Panathinaikos locks up playoffs spot with win at Bamberg
Panathinaikos Athens advanced to the 2012-13 Turkish Airlines Euroleague playoffs from Top 16 Group E by thrashing Brose Baskets Bamberg 60-82 in Germany on Thursday. Panathinaikos improved to 9-4 in Group E, joining Real Madrid and Anadolu Efes Istanbul in a three-way tie for second place, one win behind from group leader CSKA Moscow. Panathinaikos hosts CSKA and Efes visits Madrid in the Top 16 finale next week, which will determine the final standings in the group. Bamberg dropped to 0-13 and will try to break its 19-game losing streak in this round against Zalgiris Kaunas next week. Jonas Maciulis paced the winners with 24 points on 6-of-7 three-point shooting. Stephane Lasme and James Gist each added 11 while Sofoklis Schortsanitis had 10 for Panathinaikos. Bostjan Nachbar led Bamberg with 14 points. Matt Walsh added 12 and Sharrod Ford had 11 for the hosts. Three-pointers by Marcus Banks, Dimitris Diamantidis and Mike Bramos allowed Panathinaikos to get a double-digit lead, 16-26, at the end of the first quarter. Schortsanitis shined early in the second quarter and an alley-oop slam by Gist broke the game open, 20-36, enough for the Greens to keep a 27-42 margin at halftime. Nothing changed after the break, as Panathinaikos boosted its margin to 34-53 midway through the third quarter. A wild buzzer-beating jumper by Roko Ukic kept Panathinaikos way ahead, 41-59, through three quarters and the Greens never looked back.
First quarter: 5 three-pointers boost visitors to double-digit lead
Bamberg coach Chris Fleming trusted the same starting five in Karsten Tadda, Ford, Casey Jacobsen, Anton Gavel and Maik Zirbes. Argiris Pedoulakis made two changes to lineup with Marcus Banks and Schortsanitis coming on for Diamantidis and Gaios Skordilis alongside Maciulis, Ukic and Gist. Schortsanitis opened the scoring for Panathinaikos with Jacobsen nailing a triple for Bamberg’s first score and lead 3-2. Gist answered with a trey of his own before a Schortsanitis dunk and Maciulis hit a jumper off the glass for a 5-9 advantage and a Bamberg time out. Ford’s jumper cut it to 7-9 but Banks nailed a three-ball from the right side and Gist threw down a dunk to make it 8-14. The lead grew to 10-17 after Diamantidis’s triple from the right corner with the shot clock winding down. Nachbar’s 2 foul shots and Matt Walsh’s running hook over Lasme had Bamberg to within 14-17 before Kostas Tsartsaris hit inside and Diamantidis drained a wide open three to increase the cushion to 14-22. Bramos nailed a long ball as well as Panathinaikos led 16-26 after one quarter.
Second quarter: Panathinaikos pushes further ahead
Nachbar started the second quarter with a three-ball but Bamberg could not stop the combination of Schortsanitis and Diamantidis, who combined for six points and before a Bramos layup completed the 0-8 run for a 19-34 Panathinaikos lead. Gist’s spectacular dunk made it 20-36 before a nice layup by Ford and a triple from the right corner from Jacobsen trimmed the deficit to 25-36. Panathinaikos hit right back with two Maciulis free throws and an alley oop dunk by Lasme to push the lead to 25-40. Ford drove in for a dunk as Bamberg’s one real weapon offensively. But Ukic blew right by him for a layup to send Panathinaikos into the break ahead 27-42.
Third quarter: Lasme keeps Bamberg at bay
Schortsanitis opened the scoring in the second half before two Gist foul shots and a tip-in dunk to make it 27-48. Ford finally hit for Bamberg with a triple from the right wing after nearly two minutes of action in the quarter. But Bramos responded with a three-ball of his own to increase the margin to 30-51. Bamberg finally found a rhythm offensively with Walsh hitting a jumper, Nachbar knocking down two and Tadda getting a back-door layup. But Bamberg could not stop Lasme, who scored three straight baskets for the Greens to keep them ahead 40-57. Ukic’s circus shot just before the buzzer gave Panathinaikos a 41-59 lead after three quarters.
Fourth quarter: Maciulis nails five triples in quarter to ice the game
Tadda opened the fourth quarter but Maciulis nailed back-to-back long balls from the left corner to push the lead to 20 points – 45-65. Maciulis went back-to-back again as the lead grew to 47-71 with five minutes left and a fifth long ball made it 47-74 before a spectacular alley-oop dunk by Lasme resulting in a Bamberg time out down 49-76. Panathinaikos came out of the time out with its reserves for the final four minutes, but Bamberg could not really cut into the deficit despite Walsh collecting 6 points and an assist and AJ Ogilvy added 3 points down the stretch.
Thursday, March 28, 2013