiacos Piraeus, going down 59-84. It was a tough game for Nathan Sobey, with the guard restricted to 6 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists in the lop-sided result.
Still in Greece, Kymis were thrashed by Promitheas 81-57, and after gaining promotion this season, they remain on the edge of relegation. Guard Jason Cadee was good for 4 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal in the big loss.
In the Danish quarterfinal series, Horsens IC earned a 3-0 series sweep over Randers thanks to a thrilling 88-87 win. Trailing by 10 heading into the final terms, Horsens stormed home to steal the home win and the series. Forward Dan Trist was outstanding, posting 18 points (7-of-13 FG) with 8 rebounds. They will now face SISU Copenhagen for the right to challenge for the 2017 Danish crown.
Matt Adekponya and Naestved were not as fortunate, losing their best-of-five game series against Svendborg 0-3 after a 91-97 loss. Adekponya had a solid individual game in coming off the bench, with 7 points and 3 rebounds in 7 minutes.
In a clash between two of the top teams in Estonia, Tartu Rock found themselves on the wrong end of a narrow 69-71 loss to Kalev/Cramo. Dynamic forward Venky Jois came off the bench to provide 6 points on 3-of-4 shooting with 4 rebounds before fouling out in 20 minutes. There was nothing separating either side in what was a likely grand final preview.
Michael Vigor registered a big performance in Bristol's 85-77 win against Leeds in the British Basketball League. He was able to accumulate 18 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists in a good showing.