Caja Laboral, which stopped Maroussi 83-103
For the second week in a row, this time with more fireworks, Caja Laboral took its show on the road and registered a Group C road win by pulling away from host Maroussi BC 86-103 on Wednesday in Athens. Caja Laboral raised its record to 3-1, which will be good enough to either own second place or tie for first when the week ends in Group C. Maroussi fell to 1-3 and fifth place heading into a one-week break in the regular season. The visitors led early, the hosts fought back before halftime, but the experience of Caja Laboral served to take the game back shortly after the break and not let the outcome be threatened after that. Five different Caja Laboral shooters made 2 or more three-point shots as the team blasted 14 of its 22 attempts from the arc to decide the game. Carl English led the winners with 17 points, including 3 three-pointers. Mirsa Teletovic had 4 of those triples among his 16 points, the same total as Fernando San Emeterio. Lior Eliyahu added 12 points and Pau Ribas 10 for the winners. Maroussi got 23 points off the bench from Kostas Kaimakoglou, 14 each from Jared Homan and Jamon Lucas, and 10 more from Dimitrios Mavroeidis.
Levon Kendall sank a three-pointer and made a block on defense to start the game right for the hosts, who took an early 7-4 lead. Caja Laboral reacted immediately with a huge 0-11 run highlighted by 5 points from Tiago Splitter and a triple by Ribas. Worse for Maroussi, Kendall went down then with an injury to his leg which will keep him sidelined for at least two months, the team said afterward. Meanwhile San Emeterio climbed off the visitors bench and soon proved to be on fire with 9 consecutive points based on 2 three pointers and a traditional three-point basket-plus-free throw. As a result of his explosion, Caja Laboral soared ahead by 16-27 at the end of the first quarter.
Maroussi head coach Giorgos Bartzokas tried to improve his team's perimeter defense and ball-handling by trying a scheme with three point guards - Billy Keys, Marios Batis and Igor Milosevic - which worked enough to cut the margin to 26-32. San Emeterio came up big again for the visitors, however, scoring again from behind the arc to extend the gap to 26-35. As Caja Laboral built a tremendous percentage in three-point shots, the visitors had an answer every time that Maroussi tried to come back. When Keys also drained a three-pointer at 33-41, Caja Laboral kept on rolling despite Splitter and San Eeterio committing third personal fouls already. English hit another big triple for an 11-point lead, 37-48, but Maroussi didn't surrender. With Homan and Kaimakoglou sharing the scoring, the hosts drew within 43-49. With off-setting triples for either side by Teletovic and Michailis Pelekanos, the end of the first half found Caja Laboral still 6 points ahead, 46-52.
Caja Laboral started the third quarter at full speed, with Brad Oleson and Ribas continuing its amazing shooting performance from downtown. Maroussi grabbed offensive boards and had second chances shots, but couldn't find the bottom of the basket and missed a lot of free throws. That quickly, the visitors had a 3-10 and had opened up a 49-62 advantage. Maroussi switched its defense from man-to-man to a 2-3 zone to try to stay competitive, but Caja Laboral had a lot of alternatives, especially from the perimeter, and with Teletovic hitting more shots and Stanko Barac helping at the foul line, the visitors finished the third quarter with a 14-point gap, 65-79.
With Caja Laboral transforming the night into a shooting display, Maroussi didn't have much of chance to react. Early in the fourth quarter, English sank another big three to make push the difference above 20 points, to 67-88. Thanks to a succession of three-pointers and fastbreaks after that, Caja Laboral offered a lot of basketball highlights and registered an easy and spectacular win on the road, 86-103.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Vassilis Skountis, Athens