2007-08Top 16Round 5
March 13, 2008 CET: 20:45
Local time: 21:45 O.A.K.A.
Mike Batiste - Panathinaikos There were two winners in Athens on Thursday night as Panathinaikos edged Montepaschi Siena 77-76, but the visitors clinched a spot in the Quarterfinal Playoffs. The defending Euroleague champion held on to win a seesaw thriller that went down to the final second, improving to 3-2 in Group D. Panathinaikos visits Partizan Igokea next week knowing that a win secures its participation in the next stage. Meanwhile the Italian champs also sit at 3-2, the same as Partizan, but have tiebreakers over both clubs, meaning Montepaschi as already in the quarterfinals. A win at home over Efes Pilsen next week will give head coach Simone Pianigiani’s the top spot and home-court advantage in the best-of-three quarterfinals. The game was a back-and-forth battle with the visitors coming out red-hot from downtown as they built a 12-27 lead. Panathinaikos stormed back to within 43-45 by halftime and then went ahead in the third quarter. But Montepaschi never quit down to the last seconds, when Vlado Ilievski missed from downtown and two tip-ins both were off target, allowing Panathinaikos to win. Mike Batiste led Panathinaikos with 18 points on 8-for-10 shooting. Vassilis Spanoulis added 13, Sarunas Jasikevicius 12 and Efstratios Perperoglou had a season-high 11. Bootsy Thornton paced Montepaschi with 19, Terrell McIntyre scored 15 and dished 5 assists, Ksistof Lavrinovic chipped in 12 and Ilievski 10.

Despite the fact that the volume was high enough to pierce an eardrum, Montepaschi Siena rushed ahead 0-8 behind triples by McIntyre and Romain Sato, forcing head coach Zelimir Obradovic to call an urgent timeout with 8:34 left. McIntyre was too hot to back down though and continued his three-point blitz to shock the crowd. Finally, after three empty minutes, Batiste worked his way in the paint to get the scoreboard rolling, yet once again McIntyre exposed the Greens’ defense as he finished the fastbreak for a double-digit lead, 3-13. Siena was very energetic on both ends and soon, when Bootsy Thornton picked up the scoring slack with 7 consecutive points, the guests extended their advantage to a whopping 7-20. After a much-needed timeout, Spanoulis provided some spark from beyond the arc, but Siena stayed focused and retorted behind Lavrinovic for a 10-24 lead. Jacikevicius came off the bench to change the momentum of the game, only to bow behind Siena’s ability to hit the open shots. However, the reigning Euroleague Champions did not surrender and thanks to Batiste – I he scored a basket and the free-throw that came with it and then he threw down a one-handed dunk – managed to pull within 17-27.

Bootsy Thornton - Montepaschi SienaBatiste opened the second quarter with yet another monstrous dunk and a three-point play to send the level noise off the meter. Then, as Panathinaikos was now flashing some of its trademark defense, Stratos Perperoglou stole the ball and capped a 12-0 surge to close the gap to 24-27. Instead of folding, Siena responded with a triple by Vlado Ilievski to end the dry spell. Still, Jasikevicius unleashed a triple and few possessions later the great Lithuanian knocked down an off-balanced jumper and a free-throw to keep the hosts close on Siena’s heels 31-34. The guests were very passionate, but they were struggling against Panathinaikos’ swarming defense. As a result, they lost their composure and allowed reserve Perperoglou to go from jack to king and give the hosts their first lead, 37-36. The tide was seemingly turning on Panathinaikos’ way, but McIntyre thought otherwise and stepped up to reclaim the advantage for Siena, 43-45, at intermission.

