2011-12Regular SeasonRound 1
October 20, 2011 CET: 20:45
Local time: 21:45 O.A.K.A.

Panathinaikos stopped Unicaja 98-77

Turkish Airlines Euroleague champion Panathinaikos looked none the worse for a rough training camp when it opened its title defense by thrashing Unicaja of Spain 98-77 at home in Athens on Thursday. The Greens, who were missing Stratos Perperoglou and Kostas Tsartsaris due to injury, showed that their offense is finely tuned and their defense can rise to any occasion. They turned a 52-49 halftime lead into a blowout by starting the third and fourth quarters with stifling defense. Reigning MVP Dimitris Diamantidis led seven Panathinaikos scorers in double figures with 17 points, 7 assists and 3 steals. Romain Sato followed with 16 points, Kostas Kaimakoglou and Steven Smith 13 each, Nick Calathes 12 and Sarunas Jasikevicius 10. The Greens made 12 of 19 three-pointers overall, with Diamaintidis, Kaimakoglou, Smith and Jasikevicius going 9 for 9 without a miss. For Unicaja, Kristaps Valters and Hrvoje Peric came off the bench for 13 points each, while Nenad Sinanovic had 11 and Earl Rowland 10.

Joel Freelend went strong for the game's opening basket, was answered in kind by Aleks Maric, but scored again to put Unicaja up 2-4. Diamantidis got his first basket from the baseline, while Rowland popped from the foul line. Sato's layup tied it up, and Diamantidis gave the Greens their first lead of the season, 8-6, on a jumper. Sinanovic slammed a rebound, but newcomer Smith drilled an open three-pointer for the hosts. The Panathinaikos defense ruled as Smith added free throws and Maric a basket to open a 15-8 advantage. Unicaja managed only free throws before Smith added 3 points the hard way and Sato a triple from deep for a double-digit lead, 21-10. Sinanovic and Valters steadied Unicaja with a couple baskets, but Smith continued scoring easily as the Greens led 25-16 after 10 minutes.

Unicaja got extra scorers involved - Peric, Saul Blanco and Jorge Garbajosa - early in the second quarter to pull within 29-23. Now, it was the Unicaja defense that proved tough, but only until Jasikevicius fed Kaimakoglou for a three-pointer. When Diamantidis got behind that defense for a layup and Jasikevicius finished a fastbreak, Panathinaikos was in charge again at 36-26. Unicaja needed a timeout, after which Rowland scored and his team matched Panathinaikos basket for basket, although one falling-down scoop shot by Kaimakoglou was impossible to duplicate. Unicaja fell behind again 48-38, however, on a turnover that Diamantidis punished from long range. Unicaja mounted another charge, with Peric completing a three-point play and Valters hitting from deep to cut the difference further. Peric made the comeback nearly complete by tipping in a rebound on the buzzer to bring Unicaja as close as 52-49 at halftime.

Just as soon as Rowland made it a one-point game coming out of the lockers, the Greens reeled off an 11-0 barrage featuring three-pointers from Smith, Sato and Diamantidis to make it 63-51. The Greens were content to trade baskets now, and it took a pick-and-roll plus the extra free throw downed by Sinanovic to get the visitors within 67-56. Valters dropped the difference to single digits with free throws and Tremmell Darden's back-to-back blocks on Diamantidis and Mike Batiste gave Unicaja more hope, but Jasikevicius silenced it with a three-point play as the Greens cruised ahead again by double-digits, 75-64, after 30 minutes.

The Panathinaikos defense locked in to finish the game early in the fourth quarter by holding Unicaja to just a layup and a free throw by Zoric in the first 5 minutes. Meanwhile, Calathes, Kaimakoglou and Maric were boosting the difference to 88-67. By the time Diamaintidis and Kaimakoglou drilled three-pointers, the difference was up to 94-69, meaning that the Greens had outscored Unicaja 42-20 to that point in the second half. The crowd at OAKA, which had heard rumors of their team's tough preparation period and Unicaja's hot domestic start, could breath easy. The champs were back and looking good.

