Tau Ceramica score of 77-61 over visiting Dynamo Moscow
Tau Ceramica showed why it is considered a Group A favorite by winning its first game of the season by score of 77-61 over visiting Dynamo Moscow on Wednesday in Vitoria, Spain. Tau bounced back from an opening-night loss to improve to 1-1 in Group A, the same record that Dynamo now has. Igor Rakocevic scored 23 points to lead the winners. The game was a back-and-forth affair for much of the first three quarters, as Tau pulled away and Dynamo stormed back, until Rakocevic and Zoran Planinic teamed up for a 9-2 run late in the third period. That gave the hosts a 60-49 lead that they did not allow to be threatened again. Fred House added 14 points and 4 steals for Tau, while Luis Scola came off the bench for 12 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists. Planinic finished with 12 points and 8 assists. Antonis Fotsis led Dynamo with 17 points and Bojan Popovic added 10. Dynamo swingman Travis Hansen, who spent the last two seasons with Tau, scored 8 points.
Hansen quickly forgot the two seasons he spent in Vitoria as he opened fire for the guests with a left-handed layup to put Dynamo on the board. Despite the quick score, both teams had a slow start. Midway through the period, the hosts had two straight steals that led to fast-break points from Mirza Teletovic and Scola as Tau took an 8-4 lead lead. Scola, who started on the bench but came on to replace foul-plagued Kaya Peker, continued to have an impact inside. Dynamo struggled to find the basket, with the only points coming from the free-throw line. Back-to-back baskets by House and a fastbreak layup by Rakocevic saw the hosts' lead grow to 19-10. Dynamo coach Dusan Ivkovic called timeout, but the break didn't have much of an impact on the game. A strange and lucky basket scored by Tau's Serkan Erdogan into wrong hoop ended the quarter with Tau ahead 22-15.
Lazaros Papadopoulos and Eddie Gill reduced the gap as the second quarter started, while Juri Vasilyev tied the game from the three-point line on the next play. TAU needed only a few seconds to recover the lead on a Scola layup, but Dyanamo was back. Two missed free throws by Peker opened a three-minute scoreless period, mostly due to poor shot selection. Sergey Monya ended the drought from the free-throw line, tying the score at 26-26. Dynamo switched to zone defense as Fotsis hit twice – including one from downtown – to cap a 4-16 run and give the visitors a 5-point edge. Tau coach Velimir Perasovic called timeout and Tau responded through three-pointers from Rakocevic and Diego Fajardo, to put Tau back on top, 30-29. The teams exchanged baskets from that point, until Hansen's acrobatic layup closed the scoring with Tau up 39-37 at halftime.
The beginning of the third quarter was a one-man show for each side. Rakocevic made a jumper and a triple from the corner, while Popovic earned a basket-plus-free throw and followed it with a pull-up jumper to make it 44-42. The game turned into a more physical battle at that point, which got the crowd going as well. A shot from the arc by Pablo Prigioni gave Tau three-point lead, but the scoring stalled again for a few minutes. The hosts came through with a pair of fastbreak baskets for a 51-42 lead midway through the third period. Fotsis came to Dynamo's rescue from the free-throw line, as the visitors switched again to a zone defense in an attempt to slow Tau down, like it did before intermission. The move worked, as the hosts went scoreless for 3 minutes, allowing Dynamo to rally to within 51-47. But Rakocevic and Planinic awoke at that point and took Tau on a 9-2 run, that extended the lead to 60-49 at the end of the third period.
The defenses took the upper hand at the beginning of the fourth quarter, which saw only Peker make a basket in the first 3 minutes. Although Dynamo tried to put Tau in trouble again by switching defenses, its main problem was shooting. As a result, the hosts remained comfortably ahead at 64-51 midway through the period. Dynamo seemed ready to surge after a Fotsis three-pointer followed by a Popovic jumper closed the gap to 66-56. However, that run ended quickly, as House and Planinic scored on a dunk and a three-pointer, respectively, to raise the difference to 14 points. A Teletovic bomb in the last minute sealed the win for the hosts.
Sunday, October 1, 2006