The second half commenced with Jasikevicius passing and Batiste tying the game with a power layup. Thornton and Perperoglou exchanged points, but it was evident now that the tempo had slowed down a bit. That was until Nikola Prkacin scored on a hook shot and at the other end Spanoulis grabbed a rebound and stepped on the gas to finish the fast break and boost the margin to 53-47. Siena could not breath against the hosts’ lock-down defense, however McIntyre blasted a wild triple to rejuvenate his teammates. With the score at 56-53, Demos Dikoudis failed to capitalize on Spanoulis’s great pass and Shaun Stonerook punished the hosts as he connected from downtown with 2:22 to go. Then, Ilievski hit a buzzer-beating triple to turn the game topsy-turvy and cap an impressive 2-13 run for a 56-60 lead. It was time for Jasikevicius to bear offensive responsibility and so he did as he fired in a three-pointer. With the clock ticking down, Thronton split a pair of free throws and Dimitris Diamantidis, when everyone thought that the period was over, nailed an amazing highlight reel bomb from midcourt to push Panathinaikos ahead 62-61.

Sarunas Jasikevicius - PanathinaikosDefenses took over in the final period, as, with six minutes remaining, the score was knotted at 64-65. In what was though an unpredictable battle of epic proportions, Perperoglou pulled a triple out of his sleeve, only to be followed by Sato who hit a contested three-pointer that put Siena 67-68 in front. However, the formidable backcourt of Panathinaikos saved the last word for itself, as first Spanoulis and then Nikos Hatzivrettas connected from beyond the arc to built a 75-70 lead with two minutes left to play. The experienced hosts were surprisingly too enthusiastic to control the rhythm of the game. They choose not to dribble out most of the shot clock, but to shoot the ball, which allowed Montepaschi to pull within 75-74. Down the stretch, Batiste produced in the paint, and Ilievski drove to the basket to make it a 1-point game with 13 seconds remaining. And when Diamatidis was called for charging, Montepaschi had one more chance. However, the guests did not take advantage of their last possession, as Ilievski tried an off-balanced triple and then neither Lavrinovic nor Thornton managed to tip the ball into the basket as Panathinaikos escaped victorious.

Thursday, March 13, 2008
Epameinondas Tsakalos Athens
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Referees: BELOSEVIC, ILIJA (SRB), ZACHARA, IVAN (CZE), PEREZ PIZARRO, EMILIO (ESP)
Attendance: 17500
By Quarter1234
Panathinaikos17261915
Montepaschi Siena27181615
End of Quarter1234
Panathinaikos17436277
Montepaschi Siena27456176
Panathinaikos
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
4 ALVERTIS, FRAGISKOS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
5 PERPEROGLOU, STRATOS 15:30 11 4/7 1/1   1 2 3 3 2       2 1 15
6 SPANOULIS, VASSILIS 34:07 13 1/5 2/4 5/6   2 2 2 1 3     3 7 12
7 BECIROVIC, SANI DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
8 BATISTE, MIKE 32:20 18 8/10   2/2 1 3 4     1   1 3 5 20
9 ZIZIC, ANDRIJA DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
10 HATZIVRETTAS, NIKOS 21:24 5 1/1 1/1     1 1 1 1       4 1 5
11 DIKOUDIS, DIMOS 13:20 6 2/4 0/1 2/4 1 1 2     2       3 4
13 DIAMANTIDIS, DIMITRIS 33:38 3 0/1 1/2     7 7 2 2 3     3   6
14 WINSTON, KENNEDY 16:32 4 1/2 0/1 2/2   1 1   1 3   1 3 1 -2
17 PRKACIN, NIKOLA 4:58 5 1/1   3/6           1     1 3 3
19 JASIKEVICIUS, SARUNAS 28:11 12 1/4 2/5 4/5   2 2 5   1     2 4 13
Team             1 1   1 1         1
Totals 200:00 77 19/35 7/15 18/25 3 20 23 13 8 15 0 2 21 25 77
        54.3% 46.7% 72%
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
Montepaschi Siena
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
4 BERTI, SIMONE DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
5 MCINTYRE, TERRELL 32:52 15 3/6 3/7     1 1 5 2 5     4 2 9
6 ILIEVSKI, VLADO 21:40 10 1/1 2/6 2/2   1 1 3 1 2     1 3 11
8 EZE, BENJAMIN 16:44 6 3/3     1 2 3     1     3   5
9 CARRARETTO, MARCO 1:34                              
10 SATO, ROMAIN 28:47 9 1/2 2/3 1/2   5 5   1 1     3 1 9
11 THORNTON, BOOTSY 35:55 19 6/9 1/5 4/6 3 4 7 2 1 3     4 6 19
12 LAVRINOVIC, KSISTOF 21:52 12 2/4 0/1 8/11 3 4 7   2 3 2   3 8 19
14 RESS, TOMAS 3:45 2 1/1                     1   1
16 DIENER, DRAKE 5:33   0/1     1   1           1 1  
19 ROMERO, HECTOR 1:24                              
20 STONEROOK, SHAUN 29:54 3 0/1 1/1     5 5 4 2 1     5   7
Team                   1           1
Totals 200:00 76 17/28 9/23 15/21 8 22 30 14 10 16 2 0 25 21 81
        60.7% 39.1% 71.4%
Head coach: PIANIGIANI, SIMONE

