Panathinaikos holds on at home against Turow
Panathinaikos Athens opened its Turkish Airlines Euroleague season with a hard-fought 84-77 victory at home over debutant PGE Turow Zgorzelec in Group C. AJ Slaughter and Nikos Pappas both led the way for the six-time Euroleague champion Panathinaikos with 16 points while Vlantimir Giankovits scored 13 points, Janis Blums had 11 and Esteban Batista added 10 points and 7 rebounds. Dimitris Diamantidis played just 15 minutes with 2 points and 4 assists as he moved into a three-way tie for the most games played in Euroleague history with his 226th career appearance, evening him with Sergi Vidal and Sarunas Jasikevicius. Free throw shooting played a big role in the game as Panathinaikos made 19-of-21 (90 percent) compared to just 14-of-27 (51 percent) for the guests. Turow, which cut a 14-point deficit to 2 points in the fourth quarter, was paced by Mardy Collins with 23 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists while Damian Kulig had 17 points and both Michal Chylinski and Ivan Zigeranovic added 10.
Group effort lets Greens lead
Panathinaikos coach Dusko Ivanovic started Diamantidis, Slaughter, Giankovits, James Gist and Batista. PGE Turow coach Miodrag Rajkovic sent the starting group of Tony Taylor, Lukasz Wisniewski, Collins, Vlad Moldoveanu and Zigeranovic. Batista opened the scoring for the six-time Euroleague champions with a layup with Zigeranovic getting a hook down for the Polish team’s first-ever score in the competition. Zigeranovic also gave Turow its first lead at 2-4. Baskets by Collins and Zigeranovic kept the guests up 6-8 before Giankovits made two free throws and converted a three-point play to lead an 8-0 Panathinaikos run to pull ahead 14-8. Chylinski came off the Turow bench for a jumper to stop the surge and Kulig made it 14-12. Eleftherios Bochoridis got up to dunk in a missed jumper to push the lead to 16-12 before Zigeranovic dunked after some nice passing to cut it back to two points. But Gist threw down a put-back dunk after a Slaughter missed layup just before the buzzer as Panathinaikos was leading 18-14 after one quarter.
Blums boosts Panathinaikos
Julian Wright opened the second quarter with a put-back basket for Panathinaikos and then Nikos Pappas coming off the bench for two free throws and a driving layup to increase the home side’s advantage to 24-16. The Zgorzelec bench brought the team back into the game as Chylinski nailed a long jumper and a three-pointer and Damian Kulig drained a three-ball to finish a 2-10 run to knot the game at 26-26, forcing a Panathinaikos timeout. Gist and Janis Blums both two free throws and Collins cut it to 30-29. But Panathinaikos came up with a six-point possession – all of them by Blums, who was fouled and took and made a third free throw because of a technical foul on Collins. On the ensuing possession, Blums knocked down a three-pointer to open the biggest lead of the game at 36-29. Collins scored four straight points as Turow pulled back to within 36-34 but Giankovits hit for the hosts, who also saw Pappas go coast to coast for a layup and a 40-34 cushion. A Giankovits layup left Panathinaikos ahead 42-35 at halftime.
Collins keeps Turow close
Panathinaikos got off to a good start in the third quarter with Slaughter hitting a basket and a three-ball to increase the lead to 47-35. Chylinski finally got Turow on the board with a three-pointer of his own before Giankovits made it 52-38. Batista kept the guests at an arm’s length with three straight baskets as the Greeks led 60-46. But Collins and Kulig continued their strong play and cut the gap to 60-50, and the Greens’ coach Ivanovic had seen enough and called a timeout. A Zigeranovic free throw trimmed the gap to 60-51 before Slaughter nailed a big three to push the margin back to 12 points. The guests would not go away as Nemanja Jaramaz made three free throws and Collins hit a fast break layup but missed the and-one free throw to make it 63-56. Blums again gave Panathinaikos a big three-pointer to re-establish a 10-point lead only to see Collins drain a triple from the right wing to shave the deficit to 66-59. Slaughter however beat the third quarter buzzer with a jumper off the glass and in for a 68-59 lead after 30 minutes.
Greens fight off Turow rally to win
Taylor started the fourth quarter with a three with Antonis Fotsis answering right back with a three-ball. But Taylor drained another long ball to get Turow to within 71-65. Giankovits hit a driving layup but missed the extra free throw. The debutants would not go away as Kulig and Moldoveanu both scored and then Moldoveanu fed Kulig as Turow trailed just 73-71. Pappas responded with a big three-pointer and then Gist threw down a power alley-oop dunk off a pass from Diamantidis for a 78-72 Panathinaikos advantage. And two Diamantidis free throws made it 80-72. Just like the whole game, Turow did not give up as Collins put back his own miss and then nailed a three-pointer to cut the margin to 80-77 with 29 seconds left. But free throws continued to be a decisive factor as Pappas and Gist both made two free throws in the final 25 seconds and Collins missed his two foul attempts with 21 seconds left and the team down 82-77.
Friday, October 17, 2014