Dynamo Moscow needed an incredible rally and an outstanding performance from big man Lazaros Papadopoulos to edge Le Mans 69-70 on the road in France and improve to 8-4 in the Group A standings. Dynamo is third on the Group A board, just one win behind second place Olympiacos. Meanwhile, Le Mans dropped to 3-9 after losing its sixth straight game and has been mathematically eliminated from Top 16 contention. Papadopoulos led the winners with 27 points on 11-of-17 two-pointers and 8 rebounds. He scored the game's final 5 points to rescue Dynamo with back-to-back layups and the game-winning free throw with 7.7 seconds to go. Dmitri Domani and Eddie Gill each added 12, while Antonis Fotsis had 11 for Dynamo. Sandro Nicevic had 14 points for Le Mans, Kenny Gregory added 13 and Eric Campbell 11. Le Mans led for the better part of the final period and held a 67-61 edge with under 3 minutes to go. Dynamo improved its defense and forced 3 consecutive turnovers and Papadopoulos sealed an incredible game, helping the visitors complete their comeback in extraordinary fashion.
Domani got Dynamo going with a dunk off a steal, but Tyson Wheeler buried a jumper and then followed Pape-Philippe Amagou's triple with another big shot to give Le Mans a 7-2 lead. Dynamo finally found Papapdopoulos, who scored in the paint, while Domani fed Fotsis for a three-pointer that tied it at 7-7. Wheeler buried a triple from the top of the key, while Fotsis missed three times around the basket in the other end. Alain Koffi capped a 6-0 run with a jumper that gave Le Mans a 13-7 edge midway through the opening quarter. Papadopoulos and Gregory exchanged layups, and Gill fired in one from downtown to bring Dynamo within 15-12. The final minute of the period turned into a slam dunk contest. Papadopoulos, Gregory and Campbell shined with respective dunks to fix the score at 19-14 after 10 minutes.
Le Mans kept its intense defense early in the second quarter and kept attacking the basket to go to the foul line often. As such, Nicevic scored in the middle and Yannick Bokolo and Campbell hit free throws to make it an 8-point game. Bokolo came through with a fastbreak layup to give Le Mans its biggest margin, 26-16. Gill buried a triple, but Koffi scored around the basket for a 28-19 lead. Papadopoulos followed free throws with a layup and even when Nebojsa Bogavac scored off a steal, Dynamo had found its go-to guy. Papadopoulos scored inside, and then grabbed a rebound that allowed Domani to dunk it, and then shined with a put-back layup to get Dynamo within 30-29. Nicolas Batum and Gregory stepped up with consecutive baskets, but Dynamo had gained its momentum now. Domani hit free throws, Fotsis turned a second-chance layup into a three-point play and Domani shined with his third dunk to give Dynamo a 34-36 halftime edge.
Bojan Popovic went scoreless in the opening half, but he scored his first basket right after the break. Campbell took over with a big put-back layup, which Papadopoulos erased in the other end. Nicevic made free throws, but Domani found space for another dunk for a 38-42 Dynamo edge. Amagou fired in a three-pointer and Nicevic buried a mid-range jumper to cause the guests to call timeout at 43-42. Dynamo went scoreless for more than 2 minutes until Travis Hansen stepped up with a layup for his first basket. Fotsis added a three-point play and Gill capped a 0-7 Dynamo run with free throws. Both teams had entered the foul bonus and went to the line often. Domani hit 2 for Dynamo, but Gregory and Nicevic combined for 6 to get Le Mans within 49-51. Dynamo struggled against Le Mans's physical defense, while Nicevic scored again to tie the game at 51-51 at the end of the third quarter.
A five-meter jumper by Bokolo and a free throw by Koffi caused coach Dusan Ivkovic call timeout at 54-51. Bokolo capped an 11-0 Le Mans run with a layup, before Gill finally hit a mid-range shot for Dynamo. Nicevic and Popovic exchanged layups while Bogavac made free throws to give Le Mans a 60-55 lead. Papadopoulos followed foul shots with a layup to get Dynamo within 60-59. Campbell gave Le Mans some breathing room with a put-back layup and Nicevic added free throws. Even when Papadopoulos scored again, Gregory answered from downtown to give Le Mans a 67-61 lead with less than 3 minutes to go. Dynamo was not done, however, as Hansen fired in one from downtown to get Dynamo within 69-65. Le Mans lost control and committed back-to-back turnovers, which allowed Papadopoulos to score twice and tie the game at 69-69. Once again Papadopoulos collected a key steal, drew a foul and hit the game-winning free throw with 7.7 seconds to go. Le Mans had the final possession of the game, but Fotsis had a big block on Bogavac. Nicevic grabbed the offensive rebound and missed a desperation shot at the buzzer.
Thursday, January 18, 2007