| Panathinaikos improved to 4-1 and kept tying for first place in Group D at the halftime mark of the 2009-10 regular season by rallying to down EWE Baskets Oldenburg 96-63 in Athens, Greece on Wednesday. Panathinaikos stayed undefeated at home and welcomes AJ Milano next week. Meanwhile, Oldenburg dropped to 1-4 by registering its fourth consecutive loss. The German League champions have a critical showdown against Asseco Prokom next week, in what already is a pivotal game in the fight to reach the Top 16 in Group D. Mike Batiste led the winners with 25 points on 9-of-11 two-pointers in his first Euroleague game this season. Vassilis Spanoulis added 14, Stratos Perperoglou got 12 while Nikola Pekovic had 10 for Panathinaikos. Bryan Bailey and Josh Carter had 12 points apiece for Oldenburg while Jasmin Perkovic had 10. A three-pointer by Milenko Tepic gave Panathinaikos a 19-13 lead late in the first quarter. Oldenburg kept trying to speed up the game tempo, as Carter and Bailey fueled an 0-11 run that gave the guests a 27-34 lead. Panathinaikos struggled at both ends and a buzzer-beating triple by Carter fixed the halftime score at halftime. Batiste and Pekovic led the hosts' comeback, based on outstanding defense. The Greens were all over the place in defense, getting a 66-56 margin after 30 minutes and boosting its to 75-59 to seal the outcome long before the final buzzer.
Panathinaikos head coach Zeljko Obradovic opted to use center Kostas Tsartsaris in the starting lineup to open the court against Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje. Batiste got the Greens going with a two-handed dunk, as Oldenburg tried to use short possessions to shock the defending champions. Dimitris Diamantidis sank a turnaround jumper and Batiste added a reverse layup for a 7-1 Panathinaikos lead. Rickey Paulding scored in transition while Marko Skecic followed a second-chnace layup with a dunk-and-foul that tied the game at 8-8. Pekovic sank free throws but Bailey answered from downtown to give EWE a 10-11 edge. Pekovic scored inside and Spanoulis followed free throws with a fast break layup for a 16-11 score. Paulding shined with a quick basket that Tepic bettered with a corner triple. Both teams traded baskets at full speed now but Oldenburg made the most out of it. Carter found space for a close jumper while a fadeaway shot by Je'Kel Foster kept the guests within 23-19. Free throws by Carter fixed the score at 23-21 after 10 minutes.
Scekic and Spanoulis traded baskets early in the second quarter but a fast break layup by Nick Calathes got the crowd involved at 27-23. Milan Majstorovic took over with a put-back layup, as the Greens struggled to adjust their defense. Bailey downed a wide open three-pointer that put the guests back ahead, 27-28. Panathinaikos tried to change the game rhythm with Batiste, Diamantidis and Drew Nicholas back on court. Skecic shined with a put-back layup that Paulding followed with free throws to make all Panathinaikos start to wonder at 27-32. A wild coast-to-coast layup by Bailey capped a 0-11 Oldenburg run and forced coach Obradovic to call his second timeout in as many minutes. Batiste ignited the Greens' comeback with a dunk and a turnaround jumper but Carter sank a triple to keep his team way ahead, 31-37. Diamantidis hit free throws and Perperoglou added a fast break layup to get the Greens within 35-37. Bailey shined with an acrobatic layup and Carter beat the buzzer with an open three-pointer, good for a 36-42 Oldenburg lead at halftime.
Bailey shined with a driving layup immediately after the break that Antonis Fotsis erased with a mid-range jumper. Pekovic scored down low, as Panathinaikos was its usual self in defense now, diving for loose balls and full of intensity. Fotsis beat the guests' zone defense with a power basket and Oldenburg kept struggling to find open shots in transition. Pekovic hit free throws but a three-pointer by Majstorovic put Oldenburg back ahead, 44-47. Fotsis dunked itt coming off the baseline and free throws by Diamantidis and Spanoulis completed the hosts' comeback, 51-47. Paulding beat the shot clock with a wild seven-meter bomb but Panathinaikos did not panic, using its patient, extra pass offense to dominate the game. Pekovic shined with a power layup and Spanoulis followed foul shots with a power layup to give the Greens a 57-50 margin. Nicholas capped a 8-0 run with a jumper, as Perkovic tried to change things for Oldenburg. Batiste and Perperoglou allowed Panathinaikos to get a double-digit lead, 66-56, after 30 minutes.
Oldenburg needed a quick comeback to return to the game in the fourth quarter but Panathinaikos kept excelling in defense. Batiste scored in transition, as the guests only managed to find off-balance shots now. Perkovic took over with a jump hook that Batiste bettered with an outstanding three-point play, good for a 71-58 Panathinaikos lead. Oldenburg called a much-needed timeout but the Greens kept following their game plan, with strong defense and a very patient, well-organized offense. Perperoglou shined with a layup off a steal and an easy basket by Batiste sealed the outcome, 75-59, with under 6 minutes left. Panathinaikos stayed focused, however, trying to please its fans with spectacular plays. Nicholas sank an open triple and added a fast break dunk to seal the win in style, 86-60, as Panathinaikos overcame a slow start to get yet another impressing home win.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009