Panathinaikos cruises past EA7 Milan at home
Panathinaikos Athens solidified second place in Group B of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague with a 90-63 wire-to-wire victory at home over EA7 Emporio Armani Milan. Esteban Batista led the way for the Greens with 15 points in pushing the team to a 3-1 record. A.J. Slaughter and Nikos Pappas both added 11 points and Dimitris Diamantidis chipped in six points, seven rebounds, eight assists and two steals. Milan dropped to 1-3 in the group despite Samardo Samuels scoring 18 points, Joe Ragland hitting for 13 and Marshon Brooks adding 11 points. Daniel Hackett scored eight of his nine points in the fourth quarter while Alessandro Gentile went scoreless – the duo having combined for 24.0 points per game coming into the contest.
First quarter: Red shot start by Panathinaikos sparked by Giankovits, Diamantidis
Panathinaikos coach Dusko Ivanovic sent out the same starting five as last week in Diamantidis, Slaughter, Vlantimir Giankovits, Antonis Fotsis and Batista. Milan boss made one change with Linas Kleiza starting instead of Nicolo Melli alongside Ragland, Hackett, Gentile and Samuels. Giankovits started the game with a three-pointer and was matched by Ragland from the left corner. Diamantidis and Fotsis followed with three-balls and Slaughter nailed a long two before Batista put back his own miss to make it 13-5 early. Samuels moved down the baseline for a dunk and his second basket. Panathinaikos continued its superb start with Giankovits feeding Fotsis for a dunk and then dropping another three-pointer, missing the extra free throw which could have completed the four-point play, but giving the hosts their first double digit lead 18-7. Hackett temporarily stopped the bleeding with a free throw after a technical foul for flopping by Diamantidis. The Panathinaikos veteran came back and made two foul shots himself and then fed Julian Wright with a long pass for a layup and a 22-8 advantage. Samuels tried to keep Milan in the game with a putback basket and Ragland knocked down a three-pointer from the right wing to get the guests within 23-13 after one quarter.
Second quarter: Batista scores 11 points in final six minutes of quarter
The second quarter started the same way – with a Panathinaikos three-pointer, this time by Janis Blums to push the margin to 26-13. Ragland got Milan on the board and Brooks’ two foul shots trimmed the gap to single digits at 26-17. After a Wright putback, Shawn James split two free throws and then Ragland hit a three-ball just about from Italy, getting the guests to within 28-21 and forcing coach Ivanovic to call a time-out. After the hosts could not convert on its first possession, David Moss drained a trey from the right corner as Milan was as close as 28-24. Milan went the next two minutes without a point and the gap was back out to 35-24 as Batista sandwiched two baskets around another Blums trey. Brooks’ offensive rebound and putback snapped the scoring drought but Batista dunked after a fine give-and-go with Diamantidis and then somehow got an acrobatic shot to fall and completed the three-point play for a 40-26. Batista’s next basket made it 42-28 before Samuels and James Gist swapped dunks at the end of the first half, which ended with Panathinaikos ahead 44-30.
Third quarter: Slaughter, Pappas, Wright help hosts pull away
Milan gave up the ball to start the second half with Giankovits getting the steal and going up for a breakaway dunk. Slaughter added two free throws and Fotsis hit a nice layup for a 50-30 lead and a Milan timeout. Slaughter’s floater increased the cushion to 52-30 before Brooks finally got the guests on the board with a free throw after more than two minutes of action. Samuels followed with a basket but Slaughter answered with a three-ball and Diamantidis and Batista combined for three free throws and a 58-33 advantage. Milan did manage the next five points but Pappas came on for four straight free throws, Wright scored five points, Gist threw down an impressive rebound dunk and Pappas ended the third quarter with a driving layup for a 71-43 cushion.
Fourth quarter: Greens reserves don’t let up
Ragland started the fourth quarter and Hackett made two free throws to bring the guests within 71-47. Blums knocked down a jumper and Gist hit a hook to re-establish the 28-point lead. Loukas Mavrokefalidis came on for his season debut for the Greens and even knocked down a jumper to make it 77-49. With the game well decided, Hackett did his best to limit the damage with a breakaway layup, three-pointer and one free throw to bring it to 77-55. Slaugther however threw down a dunk and Mavrokefalidis converted a three-point and Milan would not get closer than 22 points the rest of the way on a Brooks three-pointer for 82-60.
Friday, November 7, 2014