Domestic leagues in Europe round-up

The majority of the leagues around Europe are now in playoff mode, so here’s a look at what’s going on in leagues around Europe.

Spain

The ACB playoffs are now set but the league takes a two week break now as Barcelona travel to Istanbul for the Euroleague Final Four and the other teams prepare for the post-season.

Barcelona ended the season with a 77-71 road win over Manresa to finish top of the pile leading to the playoffs, they played with Juan Carlos Navarro. They will face eighth placed Lucentum in the first round as they won at home 66-55 against Fuenlabrada and thus pipped Unicaja Malaga to the final playoff spot as the Euroleague will miss out on the playoffs and will be biting their nails as to what the decision will be regarding their status in the Euroleague for next season.

Real Madrid secured second with a 95-82 home win against Joventut and will face seventh placed Blanca Civica Seville who despite losing to Unicaja 75-66 already had a playoff spot in hand. Caja Laboral ended their campaign in third and will face sixth seed Gescrap Bilbao in the pick of the games in the ACB playoffs and fourth place Valencia will host Lagun Aro GBC completing the line-up.

Valladolid and Estudiantes have been relegated and will compete in the LEB Gold next season.

The playoffs start on May 17th and TalkBasket will provide you with round-ups of every match.

Russia

CSKA Moscow and BC Khimki will fight it out in a best-of-five finals series after they came through their playoff rounds with relative ease.

CSKA, who will now be fully focused on the Euroleague Final Four sweeped Lokomotiv 2-0 as did Khimki with a whitewash of Eurochallenge semi-finalists Triumph, who finished third with a 12-6 record.

With Andrei Kirilenko in the line-up, CSKA are looking at a treble-winning season by winning the PBL crown and the Euroleague, adding to their VTB United League as they beat Unics Kazan in Vilnius, who despite a good showing in this season’s premier club competitiion in Europe, ended the domestic league in sixth place with a losing 8-10 record.

The finals start in Moscow on May 16th.

Greece

In a controversial year in Greek basketball with financial troubles headlining the news instead of basketball, fierce rivals Panathinaikos and Olympiacos will look to bring basketball back to life in the A1 Finals starting on May 17th.

It’s the familar story though in Greece with no team able to match the talent and ‘money’ of the two sides as both Panathinaikos and Olympiacos will also compete in Istanbul for the Euroleague Final Four this week. Panathinaikos though met a stumbling block though as Kolossos beat the Greens in their semi-final game three after two 30-plus point victories in the first two games for Zeljko Obradovic’s men at the OAKA.

Panathinaikos ended up 3-1 series winners.

Olympiacos had little trouble disposing of Panionios, sweeping them in two games with 20-plus point wins.

Germany

The first round of the German Bundesliga playoffs have already begun after Brose Baskets ended the regular season on top with a 30-4 record, but on the first night of the playoffs, it was they who lost the first game in their home tie against Telekom Baskets 75-74, giving them a shock 1-0 lead with game two on Thursday.

There was no nasty surprise though for second place Ratiopharm as they thrashed NY Phantoms 101-79 and ALBA Berlin, who finished third, defeated Wuerzburg 75-67.

Bayern Munich won on the road in the other playoff as they comfortably saw-off Artland Dragons 82-68 to take a 1-0 series lead.

It will be Munich and Artland who tip-off the game two round on Wednesday.

Italy

Montepaschi Siena have ended the regular season with a crushing 113-57 win over woeful Fabi Shoes Monteranaro to finish top of the Italian Serie A with a 24-8 record. The will face eigth seed Cimberio in the first round after they pleased their home fans with a final day 83-78 win against Banca Tercas. Armani Jeans Milano pipped Bennet Cantu to second place after Milan defeated Angelico Biella 97-77 and Cantu lost to CS Bologna 66-65 which snapped the Euroleague’s surprise team’s three-game winning streak.

Milano will square-off against seventh placed Umana Venezia, who dropped their final game at home to Sidigas AV while Cantu will play sixth Scavolini PS, the latter also lost their last game which was a surprise road loss to basement side Novipiu Casale Monferrato.

The playoff picture is completed with fourth seed Sardegna hosting fifth placed CS Bologna.

The Serie A playoffs will begin May 17th.

Lithuania

Zalgiris have taken a 1-0 lead in the LKL Finals 2012 after a 71-56 win over close rivals Lietuvos Rytas in Kaunas.

Marko Popovic led the victors with 13 points on a very balanced scoresheet for the Kaunas side. They dished out 22 assists in a very unselfish team display as their Vilnius opponents had no answer.

Robertas Javtokas grabbed a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds for the victors.

Both teams had little trouble getting to the final, Zalgiris defeated Rudupis 2-0 in the semi-finals and Lietuvos Rytas swept third placed Siaulai as well.

Game two is on Thursday.

Great Britain

Newcastle Eagles and Leicester Riders will face-off in the BBL Playoff Final at Birmingham’s National Indoor Arena after both came through tricky semi-final match-ups.

Newcastle overcame a ten point first leg deficit at home to defeat the Cheshire Jets in Chester 79-64 winning the series 168-163 on aggregate.

Leicester Riders were a little more comfortable but still had to come from behind to beat Glasgow Rocks at home in the second leg to progress. Riders lost in Glasgow 77-76 but eased past the Scottish team 97-72 to win 173-149 on aggregate and set up the final showdown between the top two sides.

The Final will be Saturday evening

TalkBasket will be covering the BBL Playoff final in Birmingham.