2007-08Top 16Round 4
March 06, 2008 CET: 20:45
Local time: 21:45 O.A.K.A.
Mike Batiste - Panathinaikos Panathinaikos held off a spirited charge from Efes Pilsen to record a 74-65 win and return to the fight for a ticket to the Quarterfinal Playoffs. The defending champs remained perfect at home this season and improved to 2-2 in Group D, tying Partizan Igokea for second place. The Greens host group leader Montepaschi Siena next week and visit Belgrade for the Top 16 finale. Meanwhile Efes, whose roster was slashed after three players were released for refusing to travel with the team last week, dropped to 1-3 and sees its quarterfinal hopes all but eliminated. The only good news for Efes, which hosts Partizan next week, was that it does still hold a potential head-to-head tiebreaker, since it won their first meeting by 10. Scoonie Penn, Andre Hutson and Kenny Gregory combined for all the points in a 6-16 opening run that helped Efes to a 15-20 edge after 10 minutes. Demos Dikoudis gave the Greens their first lead, 24-23, but Penn and an outstanding Hutson pushed Efes to regain the lead, 31-38, at halftime. Mike Batiste and Nikos Hatzivrettas allowed Panathinaikos to build a 54-46 edge, but Ermal Kuqo and Gregory ignited a 0-12 run that put Efes back ahead, 54-58, with six minutes to go. Batiste scored twice in an 8-0 run as the hosts regained the lead for good and Vassilis Spanoulis and Dikoudis added key baskets as Panathinaikos wrapped up a tough win. Batiste led the Greek champs with 20 points, Spanoulis added 15, Dikoudis 12 and Dimitris Diamantidis finished with 11 points 6 rebounds and 5 assists. Hutson paced Efes with 21 points and 8 rebounds, while Gregory added 12.

Early on in the game, Hutson dominated against veteran Fragiskos Alvertis to score 4 quick points and ignite a 0-6 run that forced an urgent timeout less than two minutes into the game. Sani Becirovic slashed to the basket and got the scoreboard rolling for the Greens, however Hutson was hot from the perimeter and threw in another long jumper for a 4-10 lead. Then both Gregory and Penn shined from downtown to forge a double-digit advantage for the guests, partly because scoring from beyond the arc was an uphill battle for Panathinaikos – 0 for 6 from downtown at that point. Still, the hosts provided some lock-down defense that stifled Efes Pilsen and soon an aggressive Spanoulis came off the bench to spearhead the counter-offensive. He first drove to the basket and then he found Batiste for a two-handed monster dunk that brought the massive crowd to its feet and pulled Panathinaikos within 15-20 after 10 minutes of play.

Andre Hutson - Efes PilsenEntering the second quarter, Spanoulis converted a three-point play to tie the game, but smooth-shooter Serkan Erdogan gunned a triple for a 20-23 Efes advantage. It was obvious though now that Panathinaikos was shaking off a slow start and it wasn’t long before Dikoudis gave the hosts their first lead, 24-23. However, instead of folding, head coach David Blatt’s fearless gang did not back down. Hutson drilled a pair of baskets and Gregory soared for a thunder dunk as Efes swung the momentum back their way. Spanoulis answered with a gutsy layup, but the guests found some rhythm and an open triple by Kerem Gonlum allowed the guests to build a 31-38 halftime lead.

The second half commenced with Diamantidis finally redeeming the Greens from their three-point shooting blues. With the score at 36-42, Panathinaikos found a go-to-guy in Dikoudis. The experienced forward was effective from inside and beyond the arc, leaving Blatt with no other choice but to call timeout in order to regroup his forces. Still Efes could not clamp down on defense, as the basket looked now like an ocean for the Greens. A triple by Hatzivrettas widened the gap to 50-46, however, once again Efes was too passionate to surrender without a fight and neither the wild crowd nor Panathinaikos’s swarming defense fazed the guests. Kuqo and Gregory provided a much-needed spark from three-point land and the guests stayed close on Panathinaikos’ heels, 54-52, with one period to go.

Dimitrios Diamantidis - PanathinaikosThe hosts went scoreless over the next four minutes and Ender Arslan triggered a 0-6 run to turn the game topsy-turvy at 54-58. Panathinaikos was struggling offensively, yet Hatzivrettas unleashed a decisive buzzer-beating triple to recharge the crowd and boost his teammates’ confidence. Then Batiste came up big, dominating in the paint, and together with Spanoulis, who created havoc on Efes’s defense with his ability to drive to the basket, they built a 67-62 for the hosts. Efes was gasping for breath now and Gonlum managed to trim the lead to 67-64, only to be bettered by Dikoudis who upped the ante with a three-point play to make it 70-64. Could the guests pull any late heroics out of their sleeve? Batiste thought otherwise and helped Panathinaikos muscle its way to a 74-65 lead. However, with the clock ticking away, Batiste – clearly the man of the match – missed a fadeaway jumper that would have given Panathinaikos the upper hand on point-differential against Efes.

