Despite losing two key guards before the start of the Top 16, Dynamo Moscow defended its homecourt with a 91-84 victory over feisty Panellinios in the Group I opener for both teams. Panellinios rallied from 13 points behind to lead early in the fourth quarter and pulled again to withing 2 points, 84-82, with 90 seconds left. In both cases, Bostjan Nachbar came up with big plays to preserve victory for the hosts. Travis Hansen led Dynamo with 22 points and 6 assists while Nachbar scored 21, Robertas Javtokas and Sergey Bykov 14 each. For Panellinios, Jurica Golemac finished with 18 points, Anthony Grundy and Djuro Ostojic 12 each, while Ivan Radenovic had 11. Despite losing point guards Hollis Price and Jannero Pargo in recent days, Dynamo had more assists, 13 to 11, than Panellinios and only 2 fewer turnovers, 18 to 16, while making 60% of its two-point shots (26 of 43), the key difference in the end.
Panellinios signaled its intentions early, going up 4-10 as Ostojic and Golemac scored twice each. Nachbar's first triple started Dynamo's turnaround, a 10-0 run that ended with 5 points in a row by Hansen. Panellinios got within 16-15 before Dimitry Khvostov started another 11-0 blast by the hosts that Javtokas ended with a layup and block as Dynamo took a 27-17 first-quarter lead. With the help of 4 consecutive points by Darjus Lavrinovic, Dynamo extended its advantage to 36-23 midway through the second quarter before Manolis Papamakarios hit his second three-point shot, the only ones so far for Panellinios. When Vladimir Petrovic joined him, the guests were within 37-31, but Hansen, Nachbar, Javtokas and the Dynamo defense took over the last few minutes before halftime, which ended with the hosts in charge, 45-33.
Panellinios made its move with a 4-10 run to open the second half as Grundy joined Golemac and Ostojic in scoring roles. The comeback from 13 points behind culminated in a steal and fastbreak layup by Petrovic that came with a free throw to put the visitors ahead 55-58 and force a Dynamo timeout. After a silent couple minutes, Bykov answered from downtown to tie 58-58, but Golemac kept Panellinios ahead with free throws. Bykov came through again, driving for a layup-plus-free throw good for a 61-60 lead. Hansen found Javtokas in close to extend the lead, but Radenovic was perfect at the line for Panellinios to forge a 63-63 score after 30 minutes. A put-back by Javtokas gave Dynamo a new lead in the final quarter before Radenovic at the line and Brad Newley with a steal and layup took it back at 65-67. That, however, would be the last lead for Panellinios. Yuri Vasilyev tied it at the free-throw line for Dynamo before Nachbar's jumper made it 69-67. When Hansen raised up for a new triple, the hosts suddenly were up 72-67. Next came an intentional foul on Hansen, who hit both shots before another big jumper by Nachbar capped an 11-0 run at 76-67. Radenovic's layup broke the spell for Panellinios, but Nachbar was on fire, dropping a big triple for a new double-digit lead, 79-69. After a timeout, Radenovic re-started Panellinios with an inside basket, but Vasilyev matched it. Newley downed a triple at 81-74, but Vasilyev erased that with a driving layup and free throw. Papamakarios and Golemac struck quickly for Panellinios, however, with three-point plays from downtown and inside, respectively, so that when Grundy stole and went the other way for a layup, the guests were suddenly within 84-82 with under 90 seconds left. Panellinios had the chance to go ahead before Nachbar stole and was fouled intentionally trying to dunk. He hit both foul shots, and with the ensuing possession, Bykov blasted a three-pointer for an 89-82 score with 25 seconds left. Panellinios tried to reduce the margin after that, unsuccessfully, and the victory stayed in Moscow.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009