Crvena Zvezda Belgrade took a huge step towards retaining its Adriatic League title for a third year with an 84-73 victory over Cedevita Zagreb in the best of five finals series. The win hands the Serbian league champions a 2-0 lead in the series after its first win on Monday.
Last week, Crvena Zvezda Belgrade was knocked out of the EuroLeague in heart-breaking fashion. Instead of losing confidence, the team has continued its excellent season in the opening two legs of the ABA League finals run. Of course, the Belgrade giant is hot favourite for a three peat, but the series now heads to Croatia, where Cedevita will hope home advantage can turn the tide.
Admittedly, it could go either way in Zagreb on Thursday, but don’t bet against Crvena Zvezda wrapping up the title in Game 3. After-all, this is a club that has lost just a handful of Adriatic League games over the last three seasons.
Crvena Zvezda Belgrade vs. Cedevita Zagreb, 84-73
The hosts carried on where they left off in Game 1 and drained a massive 29-point haul through the first quarter. Cedevita struggled to keep pace with just 18 points. Crvena Zvezda Belgrade went again in the second frame and plundered 28 points to 16 for a commanding 57-34 lead through the long break.
It was a hugely impressive first half, but the hosts did not maintain it. The Zagreb contingent won the third act 15-16 to reduce the deficit by a single point. Through thirty minutes the scoreboard read 72-50. While the quarterly scores will suggest the visitors went close, it wasn’t exactly the case. Cedevita made is interesting with a 12-23 fourth quarter, but Crvena Zvezda was coasting to victory.
Charles Jenkins paced the win with 16 points and 7 rebounds, while Nate Wolters added 14 points. Nemanja Dangubic dropped 12 points, followed by Luka Mitrovic and Marko Guduric claimed 10 points apiece.
Miro Bilan topped the losing effort with 12 points, with Ra’Shad James adding 11 points. John Shurna and Ryan Boatright scored 10 each.