Power Electronics Valencia outlasted Panathinaikos 69-73
One of the toughest games in the season so far ended as a thriller that was won by the road warrior when Power Electronics Valencia outlasted Panathinaikos in Athens by 69-73. Panathinaikos, who was playing its 500th game in continental competition, dominated for most of the game, but in the last quarter, the guests came back in the game and were leading by 69-71 with 15 seconds to go. The Greens had the last play in their hands but hesitated too much and commited a halfcourt violation that put the game in Valencia's hands to keep on dreaming about the Top 16. With the valuable win, Valencia makes it 2-4 in Group D to leave CSKA Moscow alone in last place while Panathinaikos drops to 4-2 and falls in a three-way tie with Efes Pilsen and Union Olimpija. Nando De Colo led the winners with his 14 points while Dusko Savanovic and Victor Claver had 12 each. For the Greens, Romain Sato led all scorers with 19 points, Stratos Perperoglou had 11 and Dimitris Diamantidis, 10.
A neat one on one by Romain Sato opened the score for Panathinaikos and soon Florent Pietrus put back a missed shot for Power Electronics Valencia. Between
Sato and Mike Batiste, the Greens went for the 8-4 thanks to smart ball moving. Valencia however was struggling in offense against a dood defensive attitude
of the hosts. However, five straight points by Victor Claver and a new bucket by Rafa Martinez allowed the guests to jump ahead for the first time, forcing
Panathinaikos' first timeout, 9-11. Panathinaikos managed to jump ahead again with free throws and Valencia replied in the same way to tie 13-13 with tough
defenses on both sides. Omar Cook ran the court to feed Dusko Savanovic for the three, but again, Dimitris Diamantidis copied him to keep a tied score. Free
throws were the only way that teams managed to score until the end of the quarter for a total 22 attempts after 15 fouls in the first 10 minutes. At the end
of the period, a 22-22 tie.
Jeremy Richardson and Nick Calathes, with a three-point play, exchanged points to keep the second quarter going, but defense was still the law and it was
hard to see a fast, open basket. However, Savanovic managed to do that after a Valencia steal and right after that, Drew Nicholas blasted a three to make it
32-28. The pressure defense of Valencia forced a few turnovers on the Greens' offense, but the hosts did the same thing on their end until Nando De Colo had
a wild drive for the three-point play that allowed his team to be ahead this time, 32-34. In the last minutes of the first half, Panathinaikos seemed to find
more open spaces and as such, Diamantidis fed Calathes for the 39-37 that closed the first half.
Sato was the one who opened the score again in the second half for the Greens, and when Stratos Perperoglou changed sides with the ball to find Sato again,
the latter blasted a jumper that made it 43-37. De Colo had to work his way to the basket to find the first reply from Valencia, but problems did not end
there for the guests as in minute 22, Claver was called for his fourth foul, sending him to the bench. Sato was findin spots all over the place during the
Panathinaikos' offense despite the defensive efforts of Valencia. On the other side, the guests were getting extra options thanks to a few offensive
rebounds, but Sato kept the Greens at a asafe distance from the charity line. Richardson finally sank a three to make it a two-point game, but the
Panathinaikos defense wouldn't allow that so easily. With almost consecutive 24-second violations, Valencia was struggling more than ever to score while Ian
Vougioukas put the 54-48 from the lane and then Sato joined in for a three that closed the third period with a 57-48 Panathinaikos edge.
De Colo opened the decisive quarter with a three that gave some hope to Valencia and soon Claver capped the 0-7 run from the lane to erase almost all the
deficit with two straight baskets. Perperoglou finally scored for Panathinaikos to give some air to the hosts. However, Claver blasted a three in the next
play to make it 59-58 for the Greens. Valencia didn't take advantage of a couple situations to jump ahead at this point, but Panathinaikos didn't use it to try to pull away either, missing some open shots. Three minutes went by without points until Diamantidis scored from the line for the hosts to make it 61-58. Cook crossed the court to lift a layup and keep Valencia at one single point, and finally, Rafa Martinez put the guests ahead with free throws at 61-62. Sato stepped up with a monster three that lit the stands. Cook quickly fed De Colo for a fast basket and the game was tied once more, 64-64. A good defense by the Greens could not stop De Colo to put his team ahead with less than 45 seconds left, 64-66. In fast succession, Savanovic scored but Diamantidis replied with a huge three for 67-68 and 22 seconds to go. Cook went to the line to score both for Valencia, and 19 seconds to go. Batiste did the same for the 69-70. Cook then went to the line again missing one of the attempts and in the next play Panathinaikos hesitated too much being forced to commit a halfcourt violation that put the ball in Valencia's hands with 1.5 seconds to go. In a last foul, De Colo sealed the win with two more free throws after a very difficult battle to keep dreaming of the Top 16.
Thursday, November 25, 2010