Turkish Airlines Euroleague
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F4 MVP: Dimitris Diamantidis, Panathinaikos
The MVP was a birthday boy, too. After a Euroleague Basketball title game that set records for offense, the MVP went to a defensive genius who was also celebrating his 27th birthday in style. Panathinaikos point guard Dimitris Diamantidis was selected by accredited media as Final Four MVP after leading his team to the title with 15 points and outstanding defense in Sunday's final. Diamantidis was outstanding on both ends of the court as Panathinaikos downed previous champion CSKA 93-91 in a thriller that anyone who saw it will remember a long time. The three-time Best Defender Trophy winner was the glue that held together a complete team effort by the Greens. Diamantidis missed only one shot all night while doing his usual job all over the court. He picked up 3 rebounds, dishes 3 assists and grabbed 2 steals. Diamantidis was 2 for 2 on two-point shots, 2 for 2 from downtown and 5 for 6 at the foul line.
Diamantidis had a key role in a wild third quarter that Panathinaikos started with a solid 46-36 lead. CSKA came all the way back to take its one and only lead of the game at 50-51 at the end of 24 minutes. From there to the end of the quarter, Diamantidis lifted the Greens back into control. He reclaimed the lead at 52-51 for Panathinaikos with free throws, hit another pair later, then dished to Dejan Tomasevic for a layup. That connection was even more special considering that Tomasevic, too, was celebrating his birthday. Next, on the defensive end, Diamantidis stole the ball of CSKA's J.R. Holden, then he went the other way and drilled his second three-pointer. The Panathinaikos lead was up to 60-54 by then, the crowd was back in it, and Panathinaikos continued holding on until it had the title.
"This is the most important trophy I have won at a club level, the first Euroleague title for me. We played very good basketball, we enjoyed ourselves and gave joy to our fans. When you play in such a pace, it is natural to lose concentration at times, but in general everything went as planned by our coach. I don’t think I owed a big game. Whoever steps on the floor does it to win. As far as the MVP title is concerned, it belongs to the whole team. Panathinaikos has proved that it belongs at the top of European basketball, and we want to stay there through hard work."
Monday, May 07, 2007
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