Maciulis’s big night leads Panathinaikos to Berlin win
Jonas Maciulis erupted for a season-high 28 points to lead Panathinaikos Athens to a 73-79 victory over Alba Berlin at o2 World in the German capital. The Greens led for most of the game, though the hosts hung tough until the very end. Panathinaikos improved to 3-1 and at worst one win out of first place in Group E, while Berlin remained winless. Most impressive about Maciulis’s tally was that he needed only 22 minutes and 10 shots to do so. Roko Ukic added 14 points and James Gist 10 for Panathinaikos, which was without star guard Dimitris Diamantidis due to injury. A big part of Alba staying in the game was its 17 offensive rebounds, but poor shooting overall doomed Coach Sasa Obradovic’s side. Nihad Djedovic led Alba with 21 points on 4-of-5 three-point shooting, while Deon Thompson netted 16 in defeat.
First quarter: Djedovic, Maciulis duel to standstill
Alba won the opening tip and struck first as Albert Miralles fed Thompson inside for a score. Gist buried a three-pointer for Panathinaikos’s first points. A strong of jumpers at both ends left the hoists up 6-5 before the game was stopped when Marcus Banks crashed into reporters after getting his layup blocked by Miralles. Thompson provided a highlight with a rebound and two-handed slam to cap a five-chance Berlin possession. A three-pointer by Maciulis left the visitors ahead 8-10 midway through the opening quarter. After the TV timeout, Maciulis knocked down another and then sank free throws to match the output of the entire Alba team to that point and to push his team to a 7-point edge. Thompson’s baseline jumper got the hosts going again. Djedovic fought his way into the game with the Ultimate Fantasy Play – offensive rebound, basket, foul drawn and made free throw. Maciulis remained the go-to guy for the Greens with 2 more free throws and a jumper, which gave him 14 points in eight minutes. However Djedovic countered with a long jumper and a triple. The tide turned against Maciulis when he committed an offensive foul. A triple by Heiko Shaffartzik tied the game at 21-21. And Djedovic gave the hosts the lead from the line only to see Ukic finish a tough layup at the first-quarter buzzer to leave things square at 23-23.
Second quarter: PAO responds to Alba’s 9-0 run with 8 unanswered points
Sofoklis Schortsanitis came on for the second quarter and quickly made his presence known as he cleared space and then assisted to Ukic. Jason Kapono re-established a two-possession lead with a three from the corner, 25-30. Je’Kel Foster and Ukic traded threes before Kapono came off a pick and buried another jumper. Djedovic drilled his second three to bring the hosts within 33-35. Thompson blocked Schortsanitis as the local fans started to roar. Gist denied Miralles a chance to tie the game at the rim. However a minute late DaShaun Wood banked in a floater to even things and then sank a second to complete a 9-0 run. Maciulis soon had the Greens back on top with his third three-pointer of the night and Gist dunked on a stunned Berlin defense to make it 37-41. Gist added free throws to complete a 0-8 Panathinaikos run. After Thompson free throws, a Maciulis tip-in made it 39-45 at the break.
Third quarter: Maciulis drills back-to-back threes to deny Alba run
Zach Morley opened the second-half with a basket-plus-foul, but Banks made amends with his team for committing that foul by drilling a three-pointer. Byars scored a tough basket to give the hosts hope. Kapono nailed a three-pointer, as Panathinaikos kept using long possessions to find open shots. Alba called timeout to adjust its defense, but the visitors kept moving away. Despite a Byars jumper, Big Sofo rose for a big slam and foul to make it 50-59. Stephane Lasme kept the Berlin attack stalled with a block on Byars. The hosts found a potential momentum swing when Maciulis committed an unsportsmanlike foul on Schaffartzik, after which Djedovic drilled a three and Morley helped force a turnover. Djedovic cut the gap to a single shot with 2 free throws. Maciulis came to the Panathinaikos rescue with back-to-back three-pointers from the exact same spot, which translated to a 56-65 lead at the end of the quarter.
Fourth quarter: Gist, Banks score clutch points to guarantee win
Ukic put the visitors up by double figures early in the quarter. Miralles ended a four-minute Berlin drought with a tip-in. Then Thompson finished a break with a layup-and-foul to fuel Alba’s hopes. Djedovic’s fourth triple of the night made it 63-68 with five minutes to go as a chant started to roll through the o2. Then Thompson hit a tough baseline jumper and the crowd got louder. Gist took it upon himself to quiet the crowd with a three and Maciulis followed with a triple to make it 65-74. After a timeout, Schaffartzik hit a crucial three, but moments later missed a chance to get his team back to 3. Mike Bramos came through with a big offensive rebound with 100 seconds remaining to help kill the clock. Banks added to the Panathinaikos lead from the line. Foster hit a deep three with just under a minute to play, 71-76. Then Morley made it a 4-point game with 31 seconds left. Banks made a pair of crucial free throws with 24 seconds to go. Berlin missed four times on its final possession and Panathinaikos went home with the victory.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013