Top 16 Round 1 - February 15, 2007 CET: 19:00 Local time: 20:00 - O.A.K.A.

Records

Ave.   Ave.
0-0 Final Four 0-0
0-0 Playoffs 0-0
0-0 Top 16 0-0
1-0 Regular Season 1-0
11-3 Overall 8-6

Referees

Crew Chief
FACCHINI, FABIO, Italy
Referee
BELOSEVIC, ILIJA, Serbia
Umpire
RYZHYK, BORYS, Ukraine

Team Stats

Ave.   Ave.
80.6 Points 77.2
32.2 Rebounds 30.1
10.4 O. Rebounds 8.1
21.8 D. Rebounds 22.1
11.6 Assists 12.6
10.6 Steals 7.9
2.6 Blocks 3.3
15.1 Turnovers 11.8
56.3 % 2PT 54.3 %
36.9 % 3PT 37.8 %
68.9 % FT 70.3 %
87.6 Index 81.9

Player Stats

Ave.   Ave.
16.1 / Batiste Points 14.6 / Nicholas
5.1 / Tsartsaris Rebounds 6.0 / HAISLIP, MARCUS
3.4 / Batiste OR 1.6 / Gonlum
4.1 / Tsartsaris DR 4.6 / HAISLIP, MARCUS
3.7 / Diamantidis Assists 3.6 / Nicholas
2.6 / Diamantidis Steals 1.0 / PRKACIN, NIKOLA
0.9 / Diamantidis Blocks 1.9 / HAISLIP, MARCUS
2.6 / Diamantidis Turnovers 2.1 / Nicholas
70.7 % / Batiste 2PT 65.9 % / Gonlum
47.1 % / SISKAUSKAS, RAMUNAS 3PT 43.3 % / Nicholas
80.0 % / BECIROVIC, SANI FT 80.0 % / ERDEN, CUNEYT
14.4 / Diamantidis Index 16.5 / HAISLIP, MARCUS

THE TAKE

A big showdown between power teams who know each other well opens Top 16 Group F on Thursday as Panathinaikos hosts Efes Pilsen at OAKA Arena in Athens. Panathinaikos won regular season Group B with an 11-3 record despite finishing up with a three-game losing streak. Meanwhile, Efes Pilsen was fourth in Group A at 8-6, winning 5 of its last 7 Euroleague games. Panathinaikos is best two-point shooting team (56.3%) in the competition but one of the last ones in free-throw percentage (69.8%). The Greens are eager to welcome back Mike Batiste (16.1 ppg., 70.7% 2FG, 7.1 rpg.), who won the November MVP award but has missed most games since then with injury. Only Batiste and Tony Delk (10.1 ppg.) have double-digit scoring averages for Panathinaikos, but as many as eight other players put up 7 points a game or more, proof of the team's balanced offense. Meanwhile, Efes did not committ many turnovers (165) or fouls (275) throughout the regular season, showing it is among the best defensive teams in Europe. Antonio Granger is recovered from his injury, but needs some game rhythm after being sidelined for several months. He had 27 points on 7-of-8 three-pointers in Efes's last visit to OAKA to lead his team to a 73-76 road win. Panathinaikos had beaten Efes twice at home in the 2005 Quarterfinals playoffs, in arguably some of the most intense games seen in Euroleague Basketball history. Panathinaikos counts on a deep backcourt featuring Dimitris Diamantidis (9.1 ppg., 3.7 apg., 2.6 spg.), Delk, Sani Becirovic (9.1 ppg.) and Nikos Hatzivrettas (8.9 ppg., 45.8% 3FG). Diamantidis and Becirovic will have a tough task against Drew Nicholas (14.6 ppg., 43.3% 3FG) and Horace Jenkins (14.8 ppg.), while Hatzivrettas and Ramunas Siskauskas (8.8 ppg., 47.1% 3FG) will have to battle against Cenk Akyol (6.4 ppg.), LaRon Profit (3.1 ppg.) and even Granger, if he plays. The battle in the paint will depend on Batiste, as players like Dejan Tomasevic (7 ppg., 61.9% 2FG), Dimos Dikoudis (7.6 ppg., 70% 2FG), Kostas Tsartsaris (8.6 ppg., 5.1 rpg.) or Robertas Javtokas (2.4 ppg.) will have to step up if he's not 100 percent. Marcus Haislip (14.5 ppg., 6 rpg., 1.9 bpg.) leads a powerful Efes frontline in which Ermal Kuqo (10.6 ppg.), Nikola Prkacin (6.9 ppg.) or Kerem Gonlum (4.9 ppg.) bring power and experience together. Above all, Panathinaikos needs to speed up the tempo and take advantage of its deeper roster, but if Haislip and Nicholas find a rhythm, Efes can beat anyone, anywhere and get a tough road win to start the Top 16 in style.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Euroleague.net - Kostas Sotiriou, Athens - Gokhan Ture, Istanbul

