Panathinaikos cruises past Alba Berlin
Panathinaikos Athens remains in control of its own destiny in a race for a place in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Playoffs after cruising to a huge 82-58 win over visiting Alba Berlin on Friday night at OAKA in the Greek capital. The victory improved Panathinaikos to 7-4 and sole possession of fourth place in Group E standings, one win ahead of the fifth place Unicaja Malaga, while Alba dropped to 1-10. The Greens led from start to finish, after opening up the game with a 14-2 charge, and finished the first half on a 15-4 spurt that gave them a 22-point halftime lead. Jonas Maciulis led in victory with 16 points plus 6 rebounds. Stephane Lasme scored 14, Sofoklis Schortsanitis had 10 points, while Dimitris Diamantidis tallied 8 points plus 9 assists and Roko Ukic had 8 points plus 6 assists. For the visitors, Dashaun Wood scored 9 points on 3-for-4 three-point shooting and Nihad Djedovic finished with 8 points.
First quarter: Greens storm out of the gate
Ukic hit a shot to start the scoring, and Sofoklis Schortsanitis made a basket inside to give the hosts the lead from the get go. Djedovic got Alba on the scoreboard, but that was the only basket Panathinaikos allowed in almost five minutes. While focused on defense, the Greens went up 14-2 with Diamantidis assisting for a triple from Maciulis, a fastbreak layup from Ukic and finally for an alley-oop dunk by James Gist. Yassin Idbihi snapped the hosts’ run with a layup and a baseline shot, but a fastbreak dunk from Gist extended it to 19-6. The Berliners tried to get a spark off the bench from Albert Miralles and Heiko Schaffartzik, and the latter hit a triple, cutting it to 21-11 after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Hosts pull away with 14-4 run
Jekel Foster nailed a triple to open the second quarter, but Lasme answered with couple of shots, before Marcus Banks added a driving layup and a three-pointer for 30-15. After a timeout, Wood ended Alba’s drought from downtown, but Diamantidis answered with a three of his own before throwing a pass for a spectacular Lasme alley-oop dunk, 35-18. After Ali Traore scored inside and Derrick Byars from behind the arc to cut into the lead, the hosts answered with Maciulis nailing a triple and adding a basket-plus-foul to make it 45-26. Before the quarter’s end, Djedovic drove for a layup, but Diamantidis sank a three-pointer and Ukic raced for an uncontested layup, giving Panathinaikos a 50-28 halftime lead.
Third quarter: Panathinaikos margin swells to 30 points
Schortsanitis dunked and Zach Morley answered with an easy layup to open the scoring in the third quarter. Morley then hit a three, but Maciulis answered right back with his third triple and a 57-33 lead. With Panathinaikos enjoying full control, the tempo of the game slowed down, and so did the scoring before Lasme muscled his way inside and Banks nailed a triple to make it 67-37 going into the final quarter.
Fourth quarter: Greens reserves close out the win
Wood hit back-to-back triples to start the fourth quarter, before Deon Thompson made a basket-plus-foul and a put-back to create a 0-11 run. Lasme’s dunk and Bramos’s triple snapped the run, before Schaffartzik and Maciulis traded triples for 77-55. With all of the Panathinaikos starters getting rest, Charis Giannopoulos and Gaios Skordilis hit jumpers to close out the game.
Friday, March 15, 2013