Lottomatica Roma thrashing Cibona 81-58
Lottomatica Roma advanced to the Top 16! Roma will continue fighting for Euroleague glory by thrashing Cibona 81-58 in the Italian capital on Thursday night. Roma needed to win by at least 14 points and wait for Unicaja get a road win in Belgrade to force a three-way tie for the fifth place with Cibona and Partizan, all with a 6-8 record. According to the first tie-break procedures, victories obtained in the games played only between all teams tied, Roma (2-2, +11) was fifth, Partizan (2-2, -3) sixth and Cibona (2-2, -8) seventh and therefore out of the Top 16. Mire Chatman led the winners with 19 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 6 steals. David Hawkins added 17 points while Dejan Bodiroga and Loukas Mavrokefalidis each had 11 for Roma. Brent Wright had 14 points and 12 rebounds for Cibona. Chris Warren and Andrew Wisniewski each added 11 while Davor Kus tallied 10 for the guests. Roma used an 11-0 run to get a 66-43 margin after three quarters and kept a safe margin to do its job in order to qualify. Everybody had to wait in front of the TV until Unicaja downed Partizan 90-94 in overtime to seal its ticket to the next round.
Both teams had a nervour start as Warren picked up an early offensive foul for Cibona and Ognjen Askrabic missed both free throws after getting fouled by Kus. Hawkins changed things by burying a triple to start the scoreboard, then Bodiroga assisted Alessandro Tonolli for a layup. Marton Bader finally got Cibona on the board with a strong layup, but Chatman drove easily to make it 7-2. Warren joined the scoring with a free throw and a triple that made it 7-6 before Bodiroga replied with a one-handed layup and Chatman scored again to make it 11-6 up after 5 minutes. Kus drove for an easy layup and then Luksa Andric scored won low as Cibona cut the difference to 13-10. Askrabic missed another pair of free throws but made amends by stepping out to nail a three-pointer. When Bodiroga copied him, Roma was running away at 19-10. Kus answerd for Cibona from the arc, while Wisniewski and Wright each made 1 of 2 free throws. Askrabic then assisted Luca Garri's two-handed dunk and Hawkins made both his free throws as Roma led 23-17 after one quarter.
Chatman started the second quarter strong a three-point play and a steal which made Cibona call timeout. Warren beat the shot clock with a tough jumper but a layup by Alex Righetti and a fast break basket off a steal by Chatman made it an 11-point game, 30-19. Even when Marton Bader dunked it, Hawkins improved it with a layup-plus-foul for a 33-21 Roma margin. Four more points by Hawkins allowed Roma to reach the desired 14-point margin, 37-23. Cibona kept looking for points around the basket, but Hawkins dunked it off a steal while Bodiroga made free throws for a 41-23 Roma lead after 17 minutes. Krasic scored in the lane and Wisniewski followed with a layup. Askrabic added another two before Chatman found Bodiroga for a 44-27 score.Marin Rozic made free throws but Hawkins - who else? - answered from downtown to make it 47-29. Free throws by Wisniewski and an easy basket by Wright brought Cibona within 47-33 at halftime.
Cibona kept struggling to score after the break, as Roma was virtually everywhere in defense. Meanwhile, Alessandro Tonolli and Chatman nailed consecutive bombs from downtown to boost Roma's lead to 53-33. Cibona was not done, however, as Wisniewski joined the three-point festival before Wright went in for a layup to get the guests going. By the time Warren stepped up with a fast break layup and Wright added a free throw, Cibona was within 53-41, after a 0-8 run. Hawkins rescued Cibona with a jumper and soon added free throws for a 55-41 score after 26 minutes. Kus fed Marijan Mance down low for a layup but Righetti answered with a three-pointer to give Roma a 58-43 lead. Even when Askrabic picked up his fourth foul, Luca Garri stepped up with a tip-in. Chatman shined with a three-pointer while Righetti added his own shot from downtown to cap a 11-0 run which gave the hosts a 66-43 lead after three quarters.
Krasic tried to ignit the Cibona comeback with a jump shot and Kus fired in a three-pointer to get the guests within 67-48. Roma did not lose control, however, as Mavrokefalides hit a jumper but Wisniweski bettered it with a layup-plus-foul to get Cibona even closer, 69-51, with 7 minutes to go. Chatman copied him in the other end, forcing Cibona to call timeout at 72-51. Cibone kept struggling in offense, even missing free throws. Roma did not do much better now, but a hook shot by Mavrokefalidis gave the hosts a safe 76-52 lead with 4 minutes remaining. Mavrokefalidis followed free throws with a layup, and even when Wright cut the deficit to 80-56, time was running out for Cibona. Roma let the clock run down, drawing cheers from the fans at PalaLottomatica as as they clinched an 81-58 triumph. The margin of victory was enough for Roma to reach the Top 16, but on the other hand did not allow Cibona to stay in the competition.
Thursday, February 1, 2007
Cindy Garcia, Rome