Armani Jeans Milano topped Efes Pilsen 84-70
Armani Jeans Milano made a major move in the Group D standings as it shut down visiting Efes Pilsen for an 84-70 home victory on Wednesday that was impressive in its completeness. Both teams are now 4-4, but Milano takes over third place for having won by more points than it lost by to Efes in their first game in Istanbul. In a game of runs on Wednesday, Efes made a 0-10 move on either side of halftime to take over the scoreboard, but Milano responded with a 12-0 blast and never looked back on the way to victory. Milano ended up making 26 of 37 two-point shots, or 70%, while winning in turnovers 10 to 19 and assists 17 to 8. David Hawkins was everywhere for the winners, pumping in 24 points to go with 5 assists, 3 rebounds and 2 steals for his Euroleague career-high index rating, 30. Mason Rocca added 13 points, Morris Finley and Stefano Mancinelli 12 each and Ibby Jaaber 11. Mancinelli dished had his career-high assists total, 8, in his ninth Euroleague season. Efes got 20 points off the bench from Bostjan Nachbar, while Kerem Tunceri added 13, Andrew Wisniewski 12 and Kerem Gonlum 11. Both teams were missing their top scorers, Igor Rakocevic for Efes and Jonas Maciulis for Milano, among injuries to big men on each roster, too.
A steal led to Mancinelli starting the scoreboard for the hosts, while Wisniewski blasted to the hoop to get Efes going. Hawkins worked with Tomas Van den Spiegel to push the lead to 8-2. Gonlum answered for Efes, but Finley bested him with the game's first three-pointer. When Hawkins added his first shot from the floor, Milano was up 13-4 and Efes needed a timeout. The visitors found Gonlum for a couple more inside baskets, but Hawkins matched one and then buried a second-chance three-pointer off Finley's rebound and pass for an 18-8 edge. Wisniewski answered back from the arc, and Tunceri drove for a layup to calm the visitors. Rocca got on the scoreboard for Milano then, but Efes kept pouring it on as Thornton blasted a triple and Tunceri drove again, cutting the difference to 20-18 after one quarter.
Nachbar climbed off the bench early in the second quarter to hit 4 of 4 free throws for the first Efes lead, 20-22. After having made its first 4 shots of the game, Milano couldn't find the basket now as Nachbar added another free throw and Thornton stole on a full-court press by the visitors, who called a timeout. Marco Mordente ended Milan's drought with a fall-down jumper before a turnaround jumper by Hawkins put their team back in front, 24-23. Lawrence Roberts took the lead right back for Efes with a triple from the corner, but Finley combined again with Van den Spiegel to tie and Jaaber hit a fastbreak layup to make it 28-26 for the hosts. Finley cut for a pass from Mancinelli to add a layup to the lead before Nachbar and Hawkins buried dueling triples. Hawkins poured it on with a jumper and a full-court pass to Jaaber for a layup to make it 37-31. Gonlum got a short shot back for Efes, and after a slow finish for both teams, that's where the score stayed, 37-33, at halftime.
Efes came back strong, with a triple by Tunceri and a put-back by Gonlum, to open the second half. After a second Milano turnover in as many minutes, Tunceri was measuring another shot at the arc, and when that landed, it was suddenly 37-41 for Efes, forcing a timeout by the hosts. Van den Spiegel made 2 free throws to end Milano's drought before Finley hit a pull-up triple to boost the hosts into a 41-41 tie. Hawkins reappeared then to take back the lead from downtown before steals by him and Finley led to 47-41 Milano edge. Rocca added a layup before Nachbar ended Milano's 12-0 run with a put-back. But that's when Mancinelli stepped up with an inside basket and a fastbreak dunk for a new double-digit lead, 53-43, and an Efes timeout. Nachbar added a new basket, but Rocca and Finley lengthened the difference to 56-45 at the foul line. Efes tried a zone that Finley busted it with a triple for a new high lead, 61-49 that Jaaber upped with a layup, but Milano left Sinan Guler open to finish the quarter from downtown with the scoreboard showing 63-52.
A put-back by Nikola Vujcic lowered the difference to single digits for Efes before Mancinelli's great low-post pass to Rocca restored a 65-54 advantage for Milano. Next, Mancinelli went up-and-under for a finger roll, making it a 13-point difference, but Vujcic answered with a jump-hook and Tunceri hit Guler for a back-door reverse. Again it was a single-digit difference, 67-59, but Nicolo Melli was there to put-back a miss for Milano. Nachbar hit 2 of 2 free throws that Jaaber matched with a step-back jumper at 71-60. But at the five-minute mark, Tunceri returned with a from-the-top triple, breaking the nine-point barrier at 71-63. After a timeout, Rocca put back a loose rebound, and then Hawkins broke a scoring lull with a three-point layup-plus-free throw that put the difference at 77-63. Nachbar trimmed 4 points from the deficit, but Hawkins remained active with free throws and Jaaber put the lid on the victory with a steal and dunk at 81-67. The question remained about a tie-break difference between them, considering the eight-point win by Efes in their first meeting. Milano took care of that, too, by matching Efes on free throws down the stretch to take over third place in Group D.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010