Panathinaikos hammered Efes Pilsen 84-61
Panathinaikos bounced back from last week's loss in Turkish Airlines Euroleague Group D by downing Efes Pilsen 84-61 in Athens, Greece on Thursday night. Panathinaikos ties with Union Olimpija for first place at 3-1, with Efes and AJ Milano right behind at 2-2. Mike Batiste led the winners with 17 points. Stratos Perperoglou added 12 while Romain Sato and Nick Calathes each added 11 for Panathinaikos. Bostjan Nachbar led Efes with 13 points. Andrew Wisniewski added 12, Igor Rakocevic had 11 while Kerem Gonlum and Ender Arslan each got 10 for the guests. An 8-0 run that Perperoglou capped with a three-pointer gave the Greens the lead for good, 15-12, after 10 minutes. Panathinaikos used a 14-0 run to boost its margin to 38-19 near halftime and managed to keep a double-digit lead from that moment until the final buzzer.
Milenko Tepic got the Greens going with a running jumper and Gonlum matched with a layup for a 2-2 tie. Antonis Fotsis finished a three-chance Panathinaikos offense with a tip-in and Batiste added a two-handed reverse dunk, as Efes struggled to find open looks. Rakocevic rescued the guests with a corner triple, as Efes tried to slow down the game tempo, using long possessions to find better options in offense. Fotsis got the crowd involved with a dunk but Rakocevic sank another three-pointer from the same exact spot for an 8-8 tie. Efes improved its defense off a timeout and the game turned into a physical battle. Kostas Tsartsaris sank free throws but Gonlum erased it with a mid-range jumper and a driving layup by Wisniewski gave Efes its first lead, 10-12. Tsartsaris hit two more from the foul line, as Efes tried to open the floor with Nachbar at power forward. A free throw by Aleks Maric and a driving layup by Sato restored a 15-12 Panathinaikos edge after 10 minutes.
Panathinaikos played with more intensity early in the second quarter. Meanwhile, a floating layup by Calathes and a three-pointer by Perperoglou forced Efes to call timeout at 20-12, after an 8-0 run. Nachbar sank a turnaround jumper that Perperoglou erased with an easy layup. A fast break dunk by Tsartsaris soon gave Panathinaikos its first double-digit lead, 24-14. Wisniewski stepped up with a three-pointer and Nachbar added a long jumper to bring Efes back to life, 24-19. Maric shined with a second-chance layup and a six-meter jumper by Perperoglou kept the Greens out of trouble, 28-19. Calathes provided a highlight with a wild reverse layup and soon struck from downtown to break the game open, 33-19. Batiste scored down low and Perperoglou buried a big triple that capped a 14-0 run and gave the hosts a 19-point lead, 38-19. Arslan shined with an acrobatic layup and Nachbar followed a mid-range jumper with free throws for a 39-25 score. A backdoor layup by Gonlum and a buzzer-beating basket by Arslan got Efes even closer, 41-29, at halftime.
Both teams struggled to score immediately after the break until Sato banked in a turnaround jumper. He soon added a wild three-point play for a 46-29 Panathinaikos margin. Efes went scoreless for more than 2 minutes until Rakocevic stepped up with a layup-plus-foul. The guests tried its most mobile lineup available with Nachbar and Gonlum around the baskets. Dimitris Diamantidis scored in penetration, however, and free throws by Sato kept the Greens way ahead, 50-32. Bootsy Thornton found his first points on a reverse layup that Kostas Kaimakoglou matched with free throws. Rakocevic found space for an uncontested layup but Panathinaikos adjusted its defense off a timeout. Sato and Batiste sank free throws to make it a 20-point game, 56-36. Batiste kept pacing the Greens with a jumper and even when Gonlum matched it with foul shots, Diamantidis struck from downtown for a 61-38 score. Free throws by Nachbar fixed the score at 61-40 after 30 minutes.
Ian Vougioukas opened the fourth quarter with a huge block on Nikola Vujcic. Sinan Guler tried to change things with free throws but Vougioukas sank a jump hook and Calathes added a coast-to-coast layup that sent the crowd to their feet at 65-42. Efes kept committing turnovers and a jumper by Calathes sealed the outcome, 67-42, with over 7 minutes left. Both teams fought now for points differential, a critical issue if both teams are tied at the end of this phase. Wisniewski sank back-to-back three-pointers and Arslan added a driving layup that only managed to bring Efes within 70-50. Wisniewski and Arslan kept trying to change things for Efes but everything was said and done already. Panathinaikos please its fans with a very convincing home win that gave the Greens a share of first place in Group D. Meanwhile, Efes needs to bounce back right away in next week's pivotal game against CSKA Moscow.
Thursday, November 11, 2010