May 03, 2009 CET: 20:00
Local time: 20:00 O2 WORLD

The Greens get another crown!

Panathinaikos Athens is the Euroleague Basketball champion for 2009! Panathinaikos lifted its second crown in three years by beating last season’s champion CSKA 73-71 in a thrilling final at o2 World in Berlin on Sunday night. One of the most exciting basketball title games in history went to the wire and wasn’t decided until Ramunas Siskauskas's attempted three at the buzzer bounced out. That allowed Panathinaikos to celebrate its fifth Euroleague title and the seventh for head coach Zeljko Obradovic, the winningest head coach in Euroleague history. Vassilis Spanoulis was named Final Four MVP after scoring 13, including a clutch triple with less than three minutes to play. Panathinaikos had 10-0 runs in both the first and second quarters to surge ahead and Sarunas Jasikevicius and Drew Nicholas finished the second period with back-to-back three-pointers to give the Greens a 48-28 halftime lead. They would prove to need each of those as CSKA held the Greens scoreless for more than 8 minutes, scoring 17 unanswered points to come back. CSKA would narrow the gap to 1 in the closing seconds, but couldn't complete the comeback. Antonis Fotsis added 13 points and 8 rebounds for the winners and Jasikevicius and Dimitris Diamantidis scored 10 each. J.R. Holden paced CSKA with 14 points and Trajan Langdon and Siskauskas each scored 13.

Panathinaikos won the opening tip and had two good looks on its first possession, but came up empty. At the other end, CSKA got the ball inside and Viktor Khryapa scored on the offensive glass before Holden pulled up to double the score. Spanoulis got the Greens on the board, but baskets by Erazem Lorbek, Khryapa and Holden kept CSKA in control. Spanoulis ignited the Panathinaikos crowd with a three-pointer and a drive through the CSKA defense to get his team within 9-12. CSKA’s first wave of substitutions saw Siskauskas and Sashas Kaun come on, but that didn’t phase the Greens, who got baskets from Nikola Pekovic and Nicholas to take their first lead. Pekovic drew a foul from Khryapa on a dunk attempt and the latter was whistled for a technical. Pekovic sank all 4 free throws to cap a 10-0 Panathinaikos run that made it 17-12. A Kaun slam revived CSKA before head coach Ettore Messina called for a timeout. Fotsis sank 2 from the line before Holden and Mike Batiste traded baskets. Siskauskas missed twice from the line and the opening period ended with the Greens ahead 21-16.

A fresh Diamantidis carved through the CSKA defense for his first points, but a free throw and later a jumper by Matjaz Smodis kept Moscow close. Jasikevicius fired in a three and Diamantidis did the same as the Greens’ lead hit double figures. A CSKA turnover and a Nicholas jumper made it 31-19, fueled the Panathinaikos fans and led to a CSKA timeout. Moscow still had trouble getting the shots it wanted and Kostas Tsartsaris took advantage to cap the Panathinaikos run at 10-0. Holden ended the CSKA drought with a pair of free throws, but a Diamantidis three made it a 15-point game. Siskauskas banked in a shot only to see Fotsis respond with a three. Spanoulis made a triple to put his team up 42-25, but Holden beat Panathinaikos downcourt for an easy layup. The Green machine continued to roll as Jasikevicius and Nicholas made triples for a 48-28 halftime lead.

Just seconds into the second half, Jasikevicus nailed another three – making it 8 straight attempts without a miss for the Greens. CSKA soon found its footing, drew fouls on three straight possessions and behind 4 Langdon free throws cut the gap to 51-33. But the Panathinaikos assault continued and as Fotsis rifled in another three. Langdon and Siskauskas continued to will CSKA. Langdon had 7 in a 0-10 stretch to get to 56-43. After a Panathinaikos timeout, CSKA got free throws from Zoran Planinic and Khryapa to close continue its run, holding Panathinaikos without point for the final 6:10 of the third quarter to get within 56-46.

CSKA’s defense continued to deny Panathinaikos, while the defending champs continued their charge. Tsartsaris became the first player to foul out of the game before Smodis’s foul-line jumper capped a 0-17 charge and made it 56-60. Fotsis ended an eight-and-a-quarter-minute scoring drought for the Greens with a triple and Stratos Perperoglou soon restored a double-digit Panathinaikos advantage with a free throw and a basket in the paint. Lorbek kept CSKA’s hopes alive at 62-52, but a three by Perperoglou helped the Greens regain their confidence. A Planinic basket and a Siskauskas three brought CSKA right back. Siskauskas narrowed the gap to 65-58 with a free throw and Holden made his way through the Green defense to make it a 5-point game with three minutes to play. Spanoulis hit a clutch triple only to see Khryapa match him. Batiste went hard to the basket and was fouled by Khryapa. He made both free throws. Smodis drilled a three to make it 70-66. After Holden denied Spanoulis a good look at the basket, Khryapa drew Fotsis’s fifth foul with 40.9 seconds to play, but missed twice from the line. However Panathinaikos lost the ball on an 8 seconds violation and Siskauskas stepped up with a three with 26.2 seconds to play that made it 70-69. Forced to foul, CSKA sent Diamantidis to the line with 10.4 seconds to play and sank 2. CSKA took a timeout and set up a play for Siskauskas, but Diamantidis fouled him with 8.5 seconds left. The 2008 Euroleague MVP made both and this time Panathinaikos took a timeout up 72-71. Jasikevicus went to the line with 5.8 ticks on the clock and the No. 1 free throw shooter in competition history missed the first and hit the second. CSKA went again to Siskauskas who went for it all and bulled up for what would have been a buzzer-beating three, but it bounced out, leaving Panathinaikos to celebrate victory in one of the most exciting championship games ever.

