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EuroView: Broekhoff with bounce, Johnson on fire in Iran
Ryan Broekhoff, David Andersen, Jason Cadee and Nathan Sobey all registered solid scoring games over the past week in Europe, while Daniel Johnson made an impressive debut in Iran with Petrochimi. Johnson will soon go head-to-head with AJ Ogilvy who has signed to play out the season with Azad.
In a tight tussle between two top five teams in the VTB United League, it was fourth-ranked Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar who prevailed over Unics Kazan 83-73. Lokomotiv pulled away in the final term, with Ryan Broekhoff providing 12 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists in 32 minutes as a starter. With the victory, Lokomotiv secures a top-four berth.
In his Iranian SuperLeague debut, forward Daniel Johnson was on fire, pouring in a game-high 21 points with 7 rebounds to help guide Petrochimi Bandar Imam Harbour to a 92-68 thrashing of Kashan. It was a convincing win for the 4-1 Petrochimi against the 2-3 Kashan, and ensures Johnson's team remain at the top of the table in group 1 of the second stage of the season in Iran. Their next challenge will be up against AJ Ogilvy's new team Azad.
Taking on first placed Monaco, ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne had difficulty in matching the title favourites across the first three-quarters, with the hosts doing the damage inside the paint and at the line. However the reigning champions dug deep for a final period run, yet they could not steal the game, going down 88-92. Veteran big man David Andersen came off the bench and made an impact, adding 11 points and 6 rebounds in playing 23 minutes. His side remains in eighth place, right on the edge of playoff qualification.
Žalgiris Kaunas destroyed lowly Nevėžis 82-54 in the Lithuanian national league to consolidate their place at the top of the table. A number of their stars played sparingly or were rested, with Brock Motum one of those players sitting the game out.
After winning the opening game of the playoff for third place in the Baltic League by 12 points over Kalev/Cramo, Tartu Rocklost the return contest by just 1 point (67-68). Based on aggregate, Tartu came away with the bronze medal to earn their first post-season accolade for 2017. In the second leg, Venky Jois came off the bench to score 4 points with 3 rebounds and 1 blocked shot in 15 minutes. Their next assignment will see them take on Tallinna/Kalev in the quarterfinals of the Alexela KML playoffs back in Estonia.
In their opening game of the semifinals series in Denmark, Horsens IC lost to Copenhagen at home 85-93. A strong finish to the game saw the visitors take out the game 1 win, with Dan Trist coming off the bench to add 6 points and 6 rebounds in 17 minutes. They will look to bounce back in game 2.
In the Greek A1 League, AEK Athens came away with a thrilling 82-81 victory over Kolossos. Brad Newley came off the bench to take on a defensive role, going scoreless in 16 minutes. With the win, they remain well clear in third place thanks to the win, although well behind Greek powerhouse clubs Olympiacos Piraeus and Panathinaikos.
With both teams requiring a win to help avoid relegation from the Greek A1, it was the newly promoted Kymis who earned the vital win over Opollon Patras. Kymis managed to break away late to record a 76-70 win. Guard Jason Cadee had a big impact, connecting on 3-of-6 from long-range en-route to scoring 17 points alongside 2 rebounds and 4 assists.
PAOK Thessaloniki enjoyed a much easier contest, cruising to a 75-66 victory over Koroivos to keep their noses in front for the battle for fourth place in the Greek A1. Nathan Sobey played a large role in the convincing win, gathering 15 points (6-of-11 FG) with 1 assist and 1 steal in 28 minutes.
Battling to stave off relegation from the Spanish ACB, Obradoiro were overrun by the higher ranked Unicaja Malaga 70-78. Veteran center Aleks Maric came off the bench to play just 4 minutes with no stats while compatriot David Barlow did not hit the court.
In his return to the lineup, Clint Steindl came off the bench to play 17 minutes in Leuven's upset 80-77 win over Limburg United in the Belgium EuroMillions League. While Steindl only contributed 3 points, it was a good win for his side which has lingered in second last place for most of the season.