Real Madrid shuts out Panathinaikos at finish for comeback win
Real Madrid held Panathinaikos scoreless for the game's final 6 minutes, 30 seconds to nail down a 54-58 comeback victory in Athens on Friday and remain the only undefeated team in Group E of the Top 16. Madrid is now 5-0 and alone in first place, while Panathinaikos dropped to fourth place at 3-2. Madrid trailed for more than 34 minutes of the game, by as many as 14 points, before its closing 0-10 run shocked Panathinaikos and its home crowd. On a night when its leading scorers were limited to single digits, Felipe Reyes led Madrid with 13 points, while rookie Rafael Hettsheimeir added 11 on near-perfect shooting and 5 rebounds. Panathinaikos had only one double-digit scorer, Michael Bramos with 11 points, as it was held to just 17 points in the second half by Madrid's defense. Its 54 points were the lowest total scored by Panathinaikos in the 252 Euroleague game the team has played this century.
Diamantidis returns in style!
Jonas Maciulis got the scoreboard rolling with a layup for Panathinaikos. Rudy Fernandez went the free throw line to tie the game as Panathinaikos got its first substitute after just a minute, Dimitris Diamantidis, who was out injured two of the previous three games. Nikola Mirotic hit a baseline one-hander for Madrid's first lead. Diamantidis connected with Roko Ukic for a layup before Kostas Tsartsaris dropped a baseline shot, too. Then Diamantids changed hands for a layup, Lasme blocked Mirotic's shot and Tsartsaris downed a three-pointer for an 11-6 Panathinaikos advantage. Madrid center Hettsheimeir hit the first three-pointer of his Euroleague career, but after a timeout, Bramos downed the same shot, his specialty, to make it 14-9. When Ukic came from beyond the arc for a driving layup, it was 16-9. The quarter hit a crescendo when Diamantidis stole and went behind his back twice, the second time with a pass to Bramos for a fastbreak dunk. When Sofoklis Schortsanitis joined the scoring, Panathinaikos led 20-11 after 10 minutes.
Group effort keeps Greens ahead
Schortsanitis opened the second quarter by giving the Greens the game's first double-digit lead on an inside bucket. Reyes broke Madrid's scoring slump all by himself, first with a three-point basket-plus-free throw and then with a single strike from the arc to cut the difference in half, 22-17. Madrid had only scored 2 free throws in the 10 minutes before that. Tsartsaris returned after a timeout to back down for a jump hook, and when his next one missed, Lasme collected the rebound and slammed to make it 26-17. Madrid answered with a jump hook by Mirza Begic that Jason Kapono matched with free throws for Panathinaikos. But with a second steal in a row, Ukic scored and Tsartsaris soon added a free throw for the highest lead yet, 31-19. After a touch pass from Schortsanitis to James Gist, Fernandez had Madrid's answer from downtown to make it 33-23. After a technical foul on Real Madrid coach Pablo Laso, dueling three-pointers by Bramos and Rodriguez left a 37-27 halfitme scoreboard.
Behind big men, Madrid hangs in
Hettsheimeir gave Madrid a spark again to open the third quarter with a layup and free throws that cut the difference to 37-31. Just when Panathinaikos was hurting for points, Gist hit a big three-pointer that Maciulis copied the next time down the floor to restore a double-digit lead, 43-33. Llull buried his first triple in response, then Hettsheimeir became Madrid's first double-digit scorer with free throws to make it 45-38. But then Schortsanitis gave Panathinaikos a four-point possession and a 49-38 lead by drawing an unsportsmanlike and a normal foul, after a basket, on Marcus Slaughter. Fernandez miraculously fed Begic for a dunk before Reyes dropped free throws and scored inside for a 0-6 run. Madrid got three chances to make it closer in the final possession, and despite missing each of them, was as close as 49-44 after 30 minutes.
Madrid defense leads comeback!
Dueling baskets by Ukic and Dontaye Draper started the fourth quarter. But the biggest cheer came for Lasme stopping a breakaway layup by Draper with another huge block. Bramos made it 54-46 with a triple, but Reyes answered with a jump-hook and Fernandez scored high over Lasme for Madrid's closest approach since the game's opening minutes, 54-50. Begic blocked Gist at one end and scored over him at the other to make it 54-52. Madrid missed two three-pointers to take the lead before Rodriguez hit from the arc on the third try for his team's first advantage, 54-55, in more than three quarters. The next basket, Draper over Schortsanitis with a deep two-pointer, made it 54-57. The Greens couldn't buy a basket, as Kapono and Maciulis missed from downtown while the clock ran below 2 minutes. Lasme's shot inside rolled around and out, but Madrid couldn't score either. After a timeout with 37 seconds left, Panathinaikos came up empty again while Reyes went to the free throw line to seal the victory that kept Madrid perfect so far in the Top 16.
Friday, January 25, 2013