For a while, the denizens of Palamalaguti arena in Bologna had to be looking down on the court and wondering which team sponsored by Kinder was which. But Emanuel Ginobili stepped up and answered with a third quarter that few players can match and Kinder Bologna ended up defeating London Towers 94-72 on Thursday in Group B. Ginobili forced a halftime tie with a three-pointer at the buzzer, then scored 15 of his 31 points in the third quarter to send Kinder on its way. As such, going into a two-week Euroleague break, the defending champs remain the only undefeated team out of 32 who started the season six weeks ago. What's more, the week's results puts Kinder two victories ahead of its nearest competitors, Union Olimpija and Opel Skyliners, tied for second. London is still winless at 0-6, but 20 minutes on Thursday, logic was almost turned on its head. With no Rashard Griffith on the court, London took over the Palamalaguti paint and led throughout the first half. John White and Terrell Myers led London with 16 points each and Brett Eppeheimer added 14. Marko Jaric added 18 points and 6 steals for the winners.
Ginobili and Jaric gave Bologna the first important lead of the game, 6-2 but then London made a 7-0 run by taking advantage of off-balance shots by Kinder and long rebounds that led to fastbreaks. Kinder's up-and-down game gave Bologna the chance to come back. It was still 12-11 for Kinder before John White's triple put London back ahead. London liked it so much it didn't stop until it had a seven-point lead with 16 seconds to go in the quarter, thanks to two inside baskets by Hickey. Alessandro Abbio was fouled on a three pointer with 3 seconds left and made all his free throws, cutting the deficit to 16-20 after 10 minutes.
London outrebounded Kinder the whole first half, and easy points on the break still came for the visitors. Kinder shot only 24% in the first quarter, and to increase tha percentage, Bologna began to post up the little London guards. White sunk another triple, however, to push London's lead back up to seven, 28-21. Kinder came back thanks to a three-point play by Andersen and a great block by Ginobili that launched Jaric on the break. Four points in a row by Ginobili gave Kinder back the leadat 32-31, but it was suddenly stolen again by London thanks to the first triple by Brett Eppeheimer. Yet another three by Silas Cheung seemed give London a totally unexpected 41-38 going into the lockerroom, but before the buzzer could sound, Ginobili stroked his own three from the corner to tie the game in the final second, 41-41. It was Kinder's first successful three-pointer, while London had made 6 of 17. The visitors also were out-rebounding Kinder 18-26.
Kinder made the key run of the game in the third quarter by putting great intensity into its defense and cracking open London's defense by posting up Sani Becirovic and Jaric, who passes expertly out of double teams. That meant that was open for Ginobili 3 three-pointers en route to 15 points in the quarter, which would end with Kinder ahead by 20. Turnovers, London's biggest problem all season, hurt them most as the Kinder's lead going into the final quarter was 75-55. The fourth quarter was useful only to determine the final result of the game, as Kinder controlled the gap up to the end.
Thursday, November 15, 2001