Going. Going. Gone. Just like that, there are only two berths remaining for the 7Days EuroCup playoffs as ALBA Berlin and Unicaja Malaga secured their seats and advance in the competition.
ALBA Berlin locked up the top-seed of Group E with a 4-1 record after securing a road win vs. AS Monaco 61-75 on Tuesday. Rokas Giedraitis went off for 19 points for the German club, making 3-of-7 shots to pace his team’s offense. ALBA was defeated in the battle for 3-pointers made, securing only four total vs. eight from Monaco. They won this game on sheer dominance on the glass. Their work in the paint paid off as they came away with 38 rebounds in the contest, compared to 24 by their hosts. The second-chance points and their trips to the line (13-of-18) were big factors as well. Monaco is now 2-3 and will need Partizan (2-2) to fall to Rytas Vilnius (1-3) tonight in order to stay alive.
Unicaja Malaga’s road was far different from ALBA’s. They made the playoffs without even needing to play. How? The previously winless Limoges CSP Elite played stinger to Crvena Zvezda’s playoff hopes of moving on. Rallying from a 13-point deficit to upset their guests and come away with a 72-71 win. Both teams are now 1-4 as a result of this game outcome, effectively guaranteeing Unicaja Malaga, who are 3-1, a spot in the next phase of the competition.
Jerry Boutsiele was a force for Limoges, recording a 13-point, 13-rebound double-double as he controlled action in the paint. Solid ball movement and successful shooting from beyond the 3-point arc (11-of-25) made the difference for Limoges in their rally for the upset. Joe Ragland led Red Star with 15 points and six assists. In the end their defensive lapses caused them to falter in what should have been the easier of their two must-win games.
Unics Kazan (3-1) has a shot of joining Malaga and Berlin in the next stage tonight if they can pull off a road win at St. Petersburg vs. Zenit (1-3). The all-Russian tilt will be one to watch Zenit still has an outside shot of sliding through (mathematically speaking), should they win their next two and Unics lose their next two games.
Action in the 7Days EuroCup is already hitting a fever-pitch and we’re not even at the playoffs yet.