Thursday, October 20, 2011
Euroleague.net
Referees: ZIEMBLICKI, GRZEGORZ (POL), VYKLICKY, ROBERT (CZE), VOJINOVIC, RADOMIR (MNE)
Attendance: 7052
By Quarter1234
Panathinaikos Athens25272521
Unicaja Malaga16331216
End of Quarter1234
Panathinaikos Athens25527798
Unicaja Malaga16496177
Panathinaikos Athens
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
6 MARIC, ALEKS 20:16 10 4/5   2/4 2 2 4   2 2 1   3 3 12
8 BATISTE, MIKE 8:29   0/3     2 3 5     2   3 1 3 -1
9 LOGAN, DAVID 10:41 4 1/3 0/2 2/2                 1 1  
10 SATO, ROMAIN 26:39 16 4/6 2/3 2/2   6 6 2         3 2 20
12 TSARTSARIS, KOSTAS 8:01     0/2     2 2 1             1
13 DIAMANTIDIS, DIMITRIS 31:11 17 4/5 3/3     3 3 7 3 4   1 3 2 23
14 VOUGIOUKAS, IAN 10:46 3 1/2   1/2 1 1 2 1   2     3 2 1
15 CALATHES, NICK 32:53 12 4/8 1/3 1/3 1   1 4 2     2 1 2 10
16 KYRITSIS, ALEXANDROS 1:59                   1         -1
17 SMITH, STEVEN 17:51 13 1/3 2/2 5/5   3 3     2     3 4 13
18 KAIMAKOGLOU, KOSTAS 22:09 13 2/3 3/3   2 1 3 4 1       3 3 20
19 JASIKEVICIUS, SARUNAS 9:05 10 3/3 1/1 1/1   1 1 1         4 2 10
Team             1 1               1
Totals 200:00 98 24/41 12/19 14/19 8 23 31 20 8 13 1 6 25 24 109
        58.5% 63.2% 73.7%
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
Unicaja Malaga
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
5 RODRIGUEZ, BERNI 20:19 5   1/5 2/2   1 1 2   2     1 2 3
6 ROWLAND, EARL 24:20 10 5/12 0/1   1 1 2 1 1 2     4 2 2
9 VALTERS, KRISTAPS 19:14 13 2/3 2/6 3/4   1 1 2         3 4 11
10 PERIC, HRVOJE 20:12 13 3/3 0/1 7/7 2 3 5 1 1       3 5 21
12 DARDEN, TREMMELL 27:16 7 2/2 0/3 3/4 1 1 2 1   1 2   4 3 6
15 GARBAJOSA, JORGE 23:17 7 1/2 1/4 2/2   3 3 1         1 2 8
19 FREELAND, JOEL 20:06 5 2/6 0/1 1/2 1 3 4     3 1   4 3  
21 ZORIC, LUKA 11:21 4 1/3   2/5 4   4   1 1 1   2 3 5
22 SINANOVIC, NEDZAD 25:16 11 5/9   1/1 2 6 8   1 2 2 1 2 1 14
34 BLANCO, SAUL 8:39 2 1/1               1         1
Team           1   1     1          
Totals 200:00 77 22/41 4/21 21/27 12 19 31 8 4 13 6 1 24 25 71
        53.7% 19% 77.8%
Head coach: MATEO, CHUS

Head Coaches

OBRADOVIC, ZELJKO
Panathinaikos Athens
“It is nice to play the first game of the season at OAKA and I am surprised the way we played. Yesterday I stated that we were not ready to play a Euroleague game and this might be my hardest premiere ever. Tonight I can say that we played good basketball for many minutes, but this performance will not be enough in the future. The key point to improve our game is to recognize better the situations in offense and try harder in defense. But the most important thing is to stay healthy and have all the players available, in order to improve our practices and our game’s performance.”
MATEO, CHUS
Unicaja Malaga
"We proved ourselves not ready to play good defense and cut the shooting percentage of our opponents. They scored a lot of points with no defense and this is a serious problem we have to solve as soon as possible. When you are in the Euroleague and you play against the champions, you are not allowed to give free shots and easy points. We played good defense against the pick n’ roll, but we failed to stop their game from the perimeter."

Players

JASIKEVICIUS, SARUNAS
Panathinaikos Athens
“It was not an easy game, because always the premiere in a competition is a strange situation. For us it should be enough to win by one point, but finally we beat them by much more. It was only the second official game we have played so far, but we had concentration and we followed the game plan. For me it was also strange and also emotional, because I came back and I feel very happy for this. To be honest, I feel that I never left from here, because the system and the players are more less the same. Let’s keep working hard and improving our game on individual and team level. If this happens the results will come.”
KAIMAKOGLOU, KOSTAS
Panathinaikos Athens
“We faced a lot of problems with injured and ill players, so it is a kind of surprise the way we did it. We were anxious and this became an extra motivation for the whole team. The defensive problems we had in the second quarter allowed Unicaja to cut the margin to two points, but we found again our spirit and finally we had an easy victory.”
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