ALBA rallies to down Panathinaikos
ALBA Berlin rediscovered its shooting touch in the second half en route to 74-65 win over visiting Panathinaikos OPAP Athens on Friday night in the German capital. The victory improved ALBA's record to 9-17 while Panathinaikos dropped to 9-15, but both teams are facing severely uphill climbs to challenge for the playoffs. Panathinaikos spent most of the first three quarters with leads as high as 10 points, but Johannes Thiemann scored 14 consecutive points to open the fourth, including 4 straight triples, to tilt the game ALBA's way. Thiemann finished with a career-high 16 points in 18 minutes. Marcus Eriksson netted 12 points and Maodo Lo had 11 points and 7 assists for ALBA. Aaron White was the only Panathinaikos scorer in double digits, with 14 points, while Konstantinos Mitoglou collected 9 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks in a losing effort.
Lo hit a jumper but that was the only ALBA basket in the first 6 minutes. The visitors forced 5 turnovers, while Howard Sant-Roos scored a pair of close-range baskets before a put-back layup from White made it 2-10. Simone Fontecchio got ALBA going with a transition triple and a fastbreak dunk, sparking a 9-0 run to give the hosts the lead. But the Greens quickly stopped the bleeding, making a 0-7 run for the rest of the quarter, capped with an alley-oop connection between Shelvin Mack and Georgios Papagiannis. A dunk from Ben Bentil, a tip-in from White and a jumper from Mitoglou helped open 15-25 gap in the second quarter. Lo took it to the rim and Luke Sikma scored twice in the low post, but a triple from Nikos Diplaros, in his first EuroLeague game, helped keep the margin at 23-34 at halftime.
Lo opened the second half with a three-pointer, but Sant-Roos, Ioannis Papapetrou and White hit back-to-back-to-back from downtown to make it 35-43. Fontecchio and Niels Giffey replied with their own in a 10-0 run, getting ALBA back in front, 45-43, midway through the third quarter. Mack and Eriksson traded triples, then Mack added another one of his own to give the Greens 50-53 after 30 minutes. Thiemann caught fire at the start of the fourth quarter, burying 4 consecutive triples to open a 62-55 ALBA lead. Sikma's back-door dish for Lo's layup and a triple from Siva made it 70-59 with 2:30 to go. The hosts extended the margin to 13 points, before White hit a triple on the other end, but too little too late for the Greens as ALBA closed it out.
Johannes Thiemann scored 14 of his game-high 16 points in the fourth quarter to top his previous career-high of 15 points. It was also the first time the ALBA big man hit 4 three-pointers in a EuroLeague game.
Both teams came out firing in the third quarter after shooting futility in the first half. ALBA shot 2-for-15 from downtown and Panathinaikos 1-for-9 from three in the first half, but then combined to make 9-of-18 in the third quarter. Led by Thiemann, ALBA proceeded to make 6-for-11 in the fourth to pull away.
Niels Giffey returned to action in this game for the first time since Round 17. He contributed with 5 points and 2 rebounds in less than 7 minutes.
Debut for Diplaros
Panathinaikos guard Nikos Diplaros made his debut, entering the game in the second quarter, and needing about 43 seconds to hit a triple. However, that turned out to be his only basket in 8:35 on the floor.
Next week both teams will be on a double duty, which starts with Round 27 on Tuesday when ALBA visits Zenit St Petersburg, while Panathinaikos hosts FC Barcelona later that night.
Friday, February 26, 2021