Dynamo Moscow moved closer to reaching the Quarterfinals Playoffs for the first time in club history by beating Aris TT Bank 71-69 in the Russian capital on Thursday night. Dynamo improved to 3-1 in Group G and will remain tied for the group lead at the end of the night regardless of the result between Benetton Treviso and Unicaja. Meanwhile, Aris dropped to 0-4 and lost any remaining mathematical chances of advancing to the next round. In a presentation prior to tipoff, Dynamo center Lazaros Papadopoulos was given his Euroleague Basketball award as January MVP by Sergey Chernov, President of the Russian Basketball Federation. Antonis Fotsis paced the winners with 28 points on 7-of-9 two-pointers and 10 rebounds. Papadopoulos also posted a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds while Taquan Dean had 10 points for Dynamo. Alex Scales had 25 points for Aris, Terrel Castle added 12, while Mike Wilkinson and Jeremiah Massey each got 10 for the guests. Fotsis had 18 points in the opening half, but Scales fueled a 1-12 run that bridged between both halves and get Aris a 47-55 lead late in the third quarter. Fotsis led his team in crunch time, but Aris still led 64-65 with 2 minutes to go. In the end, Dmitry Domani, Fotsis and Bojan Popovic fueled a 7-1 run that sealed the outcome.
Wilkinson got Aris going with a close basket, but Fotsis answered by burying his trademark triple from the top of the key. Wilkinson came right back with a mid-range jumper to give Aris a 3-4 lead. Dynamo started to run its offense through Papadopoulos, who scored down low and then fed Dean for a three-pointer. Scales stepped up with a jumper, prompting Dynamo coach Duan Ivkovic to call timeout at 8-7. Domani dunked off a steal before Scales and Papadopoulos traded layups. Fotsis stepped up with a jumper that gave Dynamo a 14-9 edge after 7 minutes. Dimitris Tsaldaris hit a free throw, but Fotsis shined with a layup-plus-foul, causing Aris to call timeout at 17-10. Popovic hit free throws, but Scales answered from downtown. Popovic added more from the line and Fotsis added a jumper, but back-to-back triples by Scales brought Aris within 21-17 after 10 minutes.
Giannis Giannoulis kept Aris in the game with a close basket, but Fotsis bettered that with a three-pointer. Massey found his first points on free throws, which Eddie Gill erased with a layup. Terrel Castle stepped up with back-to-back layups to get Aris within 26-25. Dynamo kept looking for Fotsis, who shined with a dunk and then added a bomb from downtown to keep the hosts ahead 31-25. He then fed Popovic for a layup, which capped a 7-0 run, but Scales took over with his third three-pointer in as many attempts. Dynamo kept dominating the boards and Scales did not find much help around now. Papadopoulos scored after a Dynamo timeout and Popovic added a free throw, but Giannoulis followed a layup with a three-point play to give Aris some fresh air at 37-33. Scales found space for another layup and Massey added a basket-plus-foul to tie the game, 38-38, at halftime.
Aris completed its rally right after the break, as Wilkinson followed a layup with free throws to give the guests a 38-42 edge. Sergey Monya scored down low, but Massey took over with a three-point play. Papadopoulos shined again with a second-chance basket and Andrei Trushkin added a put-back layup for the hosts, but Castle fired one in from downtown to keep Aris ahead, 44-48. Dean stepped up with a triple, but Castle immediately answered with a layup and Scales nailed another three-pointer for a 47-53 Aris lead. Massey hit free throws to cap a 0-7 run as Dean tried to wake Dynamo up with a layup. The hosts kept struggling to score and even when Gill scored in the middle, a red-hot Scales hit a jumper to keep Aris's momentum going. Dean fed Fotsis for a dunk, but a final layup by Giorgos Sigalas gave Aris a 53-59 advantage after 30 minutes.
Dynamo improved its defense early in the final period and followed its initial game plan. Free throws by Fotsis ignited a 6-0 run, during which Dean buried a jumper and Papadopoulos added a put-back layup to tie it at 59-59. Aris went scoreless for 3 long minutes, but the ever-present Scales buried another shot to keep his team ahead, 59-61. Fotsis took over with a put-back dunk and Papadopoulos added a free throw for a 62-61 Dynamo lead midway through the final period. Scales stepped up with free throws only to see Fotsis erase them with another dunk. However Giannoulis scored again to return the lead to Aris 64-65. Domani fired in a critical triple and Aris missed two crucial shots down the stretch. Fotsis made free throws for a 69-65 Dynamo lead with 2 minutes to go. Dynamo improved its defense right when it mattered and after Castle got Aris within 69-66, Popovic sealed a key win with a crucial jumper.
Thursday, March 8, 2007