Quotes Head Coaches

OBRADOVIC, ZELJKO
Panathinaikos
"It is our first game in the Euroleague Top 16 and as things become more serious, Panathinaikos has been prepared to fight one of the best teams so far and win this battle. I am sure that the OAKA Olympic Indoor Hall will be full like in the recent years when we faced Efes Pilsen, and definitely our fans can give us the necessary push to our first home victory. We know their philosophy and they know us, so I am expecting a very interesting game. We have analyzed our opponents; we checked their strengths and weaknesses, so let's play!"
MAHMUTI, OKTAY
Efes Pilsen
"The Panathinaikos game is the first of those six matches in the second round. Of course, it’s a very tough game. Panathinaikos is not only a very strong team, but also one of the legendary teams of the Euroleague, and has a tradition in this very big tournament. We will try to do everything we can with all our aim to beat them on their home court."

Players

DIAMANTIDIS, DIMITRIS
Panathinaikos
"On the opening night of the Top 16 we are facing Efes Pilsen, which is a very good and dangerous team with many quality players and many options. We are competing on our home court, and right now what is on our minds is nothing but the win. Of course, I remember that we lost to Efes Pilsen at home during the previous season, but last year is last year and we have to think only about the present and move on. There is nobody who says that we can win without performing well on defense and offense. We have a tough mission, but still we can beat them."
ERDEN, CUNEYT
Efes Pilsen
"This is the first and the biggest step for us to move forward in the second stage. I think it is better to have the toughest opponent of our group at the beginning. Because, if we can beat them on the road, the future will be more clear for us. On the other hand, even if we lose this game, we have the opportunity to erase it in the future games. If we look from their point of view, they need to have a good start at home, too. So our feeling to snatch a win there for a good start and their desire to start the second phase with an important home win will make this game twice as exciting. I can say honestly say that we will do everything to win the game."
Demos Dikoudis - Panathinaikos Panathinaikos, which is aiming to make the Final Four on its own court, thrilled the fans there on Thursday by starting the Top 16 with a commanding 84-57 victory over visiting Efes Pilsen in Group F. The Greens not only got a 1-0 start and defended their homecourt but have a 27-point difference that could help later in the round. Efes is not only 0-1, but has to worry about that margin, too. After falling behind in the first 4 minutes, Panathinaikos turned the scoreboard around with an 11-0 run and used its defense to rule the rest of the game. That defense was evident in advantages of 40-33 in rebounds and 6-1 in blocks. Dimos Dikoudis hit 3 of 3 three-point shots on his way to a team-high 20 points and 7 rebounds in just 19 minutes. Ramunas Siskauskas and Tony Delk added 12 each while Kostas Tsartsaris added 11 and 9 rebounds. For Efes, only Horace Jenkins scored in double digits, reaching 21 points despite missing all 6 of his shots in the first half. His 2-for-8 three-point total was symptomatic of his team, however, as Efes made only 5 of 21 from the arc.

