Game Center: Unicaja steals home-court advantage
The first upset of the 7DAYS EuroCup Playoffs came in the second game of the night on Tuesday with Unicaja Malaga rallying from 21 points down to edge ALBA Berlin in the German capital behind mighty Mathias Lessort. Earlier, UNICS Kazan held serve against Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar and LDLC Asvel Villeurbanne and Valencia Basket won later. Game 2 in all four best-of-three quarterfinals will be on Friday at the respective home courts of the Game 1 visitors.
Quarterfinal A: ALBA Berlin 90-91 Unicaja Malaga (0-1)
Unicaja Malaga rallied from a 21-point deficit to stun ALBA Berlin 90-91 in a thriller Tuesday at
Max Schmeling Halle in the German capital. Mathias Lessort starred down the stretch with a key block on one end and the game-winning put-back slam with 2.2 seconds left. It marked the fourth time in as many EuroCup playoff series that Unicaja stole home-court advantage and now the 2017 champs will look to complete a quarterfinals sweep when they host Game 2 on Friday. Lessort finished with 18 points on near-perfect shooting, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks in one of his finest games in a Unicaja uniform. Adam Waczynski matched his career-high with 17 points and Dragan Milosavljevic added 10 for Unicaja against his former team. Peyton Siva made his EuroCup return for ALBA with 14 points and 7 assists; Rokas Giedraitis, Niels Giffey and Martin Hermannsson each scored 13 and Joshiko Saibou 10. Hermannsson also dished 10 assists in the loss.
Quarterfinal B: LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne 79-75 MoraBanc Andorra (1-0)
LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne rallied from a double-digit second-half deficit to edge visiting MoraBanc Andorra 79-75 and take a 1-0 lead in their best-of-three quarterfinals series on Tuesday night at the Astroballe. The two teams meet again in 72 hours in Andorra for Game 2. MoraBanc led 34-44 at the start of the second quarter, but Charles Kahudi fueled a 13-0 run before ASVEL took control in the fourth quarter and pulled out the victory. Kahudi scored 18 of his career-high tying 21 points in the third quarter to lead in victory, while A.J. Slaughter scored 11 of his 15 points in the second quarter for ASVEL. Moussa Diagne had 16 points on 6-for-6 two-point shooting and 8 rebounds to lead the visitors, while Michele Vitali netted 12 in the losing effort.
Quarterfinal C: Valencia Basket 75-64 Rytas Vilnius (1-0)
Valencia Basket struck first in the 7DAYS EuroCup Quarterfinals by topping Rytas Vilnius 75-64 at home on Tuesday. Valencia took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three playoffs series, which now moves to the Lithuanian capital for Game 2 on Friday. Matt Thomas led the winners with 15 points and Fernando San Emeterio, Alberto Abalde and Aaron Doornekamp each scored 10 for Valencia. D.J. Seeley and Deividas Sirvydis paced Rytas with 11 points apiece and Art Parakhouski and Mindaugas Girdziunas each had 10 for the visitors, which led 12-20 after 10 minutes. Valencia rallied in the second quarter, but Seeley gave Rytas a 26-30 edge at the break. Everything changed after that, as Matt Thomas helped Valencia to a 48-43 margin after 30 minutes and the hosts pulled away to 70-52 and never looked back.
Quarterfinal D: UNICS Kazan 86-66 Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar (1-0)
In an all-Russian showdown to open the 7DAYS EuroCup Playoffs, host UNICS Kazan walloped Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar 86-66 in Game 1 of their best-of-three quarterfinal series on Tuesday. UNICS has a 1-0 lead, but Lokomotiv hosts Game 2 on Friday. A win would send UNICS to the semifinals for the first time since 2015. Errick McCollum paced the winners with 32 points in a record-setting performance that included 15-for-15 free throw shooting. Pierria Henry added 18 points and 9 assists, while Raymar Morgan scored 10 for UNICS. Dmitry Kulagin led Lokomotiv with 17 points and JaJuan Johnson added 16 for the guests. Henry shined early as UNICS led 18-14 after 10 minutes, while McCollum helped keep a 41-38 margin at halftime. Both took over after the break, as UNICS boosted its margin to 66-50 after 30 minutes and cruised to a well-deserved win.