After a long and grueling regular season, eight of the best started their playoff journey in hope to become this year’s champion.
Game ones started on Thursday night and sadly all of the games were decided before fourth quarter as only one team got a road win in game one.
Valencia got a huge 91-75 win in Bilbao to get a break in the series.
Valencia simply shot Bilbao out of the gym, drilling 14 threes in the game from 27 attempts (52 percent). Bilbao tried to rally back in the third, but Valencia again ran away in the fourth to a double digit lead and they didn’t let up after that.
On the other hand bad shooting doomed Bilbao as they shot 26 percent from three. Sam Van Rossom and Pau Ribas led Valencia with 13. Veteran Alex Mumbru had 18 for Bilbao.
Unicaja dominated Laboral Kutxa in game 1 even though result doesn’t reflect that. Unicaja won 69-55, but they had a 26-point lead ahead of the fourth quarter. Big difference in this game was rebounding as the home team had 19 offensive rebounds. Vladimir Golubović had 13 rebounds in the game. six of them were offensive.
Laboral did win the last quarter by 12 to cut the lead down to 14, but it was too late. Mike James led the winners with 11 in this one.
One thing to watch ahead of game 2 is the injury of Stefan Marković who hurt his leg in the fourth quarter and didn’t come back. We will see if he’ll dress up in game 2.
On the other hand, Laboral needs to play a lot better and even though they entered the playoffs scoring two wins over Real Madrid and Obradorio, they showed a lot of same things when they were in the bad run that almost costed them a playoff birth. Bad execution and some would even say a lack of effort.
Barcelona hosted their Catalan neighbors Joventut as visitors tried to repeat their win in Blaugrana that they achieved earlier this season. They had no chance in this one with Barcelona easing to a 77-55 success.
Barca dominated from the get go, taking advantage in their size over Joventut centers and getting in the paint at will as they shot 58 percent for two and getting 20 more rebounds.
Ante Tomić scored at will due to his size advantage over Sitapha Savane. He led the home side with 14 points and seven rebounds. Demond Mallet led visitors with 13.
Real Madrid finally got over their Euroleague hangover. They came into the playoffs with 2 straights losses, losing to both Laboral Kutxa and Manresa, but they made a statement on Friday as they crushed Gran Canaria 101-74.
Gran Canaria actually started the game on a 12-0 run after Brad Newley layup, playing some really strong defense and getting out and running in the open field.
However, Real quickly came back and took the first quarter lead 27-24. Sergio Rodriguez took over the game after that with some really nice ball handling and shooting as he was perfect from the field shooting 7/7 and scoring 20 points. Real took the 20-point lead in the third and closed the game easily in the end.
Brad Newley had 20 for the Canarians.
Game 2 will be played on Saturday except Gran Canaria – Real game. That game is on schedule for Sunday afternoon.