Lottomatica Roma started the Euroleague regular season with a resounding home win by thrashing Caja Laboral 77-65 in Group C in the Italian capital on Thursday. Roma now travels to Moscow to face CSKA in a direct fight for the top spot in Group C. Laboral hosts Maccabi Electra in Vitoria, Spain, next Thursday. Ibby Jaaber and Kennedy Hutson paced the winners each with 18 points. Andre Hutson added 14 for Roma. Mirza Teletovic and Tiago Splitter each had 17 points for Laboral, while Fernando San Emeterio pulled down 10 rebounds for the guests. It was a balanced game for 25 minutes, as a three-pointer by Pau Ribas brought Laboral within 45-40 midway through the third quarter. Roma improved its defense and Winston, Jaaber and a dominant Hutson fueled a 21-3 run that broke the game open, 66-43. Laboral kept fighting and managed to get within 68-61 with four minutes to go, but Winston and Jaaber allowed Roma to cruise to an important and well-deserved home win.
Jacopo Giachetti and Winston got Lottomatica going with back-to-back fast break layups, as Laboral had troubles organizing its offense in the opening two minutes. Teletovic rescued Laboral with a layup-plus-foul, but Winston scored again to keep Roma ahead. San Emeterio fed Splitter for a reverse layup and Teletovic and Carl English buried consecutive triples to give the guests their first lead, 6-11. Roma could not find the way to the basket for more than three minutes before Herve Toure downed a three-pointer from the corner. Winston and San Emeterio traded layups after a timeout and Teletovic scored in transition for an 11-15 score. Roma finally adjusted its man-to-man defense, not allowing easy baskets now. Meanwhile, Hutson fed Jaaber for an outstanding dunk to keep the hosts as close as 13-15. Winston sank a fallaway jumper and Jaaber dunked it again to put Lottomatica back ahead, 17-15, after 10 minutes.
Jaaber took over with a driving basket at the start of the second quarter. At the other end, Laboral tried to feed Splitter in the low post. English stepped up with a driving layup, but Hutson followed his trademark turnaround jumper with an easy basket for a 23-17 Lottomatica lead. Teletovic and Andrea Crosariol traded free throws before English nailed a corner three-pointer for a 25-21 score. Giachetti scored in transition and an outstanding driving basket by Toure made Laboral call timeout at 29-21, as the guests could not find the right rhythm in offense. Giachetti added another quick layup, but a jumper by Marcelo Huertas brought the guests within 31-24. Crosariol and Splitter traded free throws before Chris Lofton buried a triple for a 33-29 Laboral deficit. Hutson shined with a wild reverse layup after which Splitter scored again. Crosariol then beat the buzzer with an easy basket to fix the halftime score at 37-32.
Jaaber dunked off a steal immediately after the break and Hutson added a jump hook to make it a 9-point game. Laboral could not get Splitter involved due to Hutson's outstanding defense. Lofton downed his second triple, but another fallaway jumper by Hutson kept Roma out of trouble, 43-35. Splitter scored around the basket and Ribas buried a three-pointer to give Laboral some hope, 45-40. Hutson got the crowd involved with a power layup and a three-pointer by Angelo Gigli gave Roma its first double-digit lead. Crosariol shined with a jump hook after a Laboral timeout and a triple by Winston broke the game open, 55-40. Teletovic answered from downtown, but an uncontested dunk by Jaaber and another three-pointer by Winston set the crowd on fire, 60-43. Jaaber slammed it again and a layup by Gigli boosted the hosts' margin to 64-43 after three quarters.
Laboral needed a quick comeback to keep its chances alive, but Roma had started to use long possessions to run the game clock down. Laboral could not even shoot now and Jaaber thew down another monster dunk for a 66-43 Roma margin, capping a 21-3 run. Splitter tried to change things with a jump hook and the free throw that came with it. Huertas added a driving layup while Teletovic sank a triple that made the hosts call timeout at 66-51. Hutson scored again but San Emeterio answered from downtown to give Laboral some hope, 68-54. Splitter scored down low, Huertas added a fast break layup while San Emeterio sank another triple that capped a 2-18 run and brought Laboral back to life, 68-61, with 4 minutes remaining. A six-meter jumper by Winston and another fast break dunk by Jaaber sealed the outcome, 72-61. Laboral kept trying, but the Roma fans were already celebrating a big win.
Thursday, October 22, 2009