Montepaschi survives thriller in Berlin
What looked like a blowout turned into a last-shot thriller on Thursday night in Berlin as Montepaschi Siena survived Alba with a 73-75 road win in Group B. Siena managed to build 14-point leads midway through the game, but Alba regrouped with good defense and patience in offense to trim the deficit down little by little and even managed to jump ahead by three points at 67-64. Baskets by Tomas Ress and Daniel Hackett allowed Siena to jump ahead for good, as in thelast play Zach Morley missed the chance to send the game into overtime. The win allows Montepaschi to improve to 3-3 while Alba drops to 2-4, even though the German team retains the point differential in its favor. Bobby Brown led the winners with his 21 points, Kristjan Kangur added 13 behind 3 of 3 triples and Hackett bagged 12. For Alba, Deon Thompson led the way with 20 points, Vule Avdalovic contributed 13, Yassin Idbihi 12 and Nihad Djedovic 10. Despite starting poorly in that aspect, Montepaschi finished the game with 11 of 20 three-pointers and that proved to be a factor despite losing the rebounding battle to Alba by 35-22.
First quarter: The guards set up a high tempo
The first steps of the game saw Montepaschi Siena getting a slim margin thanks to a fast pace. Bobby Brown was marking the rhythm as Matt Janning and Brown
himself went for baskets. Alba Berlin was staying in the game as Deon Thompson emerged to make it 6-8. Vule Avdalovic tied it at 8-8 with a long stop and
pop, and Thompson went for his sixth inside point to put Alba ahead, 10-8. The guards on both teams kept pushing for a fast tempo and inside Ben Ortner and
Thompson traded fast baskets for a new tie, 12-12. Avdalovic blasted the first three of the night to counterstrike four unanswered Siena points, but Kristjan
Kangur nailed his own three to make it 15-19 for the visitors. Siena was very active in defense, and in offense it was also active for the offensive rebound.
Thompson was too lonely in the paint for Alba, and it was him again, for his 10th point, to make it 17-21 after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Alba regroups after Siena's initial blow
David Moss blasted a new three to open the second quarter over Albert Miralles to force Alba's first timeout in the quarter. Kangur's fadeaway jumper despite
Alba's willing defense allowed Siena to pull away at 17-26. Avdalovic replied fast with a three to keep things calm, but Kangur was on fire and hed his own
three again to reply Alba's three. Both defenses were trying really hard but both sides were showing resources on offense almost every time as Avdalovic fed
Miralles through the paint for 26-31 as Alba was slowly recovering. Avdalovic hit his third three but, again, Daniel Hackett copied him on Siena's side. When
Zach Morley hit a three-point play to trim the deficit down to 32-36 the stands at the O2 World started to get back to temperature. The helps in defense
allowed Alba to keep Siena struggling in offense and Yassin Idbihi tipped in a ball for a 2-point game, 34-36. Moss found a quick reply to score the last
basket of the quarter from the arc, 34-39.
Third quarter: Bobby Brown wants the third straight MVP
Brown stepped up at the start of the second half for Siena with 5 points of hisown, including a three, for a fast 34-44 Siena edge after only one minute in
the quarter. Nihad Djedovic woke Alba Berlin up with his reply but Brown was leading the avalanche of the visitors with a couple new threes for 38-52. Alba's
problem was that it was progressing on the scoreboard through free throws. But thanks to patience in offense and hard work in defense, the hosts got on the
right track again. Thompson and Miralles combined for four unanswered point to make it a 7-point game, 45-52. Hackett stopped the bleeding for Siena with a
three-point play, and then Jenning blasted it from downtown to keep the guests at a safe distance. Dashaun Wood appeared for Alba in the last moments of the
third quarter with five straight points of his own, to close the quarter at 52-60.
Fourth quarter: Everything comes down to the last play
Idbihi opened fire in the last period for Alba and Djedovic soon joined him to make it a 4-point game all of a sudden, 56-60. The atmosphere at the gym was
getting hotter by the minute, and when Alba's defense forced a new Siena turnover that gave way for Djedivic's three, the stands exploded with the 59-60 as
the guests had to call a timeout. Brown was now back on the court after some rest, but a good offensive combination between Djedovic and Idbihi allowed Alba to jump ahead for the first time since the first quarter, 61-60. Brown stopped the bleeding with two free throws, and it became a Brown - Idbihi deal for a while as the score progressed to 63-64 with 5 minutes to go. Points came in scarce now because the nerves started to appear, but Alba was playing with patience and self-confidence while Montepaschi wis kind of following up. Alba's lead improved to 67-64 with Thompson free throws. Tomas Ress and Kangur kept Siena in the loop, but Wood's speed was driving Siena's defense crazy. It was Ress, with a three no less, that tied the game at 73-73 with 100 seconds to go. Alba missed its chance to jump ahead again and it had to be Hackett, with a long jumper, who hit it for 73-75 and 14 seconds to go. After two timeouts, Alba had the final possession, but when Wood drove to the basket he fumbled the ball, but Morley caught it for a last chance but it was no good as Montepaschi players and coaches celebrated a difficult win.
Thursday, November 15, 2012