Panathinaikos KOs Zvezda, breaks into Top 16
Panathinaikos Athens beat Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade 69-63 at home Friday to advance to the Top 16 and eliminated Zvezda in the process. Michael Bramos and James Gist came up big in the fourth quarter in helping Panathinaikos improve to 4-4 in the group. Ramel Curry paced the winners with 16 points, while Gist collected 15 points, 5 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 steals and 2 assists. Bramos had 8 points, 6 of them on three dunks in the fourth quarter. Crvena Zvezda dropped to 2-6 and after finishing the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Regular Season, will move on to the Eurocup Last 32. DeMarcus Nelson paced Zvezda with 15 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists while Rasko Katic scored 13 points and Blake Schilb 10.
First quarter: Zvezda opens strong, Greens come back
Panathinaikos coach Argiris Pedoulakis made two changes to his starting line-up with Dimitris Diamantidis and Stephane Lasme coming in for Loukas Mavrokefalides and Vlantimir Giankovits alongside Roko Ukic, Jonas Maciulis and Gist. Crvena Zvezda coach Dejan Radonjic brought in Branko Lazic and Ivan Radenovic to start with Nelson, Schilb and Boban Marjanovic. Radenovic opened the scoring for the guests and it was 0-6 after a Marjanovic putback. Mike Batiste came off the bench and finally got the hosts on the board with two free throws with 6:46 left in the quarter. A Marjanovic dunk made it 2-8. Maciulis hit two free throws and a three-pointer to start an 8-0 run for a 10-8 Panathinaikos lead. Katic entered the game and had an immediate effect for Crvena Zvezda with two baskets sandwiched around a Nelson steal and feed to Radenovic for a dunk for a 10-14 lead. A Katic baby hook increased the advantage to 11-16. Curry answered with a trey and then Diamantidis threw an alley-oop to Gist, who completed the three-point play to cut it to 17-18. Charles Jenkins and Curry swapped long balls and Crvena Zvezda was up 20-21 after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Neither side makes a big move
Curry opened the second quarter to push Panathinaikos back ahead, but Katic scored a tip-in and Nelson hit a tough layup and a dunk off a steal by Schilb for a 24-27 cushion. Batiste and Gist knocked down jumpers to regain the lead for the hosts but Marjanovic dunked and Nelson hit two free throws for a 28-31 scoreline. Maciulis was again on target from long range to even the game. Mavrokefalides came off the bench and hit two baskets before Diamantidis’s tough layup sent Panathinaikos into the locker room ahead 37-34.
Third quarter: Nelson comes up big to keep Zvezda close
Ukic opened the scoring in the second half with two free throws to make the hosts’ lead 39-34. But Nelson continued his strong game with the three straight baskets including a three-ball and put-back dunk three-point play to cut the deficit to 43-42. Marko Simonovic knotted it at 44-44. Bramos hit a lefty shot and Gist grabbed a steal and raced to the other end for a dunk to make it 48-46. After Katic evened the game again, Curry hit two free throws and Ukic’s runner fell as Panathinaikos was ahead 52-48 after three quarters.
Fourth quarter: Gist and Bramos take over late for Panathinaikos
Curry pushed the advantage to six points, 54-48, to start the fourth quarter. Schilb answered with a trey but missed the chance for a four-point play. The guests grabbed the offensive rebound and Schilb scored again to cut the margin to 54-53. Bramos had a great sequence with a steal and breakaway dunk and then taking a charge at the other end for a 56-53 lead. But Schilb fed Nelson for an easy basket and Nelson dished to Schilb for a trey from the right corner as the guests led 56-59. After a timeout, Gist threw down a reverse dunk and shortly thereafter hit a three-ball to give Panathinaikos a 63-61 lead with less than three minutes left. After a nifty pass, Bramos passed up a trey and threw dunk a big dunk for a 65-61 lead with 1:26 remaining. Crvena Zvezda failed to convert on offense and then watched Bramos throw down another monster dunk with 1:02 to go and a 67-61 cushion. The game was basically decided when Katic missed two free throws with 40 seconds to play and it was certainly done with Gist’s free throws late.
Friday, December 6, 2013