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EuroView: Daniel Johnson dominating in Iran, Dan Trist in Danish finals
Daniel Johnson is dominating the opposition in Iran, while Dan Trist again came up big to help his side qualify for the Danish grand final series where they have managed a 1-0 lead.
While technically playing in Asia, Daniel Johnson continues to excel in Iran, pouring in a game-high 32 points with 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocked shots as Petrochimi Bandar Imam Harbour smashed Chemidor 112-891 in the Iranian Superleague. The Aussie big man went 11-of-18 from the field, burying 5-of-7 from beyond the arc and 5-of-5 from the charity stripe. His side is the defending champions, and they currently reside in first place with a 7-1 record.
Dan Trist helped lead Horsens IC into the Danish Ligaen grand final series following a 3-1 series win against Copenhagen. In their 77-84 game 4 win and in 19 minutes off the bench, Trist delivered 12 points (6-of-9 FG) of Horsens' 52 in the paint, as his side dominated the interior.
In the grand final series, Horsens opened strongly to take game 1 against Bakken. Stepping up on the bigger stage, Trist was nothing short of phenomenal. The forward went 9-of-13 from the field on his way to compiling 22 points, with 3 rebounds and 2 assists. Horsens are now in the drivers seat to take out the 2017 Danish Ligaen title.
Behind a powerful 55-33 first half, Žalgiris Kaunas were never troubled against Šiauliai in prevailing 71-93 in the Lithuanian LKL. With ladder-leading Žalgiris spreading the minutes, Brock Motum added 9 points on 4-of-5 shooting with 2 rebounds and 3 assists in just 14 minutes. However their biggest test to come would be their next game against second placed Lietuvos Rytas.
In their match-up against Lietuvos Rytas, Žalgiris earned a slight advantage in a close first period. However across the second and third terms, the competition leaders dominated, outscoring their closest rivals 46-24 in that time. With the damage already done, Žalgiris continued on their way to a compelling 90-60 victory and once again stake their claim to the 2017 title. Motum was at his normal efficient best, contributing 10 points (4-of-5 FG) in 18 minutes.
With second place on the line in Lithuania, Lietkabelis received an unwelcome 60-92 lesson at the hands of Lietuvos Rytas. After a close start, Lietuvos Rytas proved far more composed and efficient, shooting at 57% from the field and forcing 13 turnovers compared to just 8 for themselves. It also helped that they badgered Ben Madgen for all of his 17 minutes in which he could add just 6 points with 3 rebounds and 2 assists.
Despite the tough loss, Lietkabelis bounced back quickly to crush Pieno žvaigždės 90-59. A devastating 26-13 opening term set the tone, and from there Lietkabelis was never seriously threatened. Madgen stepped up for 9 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists as his side now resides in outright third place in the standings, 4 games clear of fourth and 1 game behind second.
Lokomotiv Kuban enjoyed a good 71-84 win against Parma to remain in the hunt for third position in the VTB United League. Ryan Broekhoff was able to make a positive contribution on the scoreboard, compiling 13 points and 4 rebounds in 18 minutes, ending the game with the best plus/minus of any player on the court (+19).
After a last round 81-72 win against Tsmoki-Minsk, Lokomotiv were unable to leapfrog their way into third place, finishing the VTB United League regular season in fourth position. Broekhoff came off the bench to play 23 minutes and chip in 5 points and 5 rebounds as his side played safe to avoid any injuries ahead of their quarterfinal match up against fifth ranked Unics Kazan. Broekhoff finished 8th in the league in three-point shooting percentage at 44.6%.
In the Estonian Alexela KML playoffs, Tartu Rock advanced to the semifinals following a 3-0 series sweep over Tallinna Kalev. In game 3, Venky Jois went close to a double-double, adding 10 points, 8 rebounds and 1 assist in 18 minutes as his side won 74-56. Jois and Tartu have booked a date with Rapla who also advanced thanks to a 3-0 series win over Valga.
In their opening game of the Greek A1 playoffs qualifiers, PAOK Thessaloniki easily accounted for Lavrio 82-65. Nathan Sobey was rock solid in adding 15 points (5-0f-6 FG) with 2 rebounds and 2 assists in just 23 minutes. PAOK would then go on to sweep Lavrio 2-0 thanks to a 68-78 road victory. Sobey helped the visitors overcome an early 10 point deficit, gathering 13 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists in the strong win. His side now progresses to the quarterfinals to take on the waiting Aris. Brad Newley and his side AEK Athens await the winner of the AGOR and Kollossos series currently tied at 1-1, having qualified for their quarterfinal series due to their ladder position of third place.
Jonah Bolden was back to his best for FMP Belgrade in their 90-70 win against Mega Leks in the opening round of the second stage in the Serbian KLS. Bolden exploded for 20 points (4-of-7 3PT) with 10 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 steals in a commanding individual performance. His outburst was a timely reminder to NBA scouts of his huge potential and upside ahead of the 2017 Draft.
In an evenly contested first quarter, the Leuven Bears matched it with their high-ranked opponents Willebroek in the Belgium EuroMillions League. However Willebroek completely outclassed Leuven in the second period to take a 15 point lead into the main break. While the Bears would show some fight in the third term to narrow the margin, Willebroek were far too strong and cruised to a 78-67 win. Forward Clint Steindl played 26 minutes for 9 points on 3-of-5 triples with 2 rebounds. The Bears remain in second last place in the standings.