ALBA Berlin close in on German crown

ALBA Berlin took a big step towards its ninth domestic championship in knocking off MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg 88-65 in Game 1 of the Finals of the German League Final Tournament.

Martin Hermannsson and Rokas Giedraitis scored 14 points each to pace seven players in double figures for ALBA, in preparation for Game 2, where you can also bet on events.

Landry Nnoko, Marcus Eriksson and Niels Giffey all added 12 points and Luke Sikma and Peyton Siva both chipped in 10 points for ALBA, which is appearing in its third straight Finals.

Nick Weiler-Babb and Jonas Wohlfarth-Bottermann both tallied 11 points for Finals debutant Ludwigsburg which was playing without Marcos Knight, who was arguably the leading candidate for the tournament MVP and had collected double-doubles in the last four games for the team. 

Jaleen Smith’s three-pointer opened the scoring in the tournament for Ludwigsburg and Eriksson’s floater gave ALBA its first lead 7-5.

Eriksson added a three-pointer in a 7-0 ALBA surge for a 14-8 cushion Niels Giffey’s trey made it 19-13 after 10 minutes. Ludwigsburg teenagers Jacob Patrick and Lukas Herzog hit three-pointers to cut the deficit down to 22-20 early in the second quarter. ALBA responded with defense, strong offensive execution and offensive rebounding for an 18-4 run and a 40-24 advantage, and Siva’s three-pointer just before the break had ALBA up 46-29 at halftime. 

Giedraitis and Giffey both hit three-pointers and scored five points in a 12-2 start to the second half for a 58-31 cushion. Nnoko dominated with five straight points in a 9-2 surge as the advantage swelled to 30 points, 67-37, and it was 69-42 after 30 minutes.

Looking ahead to Game 2, Ludwigsburg tried to cut into the deficit and Weiler-Babb had a three-point play and put-back dunk in a 0-9 Ludwigsburg run to trim the gap to 73-53. ALBA did not let Ludwigsburg closer than 18 points and Hermannsson hit a three-pointer among six straight points to make it 83-61 and re-establish control. 

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