Panathinaikos is EB Champ 2008-09 - Final Four Berlin 2009
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Frankie Sachs, Euroleague.net, Berlin
Attendance: 13238
By Quarter1234
Panathinaikos Athens2127817
CSKA Moscow16121825
End of Quarter1234
Panathinaikos Athens21485673
CSKA Moscow16284671
Panathinaikos Athens
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
5 KECMAN, DUSAN DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
6 SPANOULIS, VASSILIS 23:07 13 2/5 3/5             1     3 1 5
7 PERPEROGLOU, STRATOS 20:26 6 1/2 1/3 1/2   2 2 2         2 2 6
8 BATISTE, MIKE 25:04 6 1/2   4/4 1 3 4     2     2 5 10
9 FOTSIS, ANTONIS 29:07 13 1/4 3/6 2/2 3 5 8 1   1     5 2 12
10 HATZIVRETTAS, NIKOS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
11 NICHOLAS, DREW 29:41 7 2/3 1/4     1 1 1         3 1 3
12 TSARTSARIS, KOSTAS 9:57 2 1/1 0/1     1 1       1   5   -2
13 DIAMANTIDIS, DIMITRIS 27:11 10 1/2 2/3 2/2 1 3 4 3 1 2     2 2 14
14 PEKOVIC, NIKOLA 15:08 6 1/3   4/4 2   2     6 1 1 3 5 2
15 SAKOTA, DUSAN DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
19 JASIKEVICIUS, SARUNAS 20:19 10 0/1 3/5 1/2 1 3 4 4 1 2     2 1 12
Totals 200:00 73 10/23 13/27 14/16 8 18 26 11 2 14 2 1 27 19 62
        43.5% 48.1% 87.5%
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
CSKA Moscow
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
6 ZISIS, NIKOS 1:38                   1         -1
7 KEYRU, VICTOR DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
8 SMODIS, MATJAZ 29:49 9 2/6 1/4 2/4 4 5 9           3 6 12
9 SISKAUSKAS, RAMUNAS 28:15 13 2/4 2/6 3/6         1 2     1 5 7
10 HOLDEN, JR 29:40 14 5/7 0/1 4/4   1 1 4 1       2 5 20
12 LORBEK, ERAZEM 15:53 5 2/5   1/2   1 1         2 2 1 -1
20 VORONTSEVICH, ANDREY DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
21 LANGDON, TRAJAN 31:36 13 2/6 1/2 6/6 1 3 4 1         3 3 13
24 KAUN, SASHA 12:59 3 1/1   1/2 1 2 3     2     1 1 3
31 KHRYAPA, VICTOR 23:20 9 2/3 1/3 2/4 5 2 7 1 2       5 4 13
34 PLANINIC, ZORAN 16:52 5 2/3   1/2 1 2 3 1 1       2 2 8
44 MORRIS, TERENCE 9:58                   1 1   1   -1
Team                     1         -1
Totals 200:00 71 18/35 5/16 20/30 12 16 28 7 5 7 1 2 20 27 72
        51.4% 31.3% 66.7%

Head Coaches

Panathinaikos Athens
"What to say after a game like today's? My first impression is that we deserved to win the game earlier than the last defense. But this is basketball and it happens, because it's a final of the Euroleague and the opponent team was in the final for the fourth time in a row. Congratulations to the players, together with the fan who came over to help us try to win. Everybody talked before we came that the team that won our semifinal with Olympiacos would have it very difficult to win the final. We showed it was possible by playing a great first half. At halftime, I told my players that CSKA is a great team, they will change their game and play more aggressive, and they did this.Thanks to the players and fans, my staff, and Mr. Thanassis Giannakopoulos and his brother, Pavlos, who I am sorry could not be here for health reasons."
CSKA Moscow
"First of all, I'd like to congratulate Panathinaikos and Coach Obradovic for their great win. Second, I'd like to thank my players for the effort they put into the second half to make this event become a basketball game like it wasn't in the first 20 minutes. I think the game, technically speaking, was decided by the fact that we had very early foul trouble to three of our starters, and at that point we saw an imbalance on the court. We started good, but from the moment when Lorbek, Smodis and Khryapa had two quick fouls, Panathinaikos continued to pound inside, and when we closed, the got a good percentage on three-pointers. The second half, we managed to keep our starters on the court for a longer time, played with great heart and made the game be decided in the end by a couple details. We congratulate them and we obviously will try to stay together and get ready for the Russian playoffs."


Panathinaikos Athens
"I think it was an excellent game for 40 minutes. CSKA is a very big team, we knew they would try to come back. But we had some good offenses at the end of the game and we tried to stop them and we took the title. This feeling is the best. It’s a great feeling. It’s a great feeling. For me it is the second time and I’m very happy. I’m proud to be a member of this team."
CSKA Moscow
"Of course, I am proud of my team. The first half was worse than terrible. We never did what we were supposed to do and the first half is one to forget about. But I am proud of our second half, we showed we could be back in the game and we had a chance. About the last shot... We tried to go for a layup, but if there was no possibility, we would have to go for the long shot. I tried to read the situation and I went for it. I think it was not a bad shot, but I just missed it. That's part of the game."
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