Thursday, March 6, 2008
Epameinondas Tsakalos, Athens
No results found.
Referees: BRAZAUSKAS, ROMUALDAS (LTU), CEREBUCH, GUERRINO (ITA), VIATOR, EDDIE (FRA)
Attendance: 13500
By Quarter1234
Panathinaikos15162320
Efes Pilsen20181413
End of Quarter1234
Panathinaikos15315474
Efes Pilsen20385265
Panathinaikos
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
4 ALVERTIS, FRAGISKOS 7:15     0/4                   1 1 -4
5 PERPEROGLOU, STRATOS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
6 SPANOULIS, VASSILIS 32:11 15 6/8 0/2 3/3   2 2 4 1 4     2 7 19
7 BECIROVIC, SANI 6:42 2 1/1 0/1             1     1 2 1
8 BATISTE, MIKE 32:32 20 8/11   4/7   6 6   1 1     1 5 24
9 ZIZIC, ANDRIJA 7:28 2 1/1               2     3   -3
10 HATZIVRETTAS, NIKOS 24:06 7   2/3 1/2 1 3 4           2 3 10
11 DIKOUDIS, DIMOS 20:01 12 4/6 1/1 1/1 1 1 2     1     5 1 7
13 DIAMANTIDIS, DIMITRIS 33:43 11 3/4 1/2 2/2   6 6 5 2 1     3 3 21
14 WINSTON, KENNEDY 17:31 2 1/2     1 1 2   1 2 1   1   2
17 PRKACIN, NIKOLA DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
19 JASIKEVICIUS, SARUNAS 18:31 3 1/1 0/3 1/1       3 1 1   1   1 3
Team                   2           2
Totals 200:00 74 25/34 4/16 12/16 3 19 22 12 8 13 1 1 19 23 82
        73.5% 25% 75%
Head coach: OBRADOVIC, ZELJKO
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
Efes Pilsen
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
5 PENN, SCOONIE 31:40 7 1/2 1/4 2/2   2 2 2 4 4     5 5 7
9 GREGORY, KENNY 35:52 12 3/7 2/4 0/1 2 2 4 2   3     3 1 6
10 ABI, MUSTAFA 30:10 6 1/1 1/1 1/2   2 2       1   4 2 6
11 PACUN, BORA HUN 1:03                              
12 GONLUM, KEREM 30:36 7 2/7 1/3   3 3 6 1   2   1 3 1 2
17 ERDOGAN, SERKAN DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
23 KUQO, ERMAL 19:56 3 0/7 1/2   1 1 2 4 1 3     2 1 -2
32 HERSEK, BARIS 1:03                              
33 ARSLAN, ENDER 21:15 9 2/2 1/5 2/2       2   1     2 3 7
34 HUTSON, ANDRE 28:25 21 8/8   5/6 1 7 8 2   4     4 6 28
Team           1 2 3   3           6
Totals 200:00 65 17/34 7/19 10/13 8 19 27 13 8 17 1 1 23 19 60
        50% 36.8% 76.9%
Head coach: BLATT, DAVID

Head Coaches

OBRADOVIC, ZELJKO
Panathinaikos
"I would like to thank our fans for helping the team. It's incredible to see how ready they are to help us each time. As for the game, we started the first half very nervously. We couldn't even make the open shots. We shot 0 for 9 triples during the first half. In each possession, we had about 15 to 18 seconds of good defense, but in the last seconds it would go very bad. As a result, Efes was able to score not because they were lucky, but because of our bad defense down the stretch. We also faced problems with the offensive rebounds. Efes grabbed 7 offensive boards in the first half. Coach Blatt had only seven of the regular players available to him and they played zone defense many times, but we were ready and had prepared for it. So the problem was that we were very nervous. In the second half, the score was 43-27 partly because we punished them with our pick-and-rolls. It was an important game for us. It’s true that some players are not at the top of their game, but we are trying to help us as much as we can. It's an interesting situation that has been created in our Group, given that last night Partizan has beaten Siena."
BLATT, DAVID
Efes Pilsen
"First of all, I want to congratulate Panathinaikos and coach Obradovic. That was a very good basketball game tonight, very interesting. A lot of things happened in the game. I think that at the end of the day, because it was a very tactical game, we simply lost a few more of those games within the game than we won. Particularly at the end when we got a little tired. There's nothing I like less than losing a game. On the other hand, I'm very proud of the players, I'm very proud of the effort they made, I'm very proud of the professionalism and representation of Efes Pilsen. We make no excuses and we ask for no sympathies. We are out there fighting to win. And I'm very proud of my family. Our Group has been pretty unusual thus far. Obviously our chances are not good. Chances do exist though. As a sportsman you fight, until you have no chances anymore. And then you fight some more. We won't quit."

Players

DIKOUDIS, DIMOS
Panathinaikos
"The win helped us mentally to get over the period of consecutive defeats that we encountered. Other than that, we can play much better. Our goal is to win the remaining games. We could have won with a bigger difference than 10 points, but what we wanted the most was to boost our confidence with a win. Once again, the fans were fantastic. With such a great atmosphere, it’s very tough to be defeated."
HATZIVRETTAS, NIKOS
Panathinaikos
"It was a crucial game for us. We managed to control the tempo of the game through our defense and the fans helped us prevail. We'll keep working hard and we'll try to play even better in the next games. As far as my performance is concerned, there's not much to say. I prefer talking about our team. Our aim has always been to help our team win games. This is what we fight for."
HUTSON, ANDRE
Efes Pilsen
"We fought hard tonight. Everybody played hard tonight. We wanted to win, but we are in a difficult situation right now. We knew we had a tough task against Panathinaikos, as they are one of the better teams in the Euroleague. We did a good job, but we just didn't have enough at the end. I shot the ball well tonight, but my good performance wasn't enough. Regarding the points differential, we wanted to keep it under 10 points. We did a good job at the end of the game. That was big for us. Hopefully it will come into play later on in this round."
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