Climamio Bologna ended 2005 by making the Group A race even tighter as it downed one of the co-leaders heading into the week, Tau Ceramica, by a blowout score of 86-66 on Wednesday. Climamio's home victory meant that those two teams are tied with 5-3 records, while Benetton and Zalgiris go for their sixth each on Thursday. Dalibor Bagaric paced the winners with a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds as Climamio won the battle on the boards by 39-25. Marco Belinelli led Climamio with 17 points, while Tomas Ress added 11. Tau Ceramica got 17 points from Travis Hansen, 15 from Luis Scola and 10 from Tiago Splitter. Tau led by a point at halftime, but Climamio exploded with a 26-12 third quarter in which Belinelli took a role and never looked back on the way to the victory.
Climamio stepped on court with a lightning start as Stefano Mancinelli scored quickly and Bagaric closed an early 9-0 run for the hosts. Scola couldn’t give a response, missing from the floor and foul line. After not scoring for 3 minutes, Tau coach Velimir Perasovic got a timeout, but Ress came out of it to hit free throws for an 11-0 score. Serkan Erdogan came in and assisted Hansen for Tau's first bucket. On defense, Hansen had a tremendous block on Ress but Tau didn’t gain ground during a three-minute Climamio drought. Bagaric's jumper sent Climamio up by 11 again, 15-4. Hansen managed a triple for Tau, but Sani Becirovic fed Bagaric to make it 18-8. Scola came allive now with back-back-to-back baskets against the Climamio defense to bring Tau within 18-14. Erazem Lorbek's foul shots ended the quarter with Climamio leading 20-14.
Travis Watson and Scola exchanged baskets to open the second quarter, then Hansen landed an open triple that brought Tau closer, 22-19. That gap remained for 3 minutes as Scola replied to Belinelli and Casey Jacobsen to Becirovic. Tau didn’t exploit a flagrant foul and Nate Green drove the lane twice to widen the difference to 30-25 on free throws. Atmosphere got red-hot when Belinelli stole for a fastbreak dunk and a 33-26 score, just before Green got hit with a technical foul. Hansen scored 4 straight free throws and Pablo Prigioni a couple more to bring Tau within a point, 33-32. The Paladozza crowd was now a key element as Garris’s layup put the hosts up 35-32. Tau grabbed consecutive offensive boards, however, and on last play found Hansen for the go-ahead triple to a 35-36 halftime lead.
Climamio took over in the third quarter as it allowed Tau just two baskets in first 6 minutes, 20 seconds. Kiwame Garris and Belinelli sparked a 6-0 run to a 41-36 lead. Tau's Predrag Drobnjak found a bucket but Bagaric reappeared with an assist and a dunk-plus-free throw to fuel another 7-0 run that Belinelli capped with a triple, giving Climamio a double-digit lead, 48-38. After Tau had called timeout, Mancinelli scored from inside. Scola broke Tau's latest scoring silence but Bagaric and Watson found points at the other end, making it 54-40. Tau revived with a 0-6 run to get within 54-46. Watson and Rodolfo Rombaldoni immediately replied, however, with the latter beating the third-quarter buzzer with a triple that left the hosts sitting pretty, ahead 61-48 after 30 minutes.
Ress was Climamio's man in the early fourth period. His back-to-back baskets – a drive and a jumper - shot the hosts ahead by 15 points, 65-50. He then added a dunk-with-free throw. Sergi Vidal found a fastbreak basket to keep Tau breathing but Becirovic nailed his first three-pointer for a new high lead, 70-53. Becirovic was now inspired and his pick-and-roll play with Watson sent the center to dunk and shoot a free throw, too. Down by 20 points, 73-53, Kornel David found his first jumper of the whole night and Prigioni added a triple but when Hansen fouled out, Tau lost all comeback hopes. A Bagaric dunk and Belinelli’s triple cued the closing credits on an impressive 86-66 victory that left these two teams tied heading into 2006.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005