Zvezda captures Serbian crown
Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade is the 2021 Serbian League champion after seeing off Mega SoccerBet 77-65 in the deciding game of their best-of-three finals series. Langston Hall starred with 24 points, Ognjen Dobric added 15 points and 9 rebounds, Marko Simonovic scored 13, Dejan Davidovac tallied 10 points, 7 boards and 2 blocks and Landry Nnoko collected 11 rebounds. Filip Petrusev and Marko Simonovic scored 16 points apiece for Mega in defeat. Simonovic also grabbed 10 rebounds.
Mega led for most of the opening quarter and the score was tied at 34-34 with 3 minutes remaining in the first half. Hall scored 5 points in an 8-0 run that helped the hosts head into the locker rooms at halftime leading 44-36. Dobric gave Zvezda its first double-digit lead to start the second half and Nnoko gave the hosts their largest lead, 57-40. Simonovic scored half of Mega's points in a 0-10 run to finish the third quarter at 57-50. Dragan Milosavljevic got Mega within 63-58 with 5 minutes remaining. Dobric and Hall hit key threes to keep Zvezda in control as the hosts put the game away with time to spare.
ALBA repeats as German champion
ALBA Berlin successfully defended its German League championship by holding off FC Bayern Munich 79-86 in Game 4 to take their best-of-five finals series 3-1. ALBA never trailed, though Bayern put the pressure on late. Jayson Granger shined for ALBA with 29 points on 5-of-8 three-point shooting. Marcus Eriksson added 15 points and Simone Fontecchio scored 11 for the winners. Wade Baldwin IV paced Bayern with 18 points and 5 assists, Leon Radosevic scored 16 and grabbed 7 rebounds, JaJuan Johnson added 15 points and D.J. Seeley 10.
The hosts were held scoreless for the first 4 minutes as ALBA jumped out to a 0-6 lead through a pair of baskets from Eriksson. A three by Tim Schneider gave ALBA a double-digit lead, 3-13, and the visitors cruised to a 9-21 lead after 10 minutes. The lead peaked at 13-29 on a three by Granger. James Gist scored twice in a 9-0 Bayern run and Baldwin's free throws made it 30-38 at the break. Seeley got Bayern within 3 early in the third quarter, however, ALBA rebounded and remained in control with a 52-58 advantage heading into the fourth quarter. Bayern kept the pressure on throughout the final stanza; a triple by Radosevic made it 72-75 entering the final 2 minutes and Vladimir Lucic's three got Bayern within 77-78 with 16 seconds remaining. Luke Sikma made free throws to keep ALBA ahead and Radosevic was called for an unsportsmanlike foul, after which Eriksson, Fontecchio and Granger wrapped up the win from the foul line.
Spain: Barcelona wins Game 1 of finals
FC Barcelona started the Spanish league finals in style with a 75-89 victory over archrival Real Madrid. Cory Higgins paced the winners with 25 points, Brandon Davies added 13 points, Nick Calathes 12 and Kyle Kuric 11. Walter Tavares led Real with 16 points and 11 rebounds, Fabien Causeur scored 12 and Rudy Fernandez added 10 in defeat. It was all Real early with Tavares scoring twice as the hosts raced to a 9-0 start. Barcelona fought back through Kuric and Pau Gasol and trailed 20-15 after 10 minutes. Kuric hit back-to-back threes to tie the game at 32-32, but Alex Tyus and Fernandez helped Real regain a slim advantage, 36-33, at the break. Barcelona took control with a 0-17 third-quarter charge. Calathes's basket-plus-foul midway through the third quarter gave Barcelona its first lead of the night, 44-46, and by the time the run had ended, the margin was 10 points. Adam Hanga split free throws to make it 52-62 through three quarters. Barcelona added to the lead in the fourth and it reached 56-74 on a free throw by Kuric, from which Real never recovered.