Lazaros Papadopoulos returned to action and didn't skip a beat, scoring 20 points and grabbing 7 rebounds to lead Dynamo Moscow to a 90-83 win over Efes Pilsen on Thursday night in the Russian capital. Dynamo won its fourth straight game at Krylatskoe Arena and improved to 4-3 in Group A, moving past Efes Pilsen for third place. Efes lost for the second week in a row to fall to 3-4. Dynamo led from start to finish, constantly controlling the game, even though it never led by more than 12. Papadopoulos, who had missed a month through injury, was a force in the paint for the hosts, making 7-of-10 two-pointers and drawing 9 fouls in 25 minutes. Bojan Popovic added 16 and Travis Hansen 15 for Moscow, while Eddie Gill came off the bench for 11. Ermal Kuqo led Efes with 18 points on 8-of-10 from the field. Horace Jenkins and Marcus Haislip had 17 each, though Jenkins also committed 7 turnovers. Drew Nicholas added 15 points and 7 assists, while Cenk Akyol had 10 rebounds.
Dynamo controlled the opening tip and went right to work via Papadopoulos, who set Hansen up for the game-opening layup, grabbed a rebound on the other end, and then scored inside to put the hosts up 4-0. Cuneyt Erden put Efes on the board with a three, but Antonios Fotsis erased it from downtown and Dimitri Domani added a layup for a 9-3 start. Kuqo went to work inside, scoring his teams next 8 points, but Dynamo matched each basket to maintain a 15-11 lead. Three Papadopoulos free throws and two more from Popovic gave Moscow a 9-point advantage before Jenkins drilled a triple and Nikola Prkacin scored inside to narrow the gap to 22-18. However another Papadopoulos basket followed by a Hansen triple made it 27-18 after 10 minutes.
Dynamo made its first three substitutions between the first and second periods, but continued to dominate. Obinna Ekezie's first touch produced 2 points and gave the hosts their first double-digit lead. Sergey Monya added free throws and then canceled Nicholas's three to keep Dynamo ahead 34-23. Back-to-back threes by Erden and Nicholas brought Efes within 5, but Gill stepped up from downtown for Dynamo and later added two free throws during a 7-0 spurt that gave the hosts a 41-29 advantage. Efes came right back through jumpers from Kuqo and Haislip and then a three-point play from Jenkins for a 0-7 run. Hansen's slam ended the run, but Kurqo scored the last basket of the period to keep his team within 45-40 at halftime.
Papadopoulos made his presence felt again at the start of the second half with back-to-back baskets, but Nicholas fired in a three to show that Efes was going to fight. Haislip and Prkacin scored to close the gap to 51-47, but Papadopoulos and Gill from downtown upped the Dynamo lead to 9. Another Gill triple made it 62-52 as the hosts started to coast. However Efes never quit and free throws by Jenkins and a Haislip three made it 65-59, only to see Popovic from the line and Papadopoulos increase Moscow's lead to 10. Haislip capped the third quarter with a layup that made it 69-61.
Haislip drilled a triple in the first minute of the fourth quarter to bring Efes within 70-64. Popovic's slam caused Efes to call timeout, after which Nicholas found Haislip far another three to cut the gap to 5. However a quick push by Popovic, who sandwiched a Nicholas basket with free throws and a jumper, took Dynamo back to a 10-point lead. A Hansen jumper made it 83-71, before Kuqo and Jenkins cut the deficit back to 8. However Efes couldn't piece together a run, as every time it stopped Dynamo, it failed to score and when it did score, Hansen and co. were there to match. Efes continued to fight, but it was to no avail as Dynamo won to remain perfect at home this season.
Thursday, December 7, 2006