Valencia and Unics reach Eurocup final
After a long and very tough Eurocup campaign, the final has been set and will take place between Valencia and Unics Kazan in just over two weeks time. Up for grabs in the home and away format finals series will be a place in next season´s Euroleague and of course the honor of being crowned the 2014 Eurocup champions.
To get to this stage both clubs have impressed, not least in their semifinal games where Valencia cruised through and Kazan came back to book easy passage to the season showpiece. The series will run between the 1st and 7th May, 2014.
Semifinals Game 2
Unics Kazan vs. Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade, 84-67 (136-130)
After an incredible game in Serbia last week, Russian club Unics Kazan had it all to do as the team trailed Crvena Zvezda by 11 points heading into this encounter. The unforgettable scenes in the Kombank Arena a week ago will live long in the memory, and Belgrade would have felt confident in Game 2 with a 63-52 lead to protect. However, Kazan has proven one of the most consistent teams on the continent this season and came through a potentially tricky game to reach the final.
The game started very quietly with only two baskets in the first five minutes. The two teams traded throughout the entire first period and ended the 10 minutes tied at 15 apiece. In the second quarter the visitors used a 3-8 run to pull 20-23 in front, but Unics had started working the basket from beyond the arc and used a strong middle of the quarter to propel themselves to a halftime lead of 42-36 (94-99). The hosts had almost cut the aggregate score in half and during the third period cut further into the deficit until the series was tied at 101-101 (49-38 in the game). By time 30 minutes was on the clock the score read 65-49. Crvena responded slightly in the fourth but Unics Kazan had found a rhythm and continued to push for what turned into a comfortable score on the night and enough on aggregate to reach the final.
Andrew Goudelock was fantastic again for Unics Kazan and collected 17 points, 6 assists, and 4 rebounds.
Boban Marjanovic scored 12 for Belgrade and recorded a double-double by adding 11 rebounds to his haul.
Nizhny Novgorod vs. Valencia, 53-79 (128-163)
Valencia played a fantastic away game to book a place in the Eurocup final for the fourth time, a record in the competition. The Spanish club had won by nine points (84-75) at home a week ago and while that was a decent cushion, many thought Novgorod would prove a threat when the series returned to Russia. Unfortunately for Nizhny that didn´t happen as Valencia eased through the semifinal stage into the finale of the competition.
A good start was vital for Nizhny if the team was going to reel in the deficit from last week. It was not to be in the opening minutes though as the visitors kept pace with the Russian team, as both sets of players traded baskets. By the middle of the quarter it was clear that Valencia had another gear and by the end of the first quarter the Spanish team already held a comfortable 14-22 lead. A triple to open the second quarter for Valencia gave the team a twenty point aggregate advantage and made Novgorod´s chances of success even slimmer. The Trade Union Sport Palace was becoming quite as the Nizhny fans knew the final was slipping away, with Valencia pressing to a 25-39 (100-123) halftime lead. Any hopes of a comeback were dashed in the third quarter when the Spanish away team hit a 0-14 run to make the score unreachable after three frames (39-66 on the night). In the final stanza Valencia continued to press and secured a comfortable win.
Bojan Dubljevic paced Valencia with 13 points, while Romain Sato grabbed 11 points.
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