Gist, Maciulis lead Panathinaikos to big home win
Panathinaikos Athens improved to 2-1 in Top 16 Group E by topping Unicaja Malaga 78-73 in the Greek capital on Thursday. Panathinaikos grabbed its fifth consecutive home win, while Unicaja registered its second straight loss and dropped to 1-2. James Gist paced the winners with 17 points against his former team. Marcus Banks and Jonas Maciulis each added 14 and Dimitris Diamantidis dished 8 assists before leaving the game with a sprained ankle. Earl Calloway led Unicaja with 14 points. Krunoslav Simon, Andy Panko and Luka Zoric each added 11 and Kosta Perovic pulled down 13 rebounds for the guests. Diamantidis led Panathinaikos to a 23-19 lead in the first quarter and an outstanding Banks made it a double-digit game, 33-23, right after that. Calloway led a 0-11 run, which Sergi Vidal capped with a three-pointer to give Unicaja the lead, 33-34. Three-pointers by Banks and Maciulis gave Panathinaikos a 39-37 lead at the break. Unicaja did not give up, as Calloway and a three-point play by Zoran Dragic helped the guests take a 56-58 edge after three quarters. Gist and Maciulis fueled a 9-0 run that seemed to seal the outcome, 73-64, but Unicaja got within 73-71 in the final minute. Free throws by Banks and Mike Bramos in the final 25 seconds iced the result.
First quarter: Panathinaikos gets lead in run-and-gun show
Gist got Panathinaikos going with a put-back slam, but Simon answered from downtown for a 2-3 Unicaja lead. Diamantidis sank a three-pointer from the top of the key and an alley-oop slam by Gist gave Panathinaikos a 7-3 edge. Zoric scored down low and a long two-pointer by Earl Calloway tied it at 7-7. Maciulis nailed a catch-and-shoot triple and a put-back dunk by Perovic kept Unicaja within 10-9. Roko Ukic scored in penetration and free throws by Maciulis boosted Panathinaikos's lead to 14-9. Fran Vazquez stepped up with a floating layup and a fast break basket by Simon kept Unicaja as close as 15-13. Stephane Lasme and Gist made free throws, but Dragic and Txemi Urtasun matched those with back-to-back layups. Diamantidis sank foul shots and Mike Bramos scored in transition to boost the hosts' lead to 22-17. Free throws by Zoric and Sofoklis Schortsanitis fixed the score at 23-19 after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Banks keeps the Greens ahead
Schortsanitis dunked early in the second quarter, but Zoric quickly answered with a put-back slam. Banks struck from downtown, extending the hosts' lead to 28-21. Unicaja kept struggling to score until Marcus Williams fed Zoric for a fast break dunk. Banks buried another three-pointer and followed that with a fast break layup to make it a double-digit game, 33-23. Unicaja called timeout and improved its defense, playing more aggressive at both ends. Meanwhile, Panko buried a corner triple to get within 33-26. Calloway took over with a step-back three-pointer and a floating jumper by Urtasun caused the hosts to call timeout, 33-31. Panathinaikos was held scoreless for more than three minutes when a three-pointer by Vidal completed the guests' comeback, 33-34. Banks quickly answered from downtown, but a rainbow jumper tied it at 36-36. Perovic split free throws, but Maciulis downed a corner triple to put the Greens back ahead, 39-37, at halftime.
Third quarter: Calloway gives Unicaja the lead
Lasme banked in a close shot immediately after the break, which Panko matched with a six-meter jumper. Lasme split free throws before a red-hot Panko took over with his trademark running jumper and Zoric soon tied it at 42-42. Gist and Schortsanitis tried to change things with foul shots, but a driving layup by Urtasun kept Unicaja within 45-44. Jason Kapono struck from downtown and Gist bettered Calloway's jumper with his own shot from beyond the arc, good for a 51-46 Panathinaikos lead. Panko stepped up with a second-chance layup and matched Kapono's jumper with a driving layup. Kapono kept pacing the Greens with a mid-range jumper, but Calloway did better with a three-pointer and a fast break layup that tied the game again, 55-55. Dragic took over with a three-point play and a free throw by Diamantidis kept Panathinaikos within 56-58 at the end of the third quarter.
Fourth quarter: The drama lasts till the final minute
An acrobatic layup by Simon made it a four-point game early in the fourth quarter. Lasme sank free throws, as Unicaja kept powering the offensive boards. Zoric shined with a driving layup, Ukic split foul shots and a three-pointer by Maciulis tied it at 62-62 with six minutes to go. Unicaja struggled to score when it mattered most and Diamantidis left the game with an ankle injury. Gist rescued the Greens with a corner three-pointer and free throws by Ukic capped a 9-0 Panathinaikos run. Unicaja was held scoreless for almost four minutes until Simon made free throws. Maciulis nailed one from downtown and Gist copied him soon after that for a 73-64 score with more than two minutes remaining. Urtasun buried a five-meter jumper and a fast break layup by Calloway gave Unicaja some hope at 73-68. Perovic split free throws, Ukic missed from downtown and Simon made it 73-71 with 27.2 seconds left. Banks split foul shots, Simon missed from downtown and free throws by Bramos sealed the outcome, 76-71, with 12.4 seconds left.
Thursday, January 10, 2013