Panathinaikos pulls away to end Efes's win streak
Panathinaikos Athens took another big step towards a quarterfinal spot with a 75-62 win over Anadolu Efes in the Greek capital on Friday night. The victory improved the Greens’ record to 6-3 and a share of third place in Group E, while Efes saw its seven-game win streak snapped and dropped to 7-2 and second place. Efes, however, holds the tiebreaker over Panathinaikos, as the Turkish side won the first match-up by 14 points. The two teams were in a close affair for more than three quarters in OAKA. Efes made a 0-8 run that bridged the third and the fourth quarter to tie the game at 56-56. But Panathinaikos responded with a string of 16 unanswered points, with Roko Ukic making shots on both ends of the run that opened up the first double-digit lead of the game and sealed the deal. Ukic finished with 13 points, a career-high 9 rebounds and 5 assists, while Dimitris Diamantidis also had 13 points plus 5 assists. Michael Bramos and Sofoklis Schortsanitis each contributed 11 points in victory. Dusko Savanovic led Efes with game-high 21 points, while Jordan Farmar had 10 points plus 7 assists and Semih Erden chipped in with 7 in defeat.
First quarter: Triples from Savanovic put Efes in front
Jamon Lucas made a reverse layup to get things started, and Schortsanitis replied in the low post for the hosts. Efes went ahead with triples from Savanovic and Farmar before Erden's tip in made it 5-10. The Greens went inside to Schortsanitis often in the early going, but it was Diamantidis with a runner and a three-pointer who tied it at 12-12. Savanovic hit another one from downtown, but a fastbreak dunk from Kostas Tsartsaris gave Panathinaikos its first lead, 17-15. With the offenses slowing down on both ends and teams struggling to get open looks, Ermal Kuqo made couple of plays in the paint, first assisting Josh Shipp for an easy layup, and then laying it up himself for 19-21 at the end of the first quarter.
Second quarter: Both teams make runs, go into halftime tied
Bramos sank a three-pointer to open the second quarter and Banks followed it up with one of his own. Efes was winning the battle on the offensive glass, but had no points to show for it before Sinan Guler and Kerem Gonlum scored inside, 25-25. However, another triple from Banks sparked a 7-0 run that also saw Big Sofo muscle his way inside and Lasme hit a jumper. A driving layup from Ukic made it 34-26. After a timeout, Erden ended the visitors’ drought with a layup, and at the same time started 0-8 spurt of his team. After a put-back from Lucas, 4 free throws from Savanovic tied it at 34-34. Before halftime, Savanovic and Guler each scored inside, while Diamantidis and Jonas Maciulis made a couple of free throws apiece for 38-38 halftime tie.
Third quarter: Diamantidis fuels run to put Greens in front
Savanovic and Schortsanitis traded close range buckets at the beginning of the third quarter. After Ukic drove to the hoop, Schortsanitis also scored inside, but a layup-plus-foul from Savanovic made it 44-44. Diamantidis nailed a triple and Lasme scored twice inside to keep the Greens in front before Ukic made a driving layup and Diamantidis sank another shot from long range to make it 56-48. The hosts did not allow a single field goal in the final six minutes of the quarter, but free throws from Erden and Stanko Barac made it 56-51 after three quarters.
Fourth quarter: 16-0 run decides the outcome
Barac free throws, then made a tip-in as well to open the fourth quarter, before Kerem Tunceri hit a jumper to tie the game at 56-56. After a timeout, however, Panathinaikos strung together 16 points. Ukic sparked things with a floater, then Bramos added a jumper and Banks hit a triple from the right corner. Lasme contributed to the run with 2 huge blocks, while Maciulis and Bramos nailed back-to-back three-pointers and Ukic hit one of his own for 72-56. This run decided the winner, but the teams still battled for a tie-breaker knowing Efes won the first game b 14 points. Farmar made free throws to snap the hosts’ run, and Shipp hit a long jumper to cut it to 12 points. In the final minute, Bramos nailed an open triple from the right side, but Farmar answered with a jumper for 75-62. Panathinaikos had 17 seconds for the final possession, but Maciulis missed both three-point attempts as the tie-breaker ended up going the visitors’ way.
Friday, March 1, 2013