Unicaja drills 15 three-pointers to beat Panathinaikos
Unicaja Malaga sent a message that echoed all around Europe by downing Panathinaikos Athens 87-71 at home on Thursday. Both teams are now tied in Top 16 Group E with 3-3 records. Nik Caner-Medley paced the winners with 21 points. Ryan Toolson added 20 while Jayson Granger had 16 for Unicaja. All three players combined to make 13 of 19 three-point shots, helping Unicaja to hit 15 triples - just 2 shy of its Euroleague record. Ramel Curry led Panathinaikos with 14 points, all in the first half. Jonas Maciulis added 13, Mike Bramos had 12 while Stephane Lasme and Dimitris Diamantidis each scored 10 for the Greens. Bramos sank two three-pointers and Curry struck three times from downtown to give Panathinaikos a 20-23 lead after 10 minutes. Toolson had 13 second-quarter points, including free throws to put Unicaja ahead, 44-42, at halftime. An outstanding Maciulis gave Panathinaikos its last lead, 54-57. Toolson and Caner-Medley fueled a 13-2 run that put Unicaja ahead for good, 67-59. Caner-Medley and Vladimir Stimac boosted their team's margin to 77-65 and the hosts never looked back.
First quarter: Three-pointers give Green the edge
Caner-Medley nailed a three-pointer to get Unicaja going, but Bramos answered from downtown for a 3-3 tie. Fran Vazquez banked in a turnaround jumper, before Lasme took over with a put-back slam. Another triple by Caner-Medley put Unicaja back ahead, 8-5. Bramos fired in his second shot from beyond the arc and a driving basket by Diamantidis gave Panathinaikos its first lead, 8-10. Mindaugas Kuzminskas made free throws, but Mike Batiste scored down low. Athree-pointer by Zoran Dragic gave the hosts a 13-12 edge. Granger stepped up with a stop-and-pop jumper that Curry bettered with a wide open three, which tied it at 15-15. Stimac dropped in a put-back layup, but Panathinaikos finished yet another patient offense with another three-pointer by Curry put the Greens back ahead, 17-18. Domas Sabonis sank an acrobatic three-point play, but Curry erased it with another triple and Antonis Fotsis made free throws for a 20-23 Panathinaikos edge after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Toolson shines and puts Unicaja ahead
Loukas Mavrokefalidis hit a four-meter jumper early in the fourth quarter, but Toolson did better with a bomb from downtown for a 23-25 Unicaja deficit. Curry buried another three-pointer - his fourth in as many attempts – and followed it with a fast break layup to give the Greens a 23-30 edge. Toolson sank his second triple and an off-balance basket by Caner-Medley brought Unicaja within 28-30. Sergi Vidal ignited the crowd with a stop-and-pop three-pointer that caused Panathinaikos to call timeout at 31-30, after an 8-0 run. Mavrokefalidis nailed a five-meter jumper that Granger bettered with one from beyond the arc. Fotsis shined with a fast break basket and a driving layup by Maciulis put Panathinaikos back ahead, 34-36. Vazquez scored down low, but Diamantidis fed Batiste for an alley-oop slam. Toolson struck from downtown and erased Diamantidis's layup with free throws for a 41-40 Unicaja edge. Free throws by Kuzminskas, Diamantidis and Toolson fixed the score at 44-42 at halftime.
Third quarter: Panathinaikos reacts, Caner-Medley soars
Bramos made free throws immediately after the break and a dunk by Lasme gave Panathinaikos the lead, 44-46. Kuzminskas nailed a one-handed jumper in the lane and a three-pointer by Granger put Unicaja back ahead, 49-46. Vazquez took over with a put-back slam in traffic and a free throw by Dragic made it 52-46, after an 8-0 run. Diamantidis nailed a three-pointer and found Lasme for a layup to keep the Greens within 52-51. Caner-Medley nailed his trademark step-back jumper, but the Greens improved their defense late in the third quarter, forcing Unicaja to take off-balance shots and pick up 24-second turnovers. Meanwhile, Maciulis answered from downtown and followed it with a dunk-and-foul for a 54-57 Panathinaikos edge. Stimac stepped up with a put-back layup and Caner-Medley scored in transition for a 58-57 Unicaja lead. Caner-Medley buried a three-pointer to boost the hosts' edge to 61-57.
Fourth quarter: Unicaja sets Martin Carpena on fire!
Vidal split free throws early in the fourth quarter. Bramos took over with a wild step-back jumper that Toolson bettered with a three-pointer for a 65-59 Unicaja edge. Toolson kept pacing Unicaja with a six-meter jumper, before the Greens called timeout at 67-59. Bramos and a red-hot Toolson traded baskets and Lasme scored around the basket to give Panathinaikos hope, 69-63, with over six minutes left. Caner-Medley ignited the crowd with a catch-and-shoot, seven-meter bomb and Unicaja was all over the passing lines on defense. Stimac scored in the low post to make it a double-digit game, 74-63, with four minutes left. Lasme dunked, but an unstoppable Caner-Medley nailed another three-pointer that sealed the outcome, 77-65. Both teams kept fighting for point differential, a critical issue in this game. Stimac and Granger kept Unicaja way ahead, 84-68, allowing all of its fans to celebrate a great home win.
Thursday, February 13, 2014