Panathinaikos trumped CSKA Moscow 74-60
Panathinaikos knocked off its main rival in Group D by beating CSKA Moscow 74-60 at the Athens Olympic Indoor Hall (OAKA) in the Greek capital on Thursday night. The Greek champs improved to 2-0 before visiting Union Olimpija in Week 3. Drew Nicholas paced the Greens with 18 points and Romain Sato added 17. The game was close throughout the first half and into the third quarter, but Nicholas came alive with 5 points in an 11-1 run that put Panathinaikos ahead for good. CSKA made a run to get within 5 in the fourth quarter, but Panathinaikos was up to the challenge and scored on three straight possessions to put the game away. Dimitris Diamantidis added 10 points and 7 assists for the winners. Jamont Gordon paced the visitors with 20 points and veterans Matjaz Smodis and Trajan Langdon, who took part in the two Euroleague finals between these teams in 2007 and 2009, added 9 points each. CSKA, which dropped to 0-2, visits Power Electronics Valencia in its next game.
Mike Batiste got things going with a baseline jump shot over big Boban Marjanovic, but CSKA came right back through Gordon and Ramunas Siskauskas for a 2-7 lead. Drew Nicholas stepped up with a triple and then Stratos Perperoglou shined with an offensive rebound, basket and foul to tie the score at 8-8. Smodis found holes in the Greens’ defense for a pair of baskets. Diamantidis attacked at the other end and was rejected by Marjanovic the first time, but later converted a three-point play for a 13-12 lead. Langdon came through at the other end, however Diamantidis got to the hoop again, drew a foul from Dimitry Sokolov and made it 15-14 after 10 minutes.
Andrey Vorontsevich put CSKA back ahead at the start of the second quarter as the game grew more physical. Both teams amassed points from the line, but the score remained close. Nick Calathes attacked the CSKA defense for Panathinaikos’s first basket of the quarter to tie the score at 21-21 and then Romain Sato scored on the break to put the Greens ahead. The lead went from side to side with Ian Vougiouskas twice putting the hosts ahead and J.R. Holden and Langdon responding from downtown for CSKA. Romain Sato put PAO up once more before Gordon tied the score at 31-31 with a free throw and that’s how it remained at halftime.
Both teams came out for the second half charged and ready to go. Antonis Fotsis and Gordon swapped triples and after another Gordon basket, Batiste fed a cutting Diamantidis to keep things even. Gordon remained CSKA’s top weapon, but Nicholas’s triple gave the hosts a 45-44 edge midway through the quarter. After not playing in the first half, Aleks Maric made his presence felt in the paint with a hook shot. A short jumper by Nicholas and a triple from Perperoglou put the Greens up 53-45 and led CSKA coach Dusko Vujosevic to call timeout. Alexey Shved created space for a Marjanovic slam only to see Nicholas come back with a three and for a Kostas Kaimakoglou layup to end the quarter at 58-47.
CSKA showed it had one more run left in it as Smodis and Holden scored baskets early in the fourth quarter. Gordon followed with free throws and a bucket to bring the Russian champs within 60-55. However Panathinaikos regrouped and regained the upper hand, first with a Fotsis basket, then with sound defense and finally with a Maric layup and a Sato basket that put the Greens back up by double figures. CSKA had no answers at either end and a Nicholas triple with less than three minutes to play practically iced the victory. The outcome was sealed when Diamantidis stole a pass to Smodis, who was called for an unsportsmanlike foul when trying to stop Diamantidis from going on the break. A pair of free throws from the Panathinaikos point guard started the singing from the loyal fans at OAKA as the Greek champs celebrated a marquee victory.
Thursday, October 28, 2010