Following its first Euroleague home loss in almost two years, Climamio Bologna reestablished its turf by leaving the competition for this season with a 66-61 victory over Real Madrid on Thursday that drastically affected the Group E standings by dropping the visitors out of first place. Climamio finished 2-4 and in third place. Madrid fell to 4-2 and second, meaning that it will face Group D champ and archrival Winterthur FC Barcelona in the best-of-three Quarterfinal Playoffs starting next Tuesday. Stefano Mancinelli's back-to-back triples broke open a back-and-forth defensive game late in the fourth quarter. Mancinelli paced Climamio with 12 points, while Yakhouba Diawara and Erazem Lorbek came off the bench to score 11 each. Madrid, playing without star guard Louis Bullock, got 11 points each from Felipe Reyes and Igor Rakocevic.
Tomas Ress got Climamio going with a triple after which Marco Belinelli fed Dalibor Bagaric for a 5-0 start. Alex Scales sank a three-pointer to revive Madrid after more than 3 minutes without points, but Bagaric and Ress soon scored back-to-back easy baskets to make it 9-2 midway through the quarter. Off a Madrid timeout, Scales and Rakocevic built a 0-7 run that put the visitors in front, 9-11, and forced Climamio to have its own talk. Madrid wasn't done, either, as Venson Hamilton scored from the middle and stole off Bagaric, leading to a corner triple by Mous Sonko that boosted the advantage to 9-16. Climamio reacted with buckets by big men Bagaric and Lorbek, while Belinelli found his first three-pointer to tie 16-16 after 10 minutes.
Going against his countryman, Diawara of Climamio, to start the second quarter Mickael Gelabale sparked Madrid with a jumper and a baseline dunk to give the visitors a six-point edge at 16-22. Then came Diawara’s turn, as he hit Madrid's zone defense with a triple. Travis Watson followed whith a put-back and it was 21-22. Josh Fisher added to the Madrid advantage with a drive, but Climamio came closer with a long-distance jumper by Lorbek. Scales scored his third triple making it 24-28 and had a chance to enlarge the lead further, but missed a fastbreak dunk. Climamio took the momentum as Diawara dunked in the lane and Watson ran the court to tie 28-28 on his own slam. Axel Hervelle, however, hit Climamio’ s zone defense with a three-pointer down the stretch and Madrid hit the locker room up 30-33 after 20 minutes.
Hervelle scored another jumper and Reyes closed a three-point play on fastbreak to put Madrid up 31-38 early in the third quarter. But Madrid missed on three consecutive possessions as Bagaric added a jumper for Climamio. After Diawara and Sonko exchanged triples, Nate Green added his own shot from downtown and fed Lorbek to help Climamio get even closer, at 41-44. Defenses got stronger now as Climamio risked a couple of shot-clock violations and, on the other end, forced Reyes to travel. Lorbek, however, took over in the final minute as he tied the game twice, first scoring an open three-pointer and then landing a buzzer-beater hook shot to fix a 46-46 score after 30 minutes.
Fisher slammed to open the final quarter for Madrid, but Mancinelli replied with a go-ahead triple to make it 49-48. Green went inside to widen the gap as Climamio found a 53-48 edge when Watson added free throws. Hamilton and Rakocevic revived Madrid with free throws too, while Reyes followed them to the line to pulle the guests within 56-55. Anything was possible then, but Climamio found fuel from its captain as Mancinelli scored back-to-back triples to lift the hosts in front 62-57. Reyes of Madrid kept fighting for every ball, and soon Rakocevic’s free throws cut the gap to 5 points, 63-58. That is when Green iced the game with a jumper and a late foul shot to make Climamio start a new home winning streak even as it left the competition, while leaving Madrid to contemplate the loss of homecourt advantage for its playoff series with archrival Barcelona.
Thursday, March 30, 2006