Alba Berlin used its first Group A home game of the season to pick up its first win, 85-70 over Siauliai of Lithuania. Alba lifted its record in the group to 1-1 while Siauliai stayed winless at 0-2. Led by Dijon Thompson with 22 and Julius Jenkins with 21
points, the Berliners used a 16-2 run at the beginning of the second
quarter to find the road to victory. Siauliai during the first half
resisted with Antonio Grant, who finished with 18 points. The visitors came back in the last
quarter with their own 3-15 run, but were not able to continue their
rally until the siren. Patrick Femerling added 12 points for Alba, while Saulius Kuzminskas picked up 13 for the visitors.
Easy baskets turned out as the key for both sides in the nervous first
minutes, when no shots from outside went in. Jenkins opened
the scoreboard for Alba with quick drives. Goran Nikolic and
Kuzminskas exchanged inside points as Alba stayed up 13-9 lead, before
Grant put 7 consecutive points together that gave Siauliais a 15-18 lead. Alba answered inside with
Mladen Pantic and Femerling to go ahead 24-21, but Grant tied the game with his second triple. Based on
their height advantage under the basket, Alba several times started to
escape, but Grant, who scored 17 points in the first half, was
always there to answer. Only when Jenkins and Thompson
started to hit their shots from outside, too, did Alba manage to gain
a 47-40 halftime lead.
Femerling opened the third quarter with a layup, and soon all went the way of the hosts. Two steals by Jenkins resulted in
Alba's 53-36 lead. A timeout by Siauliai coach Robertas Kuncaitis
could not stop Alba's run, either. With Grant totally shut down now, tjhe visitors struggled to find easy baskets against Alba's great defense. Meanwhile, Jenkins and Bobby Brown scored from everywhere to
boost Alba in front by 63-42. The guests were not finished yet, and at the
beginning of the last quarter hustled back into the action as Mantas Ruikis finished a 0-11 run which left a 70-61 score after Alba went scoreless for 5 minutes. Alba coach Luka
Pavicevic took a timeout, but Siauliai followed Arturas Masiulis and
Gedimiams Maceina to get within 73-67, before Jenkins and
Nikolic hit midrange jumpers to end the scare for Alba.
Thompson, Femerling and Pantic joined in to secure
Alba's 85-70 win in the last minutes of the game.
Alba Berlin head coach Luka Pavicevic
"This was an important win for us at the end of a difficult week. We had
only one day to prepare for this game, but my players controlled the
game from the start. Siauliai grabbed many offensive rebounds, and this helped them to stay in the game during the first half. After the
break we controlled the rebounds better and this helped us to build our
lead. When we lost three balls in a row, the game went away from us, but
fortunately we stopped this in time. I congratulate my players, that
they got back into the game and made it in the end."
Alba Berlin guard Julius Jenkins
"I think we played good defense tonight and stopped them from doing
their main plays. Also we ran our offense very well, hit our shots and
got a lot of baskets out of our pick-and-rolls. In the last quarter we
maybe relaxed a little early, but we were able to pick it up and in the
end it was a 15-point win. So it was OK. I feel good now, as the team
is playing good together, even Aleksandar Rasic, who arrived only
yesterday, was playing good with us at once."
Siuaulai head coach Robertas Kuncaitis
"We had to play against a very good team. I am not happy with the
result. We had 18 turnovers and played bad on defense. Congratulations
to Alba and good luck for the next game."
Siuaulai forward Antonio Grant
"Alba after the break came out with a lot of intensity, and we really didn't
match their intensity. Playing on the road, we can't afford to come out
like that in a third quarter, when we expect to win a game. The best
thing from this game is that we played the whole 40 minutes, fought
back and although we made a lot of mistakes were able to stay in the
game all the way to the end. You have to give credit to Alba. They
played well and did what was needed to get the win. We are now looking
forward to see them come to Siauliai. We still have some guys on the
team who are not really healthy. Hopefully things will turn out better
for us in the next games."
Wednesday, November 14, 2007