Head Coaches

OBRADOVIC, ZELJKO
Panathinaikos
"The most important thing tonight was how we began the game. Because that was the main problem we had tonight. Early on, we played very poorly in defense and very nervously in offense. Then, we played much better and all my players improved their game and fought to the last second. In the third period, we were up by 7 points, but we got a triple by McIntyre and then we committed a few turnovers. That is why the score was so close. In any case I want to congratulate my players for winning, despite the fact that this victory is of no importance since we have to beat Partizan in order to qualify to the quarterfinals. Finally, I would like to repeat something about the fans. As I told my players after the warm-up, 'who has 17,000 fans ready to help their team the way our fans are ready to help us every single moment?' To say 'thankyou' to them is not enough."
PIANIGIANI, SIMONE
Montepaschi Siena
"First of all, I think it was a great game. Both teams played great. That's Euroleague basketball. I’m very happy with the way my team played here tonight against the Euroleague Champions. Obviously I'd like to win every game, but this loss was a sweet loss for us. Why? Because the future lies in our hands. We'll play next week at home against Efes Pilsen and if we beat them we’ll finish atop our group. We don’t have to wait for the other results. In any case, having already qualified to the best eight teams is a great achievement. My players did a good job tonight. I'm very proud of them. Some of them are not in perfect shape, others are injured, but we played as a team."

Players

DIAMANTIDIS, DIMITRIS
Panathinaikos
"The game against Partizan is a final. We’ll fight hard in order to qualify to the next phase. At times our performance has been great, but there is no doubt that we can play much better. What matters now is to win the next game. Nothing else."
PERPEROGLOU, STRATOS
Panathinaikos
"We failed to beat them by a 10-point difference, however a win is always a win. There is one game left. This is a final that we should win. All the games against Partizan were very close and I think that this game won’t be any different. We wanted to win the game tonight and perhaps we were very anxious. Hence, we came out flat and we allowed Siena to build a double-digit lead. Against Partizan we should start in high gear. As far as my performance is concerned, I'm happy when I play and I always try to help my team win."
EZE, BENJAMIN
Montepaschi Siena
"It was a tight loss, since we could have grabbed the victory We have to win at home now in order to be number one. I'm not happy with our performance because we were supposed to win the game, but we didn't. No, I'm not happy at all. Regarding the last possession, it was a mistake. A bad execution, but it happens. Maybe next time we'll correct it. Our goal is to make it to the Final Four. That's where we want to go."
ROMERO, HECTOR
Montepaschi Siena
"We tried to win, but we couldn't get it done in the final seconds. It was a close game. Down the stretch, we had three shots to win it, but the ball didn't fall in. We have to move on and try to win our last game at home."
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