Laboral Kutxa steamrolls Panathinaikos in series opener
Laboral Kutxa Laboral Vitoria set the tone in its playoffs series against Panathinaikos Athens with an 84-68 victory on Wednesday at Fernando Buesa Arena. The visitors led early, but Ioannis Bourousis came off the bench to help Laboral to a slim lead after 10 minutes. That difference grew to double figures in the second quarter before Darius Adams took charge with 12 third quarter points, including a wild three that bounced high off the rim before falling in to cap a 10-0 run as the difference grew to 20. Panathinaikos fought back in the fourth quarter, but never threatened the outcome. Adams finished with 20 points and Bourousis scored 15 for the winners. Mike James added 11 points and 6 assists, Adam Hanga netted 10 and Kim Tillie collected 11 rebounds. Miroslav Raduljica led Panathinaikos with 21 points, but scored just twice in the second half after dominating early. MarQuez Haynes added 11 points and Nick Calathes dished 11 assists in defeat.
First quarter: Bourousis sparks hosts off the bench
Elliot Williams got off to an ideal start by drawing a foul from Tillie on his first touch and draining a deep three on his second. Adams evened it with a triple before Raduljica overpowered Ilimane Diop inside. After the Panathinaikos center split free throws, Hanga used his speed to blow by defenders and get a layup. Raduljica added more free throws and sent Diop to the bench with 2 fouls in less than three minutes. Adams kept the hosts close with a layup, but Raduljica sank a hook shot. However a Davis Bertans three tied it at 10-10 and a Tillie tip-in gave Laboral its first lead. James Gist’s turnaround jumper and Ognjen Kuzmic’s hook over Bourousis came on Calathes’s fourth assist. Hanga rejected Antonis Fotsis on the break as neither team found the basket for more than two minutes. Bourusis ended the drought with a basket-plus-foul, but free throws by Raduljica put Panathinaikos ahead again. Bourousis’s triple with 13 seconds left in the quarter gave the hosts an 18-16 advantage.
Second quarter: Blazic’s threes help Laboral to double-digit lead
Raduljica extended his strong start with another hook shot. A three by Jaka Blazic gave Laboral the lead once more. After the unstoppable Raduljica added a tip-in, Hanga nailed a triple for a 24-20 Laboral lead. James added a three with a hand in his face and Alberto Corbacho followed on the fast break to score after Sasha Pavlovic rejected Blazic. Down 9, the Greens turned to Raduljica, who scored with another hook. Darko Planinic came in for Bourousis and took a dish from James for a layup and a 31-22 advantage midway through the quarter. Blazic connected from downtown as the hosts took a double-digit lead. Raduljica attacked the glass for a put-back slam, but Planinic netted 3 free throws over two possessions as the lead grew. Vince Hunter came off the bench to make an impact at both ends with an offensive rebound and a blocked shot, but also missed twice from the line. Gist used a spin move to bring the Greens within 37-27 with a minute left in the half. Bourousis countered with a pretty move of his own. Gist split free throws to end the half with the visitors trailing 39-28.
Third quarter: Adams pours in 12 points as difference soars to 20s
Panathinaikos got a great start to the second half with a basket from Calathes. The same player’s steal soon led to a Williams slam. However Hanga and Adams scored at the rim – and Adams added a bonus free throw – to make it 44-32. Calathes added a jumper, but Hanga’s triple further extended the difference. Laboral dominated the offensive glass with Planinic finishing a four-chance possession. Tillie’s tip in was followed by a wild Adams three that bounced high off the back rim before falling in to cap a 10-0 run for a 20-point advantage. After a Panathinaikos timeout, Calathes fed Gist for an alley-oop, but Bourousis countered with free throws and Hanga rejected Gist as the hosts remained in total control. After a put-back by Kuzmic, Adams and Haynes traded threes. Adams scored again and tacked on a free throw after a technical on the Greens’ bench for a 62-42 lead. After Bourousis free throws, Haynes made his second triple and Hanga limped off the floor. Baskets by Pavlovic on the offensive glass and Williams at the buzzer made it 64-49.
Fourth quarter: Panathinaikos run proves too little, too late
Adams stayed hot with his fourth three at the start of the fourth quarter and James threw down a ferocious two-handed slam to restore a 20-point difference. Raduljica finally scored his first basket of the second half with a fast break layup. Tillie netted a triple and James rejected Calathes as Laboral remained in charge. Calathes set up Raduljica for another basket inside, but the Greens did not appear to have the urgency needed to fight back from a 20-point deficit. Caalthes sent a behind-the-back assist to Hunter on the break. Calathes set up Hunter for another dunk and Haynes hit a baseline jumper to make it 73-60 and give the visitors some hope with five minutes to go. James responded with a big three. Haynes added another jumper, but time was not on the Greens’ side. A three-point play by Bourousis with 2:40 to go all but sealed the outcome at 79-62. Hunter finished another alley-oop and James Feldeine finished a tough layup, but the local fans were already celebrating the victory.
Wednesday, April 13, 2016