Dejan Tomasevic converted a free throw to get the scoreboard started for the Greens, but Ermal Kuqo lifted Efes even higher out of the gate. He started with a post move for the visitors' first basket, then took an assists from Horace Jenkins and added free throws to give Efes an early 3-6 lead. After Panathinaikos had missed 4 of 5 shots from the field, Siskauskas found some space and connected from beyond the arc to give the hosts a 7-6 margin. With both teams flashing some of their trademark defense, scoring suddenly turned into an uphill battle. That lasted until Dimitris Diamantidis took over; the two-time Euroleague top defender scored on a jumper and then fed Tomasevic for a basket and a free throw to boost the lead to 12-6 with 3:16 left in the quarter. Efes continued its dry spell on offense, missing eight consecutive shots, and when Sani Becirovic drove to the basket for Panathinaikos, visiting coach Oktay Mahmuti urgently called a timeout. Finally, sharpshooter Antonio Granger came off the bench to break the ice with a corner triple to pull the guests within 14-9, however on the next possession his shot was rejected by Siskauskas, who went the other way and buried his second three-pointer to bring the crowd to its feet. Efes could not get closer than 19-12 by the end of the quarter.

Horace Jenkins - Efes PilsenThe second quarter got underway with Nikola Prkacin and Mike Batiste exchanging baskets. Cenk Akyol buried a triple for Efes, while Siskauskas kept Panathinaikos in charge with a layup. Batiste was having trouble against the stifling Efes defense, however Kostas Tsartsaris grabbed his third offensive rebound and managed to beat the buzzer, as the hosts held a 27-19 advantage after 14 minutes. The defenses were not allowing any easy points and midway the quarter, neither team could make shots, accounting for their combined 4-for-25 rate from downtown so far. After another Efes timeout, Panathinaikos was the one that came out in high gear and a triple by Dimos Dikoudis fueled a furious 13-0 run that allowed the Greens to build a commanding 40-22 advantage at halftime. The hosts' defense was too much for Efes so far, as Marcus Haislip was scoreless and Jenkins had missed all of his shots from the field..

With Diamantidis putting his defensive stamp and Dikoudis picking up the scoring, Panathinaikos forged ahead 45-24 early in the third quarter. Efes tried to respond as Nicholas scored a layup while Mustafa Abi stole and finished a fastbreak, but Dikoudis was on fire inside and beyond the arc and restored a 20-point advantage for the hosts after 25 minutes. Eventually Haislip rose up for a thunderous dunk, his first points of the night, pulling Efes within 50-33. However, Panathinaikos was still clearly in charge. Jenkins slashed to the basket, still the hosts capitalized on their domination of the boards and thanks to a three-point play by Tsartsaris extended their lead to 55-37. Efes was now running its offense through Jenkins, which proved a wise decision, yet defensively the guests had lost their composure. As a result, the third quarter ended with Panathinaikos being on the driver's seat, 59-44.

