Alba Berlin used its first Group A home game of the season to pick up its first win, 85-70 over Siauliai of Lithuania. Alba lifted its record in the group to 1-1 while Siauliai stayed winless at 0-2. Led by Dijon Thompson with 22 and Julius Jenkins with 21 points, the Berliners used a 16-2 run at the beginning of the second quarter to find the road to victory. Siauliai during the first half resisted with Antonio Grant, who finished with 18 points. The visitors came back in the last quarter with their own 3-15 run, but were not able to continue their rally until the siren. Patrick Femerling added 12 points for Alba, while Saulius Kuzminskas picked up 13 for the visitors.
Easy baskets turned out as the key for both sides in the nervous first minutes, when no shots from outside went in. Jenkins opened the scoreboard for Alba with quick drives. Goran Nikolic and Kuzminskas exchanged inside points as Alba stayed up 13-9 lead, before Grant put 7 consecutive points together that gave Siauliais a 15-18 lead. Alba answered inside with Mladen Pantic and Femerling to go ahead 24-21, but Grant tied the game with his second triple. Based on their height advantage under the basket, Alba several times started to escape, but Grant, who scored 17 points in the first half, was always there to answer. Only when Jenkins and Thompson started to hit their shots from outside, too, did Alba manage to gain a 47-40 halftime lead.
Femerling opened the third quarter with a layup, and soon all went the way of the hosts. Two steals by Jenkins resulted in Alba's 53-36 lead. A timeout by Siauliai coach Robertas Kuncaitis could not stop Alba's run, either. With Grant totally shut down now, tjhe visitors struggled to find easy baskets against Alba's great defense. Meanwhile, Jenkins and Bobby Brown scored from everywhere to boost Alba in front by 63-42. The guests were not finished yet, and at the beginning of the last quarter hustled back into the action as Mantas Ruikis finished a 0-11 run which left a 70-61 score after Alba went scoreless for 5 minutes. Alba coach Luka Pavicevic took a timeout, but Siauliai followed Arturas Masiulis and Gedimiams Maceina to get within 73-67, before Jenkins and Nikolic hit midrange jumpers to end the scare for Alba. Thompson, Femerling and Pantic joined in to secure Alba's 85-70 win in the last minutes of the game.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007