We continue with our roundup of playoff action in various countries of the European continent. We come back to a short intermediate job of an ex-NBA player in Austria this time and give you of course the newest stories from the top leagues.
Austria is not known for being attractive to former NBA glories. But the Fürstenfeld Panthers did the incredible move of signing former NBA journeyman Alvin Sims for the decisive games in the semi-final. When I read that story, I really couldn’t believe it. Alvin Sims … isn’t he the shorter version of Oliver Miller in terms of physical fitness? How can a team sign this player in order to qualify for the championship games of his league? Especially if he directly talks trash about one of the most respected players in Austria: D.T. Mayes. This was on the 9th May. On the 21th May, after three games of the Finals and while trailing 1-2, Alvin Sims got cut because he was a few kilos overweight. Well, in Austria, they did not seem to know who they’d signed two weeks before.
In Turkey, Efes Pilsen will not play in the final this year after losing 3-0 in the semis against Fenerbahce Ülker. This is the end for a brutally bad season for the self-declared Final Four candidate from Istanbul. Ülker will play in the Finals against Türk Telekom, who finished the season in only 4th place and beat regular-season winner Besiktas 3-1.
The playoffs started only this week in France. And the only story you can tell is that the closest game was a 20-point blowout. In fact, all four games saw 20+ advantages for the winners, and the winners have all been the series favorites: Roanne, Nancy, Le Mans and ASVEL all took the first step to the semis. [tag]Marc Salyers[/tag] put on the real show with his 27 points in just 25 minutes of play.
In Spain, DKV Joventut advanced to the next round after beating Akasvayu Girona at home with 18 points from youngster [tag]Pau Ribas[/tag]. So the semis in Spain will face off Ricky vs. Rudy in Joventut and AXA FC Barcelona, while the second series will be between TAU Ceramica and Unicaja Malaga. See here the most spectacular plays of the quarterfinal series, as well as the Top 5 plays.
We’ve talked already about the nice story of Maroussi in the playoffs in Greece. Well, all beautiful stories must come to an end, and so Maroussi lost against Olympiakos. We will see classic Greek finals basketball again: Panathinaikos against Olympiakos. The semis were really close and Maroussi had the opportunity to advance to the Final, but Branko Milisavljevic’s last attempt went for a real “up and in – no good.”