Dimitrios Diamantidis - PanathinaikosEfes Pilsen looked determined to claw its way back, as Kerem Gonlum got the offensive rebound and scored the basket and a free throw to start the fourth quarter. Delk loaded his three-point pistol, only to be copied by Granger and then Siskauskas gave Panathinaikos a 64-50 lead. The guests were obviously not willing to go down without a fight, however they were struggling offensively and consequently they could not dig out from the double-digit hole. But then Efes stopped paying attention to the Panathinaikos, too. Delk put on a shooting display, scoring 7 points to widen the gap to 77-54 with 3 minutes to play. Although Efes surely wanted to trim the point difference, Dikoudis and Diamantidis made sure that the highly ambitious Greens would only stretch the lead and the hosts cruised to an emphatic 84-57 triumph.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Danos Tsakalos, Athens
Referees: FACCHINI, FABIO (ITA), BELOSEVIC, ILIJA (SRB), RYZHYK, BORYS (UKR)
Attendance: 12000
By Quarter1234
Panathinaikos19211925
Efes Pilsen12102213
End of Quarter1234
Panathinaikos19405984
Efes Pilsen12224457
Head coach: OBRADOVIC, ZELJKO
Panathinaikos
# Player Min Pts 2FG
M-A
3FG
M-A
FT
M-A
Rebounds As St To Bl Fouls PIR
O D T Fv Ag Cm Rv
4 ALVERTIS, FRAGISKOS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
5 DELK, TONY 15:15 12 3/5 2/4   1 1 2   1       1   10
7 BECIROVIC, SANI 18:00 4 1/3 0/3 2/2   1 1 1 1 1     3 2  
8 BATISTE, MIKE 8:45 2 1/4   0/2 2 1 3         1 1 1 -1
9 SISKAUSKAS, RAMUNAS 32:00 12 3/5 2/4     2 2   1   1   1 2 13
10 HATZIVRETTAS, NIKOS 14:45 4 1/3 0/3 2/4   2 2 1   1 1   2 2  
11 DIKOUDIS, DIMOS 19:15 20 4/9 3/3 3/4 4 3 7           2 2 21
12 TSARTSARIS, KOSTAS 20:45 11 4/4 0/2 3/3 4 5 9 1 1 1     2 2 19
13 DIAMANTIDIS, DIMITRIS 26:00 4 2/4 0/2   1 3 4 7 3 1 1   3 1 12
15 TOMASEVIC, DEJAN 19:00 9 3/7   3/5 3 4 7       2   1 4 15
18 VUJANIC, MILOS 14:00 1   0/4 1/2   1 1 1           1 -1
19 JAVTOKAS, ROBERTAS 12:15 5 2/2   1/2 1 1 2       1   4 1 4
Team           1 1 2               2
Totals 200:00 84 24/46 7/25 15/24 17 25 42 11 7 4 6 1 20 18 94
52.2% 28% 62.5%
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
Head coach: MAHMUTI, OKTAY
Efes Pilsen
# Player Min Pts 2FG
M-A
3FG
M-A
FT
M-A
Rebounds As St To Bl Fouls PIR
O D T Fv Ag Cm Rv
4 NICHOLAS, DREW 26:00 4 2/4 0/2     1 1 2 1 1       1 4
6 AKIN, FIKRET CAN DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
8 PRKACIN, NIKOLA 12:45 3 1/4   1/2   1 1     1   1 2 2 -2
10 ABI, MUSTAFA 26:00 2 1/3 0/1     4 4   1       5   -1
11 ERDEN, CUNEYT 5:00 2 1/1     2 1 3     1     1 1 4
12 GONLUM, KEREM 17:45 4 1/4 0/1 2/3 3 6 9   1 1 1     4 13
13 HAISLIP, MARCUS 26:30 4 1/2 0/3 2/2   5 5 1   1     3 2 4
14 HERSEK, BARIS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
15 JENKINS, HORACE 35:00 21 4/8 2/8 7/7 1 2 3 2 1 5     1 8 19
21 GRANGER, ANTONIO 13:00 6 0/1 2/4             1   1     1
23 KUQO, ERMAL 23:00 8 2/6   4/4 1 4 5     4   3 4 2  
41 AKYOL, CENK 15:00 3 0/2 1/2     2 2     2   1 2   -3
Team           1   1               1
Totals 200:00 57 13/35 5/21 16/18 8 26 34 5 4 17 1 6 18 20 40
37.1% 23.8% 88.9%
This game is not yet played

Head Coaches

OBRADOVIC, ZELJKO
Panathinaikos
"I want to congratulate my players. For, tonight they played as a team. They played great because they were serious from the start of the game until the end. We did a very good job on the defensive end, which made our life easier on offense. In addition, we moved the ball very well, something that allowed us to find many open shots. I feel the urge to thank the fans for the great atmosphere and the way they supported us tonight."
MAHMUTI, OKTAY
Efes Pilsen
"Panathinaikos deserved to win tonight. There is no doubt about it. We were terrible on both ends. We allowed them to dominate the boards, whereas we committed 17 turnovers. Sometimes things like that do happen, yet I don’t like it. At all. We should find out what went wrong and why we have lost our rhythm in recent games and work hard so as to improve our performance. Regarding the point difference, I cannot say whether it is going to be crucial. However, it was a huge margin. I am disappointed."

Players

BATISTE, MIKE
Panathinaikos
"It's been a long time since the last time I played. It feels strange being out for so long, but I am happy that I am back. I am happy that I helped my team win tonight. I need some more time to get back to where I was, however I'm practicing every day against some of the best players and Mr. Obradovic is the best coach in Europe, so it won’t take me long to get back in shape. Hopefully, I'll stay healthy and play the same way I did before I got injured. As far as the game is concerned, we knew that Efes is a tough team. We had to play aggressively in both ends in order to win tonight and so we did."
NICHOLAS, DREW
Efes Pilsen
"It was a tough game tonight. Panathinaikos played very good and came in to the game well prepared. Obviously we have a lot of work to do before our next game, yet we are still confident that we can qualify to the next phase."
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