Dynamo Moscow outlasted Benetton Treviso 68-65 in a thrilling overtime encounter where two Euroleage records were set at the Krylatskoe Sports Complex in the Russian capital Wednesday to grab a spot in the Quarterfinal Playoffs. Dynamo finished tied with Unicaja for the Group G lead with a 4-2 record, but placed second due to a tiebreaker. Coach Dusan Ivkovic's side will now face Panathinaikos in the best-of-three quarterfinals starting April 3 in Athens. Meanwhile Benetton dropped to 3-3 and placed third in the group. The loss marks the second year in a row that the Italian champs missed out on the playoffs by losing their Top 16 finale. Dynamo has its two big men to thank for the historic win. Antonis Fotsis set a Euroleague record with 24 rebounds to go along with 22 points, while Lazaros Papadopoulos piled up 24 points, 11 rebounds and 11 fouls drawn. Fotsis bettered the previous rebounding mark of 23, set by Mirsad Turckan with CSKA Moscow against Buducnost in January 2002. He also became just the third player to have at least 20 points and 20 rebounds in a Euroleague game, joining Turckan and Spencer Nelson, who suited up with the opposition on this night. Dynamo also outrebounded Benetton 56-27 including 19 on the offensive side setting a new mark for team rebounds in a game. Climamio Bologna held the previous best with 55 boards in an 84-97 win at Estudiantes in November 2004. Fotsis didn't just score a lot of points, he scored the big ones. The Greek forward scored 10 in a row during a 13-0 run to start the second half to rescue his side after Benetton led 23-35 at halftime. Fotsis also came up big down the stretch, tying the game at 58-58 with 24 seconds to go in regulation and later giving his team a 3-point lead early in overtime. Ultimatley it was Eddie Gill who made the biggest play of the night, knocking a pass away from Angelo Gigli in the paint in the final seconds of overtime to preserve a 1-point lead, which sent Dynamo to the Quarterfinal Playoffs in just its first season in the Euroleague. Marco Mordente led David Blatt's side with 13, Gigli added 12 and Nikos Zisis 11.
Dynamo won the opening tip and Taquan Dean banked in a runner for the game's first points. A sloppy start ensued as Marcus Goree missed a chippie and Terrell Lyday a slam on the one end, while Bojan Popovic and Dean missed triples and Fotsis an alley-oop at the other. Lyday cut through traffic for Benetton's first points after 3 minutes. The visitors used their speed to cut off balls to Papadopoulos, but were unable to capitalize on the other end. Fotsis made a pair of free throws and later corrected a Papadopoulos miss to put the hosts up 6-2 before Preston Shumpert halved the deficit from the line midway through the period. Gigli came off the bench and exploited a miss-match with Dean to tie it at 8-8, but Papadopoulos's slam kept Moscow on top. Zisis gave Treviso its first lead with a triple from the corner and Mordente's layup-plus-foul increased it to 10-14. Shumpert upped the lead to 5 with a turn-around jumper, but a Papadopoulos hook shot ended the first period with Benetton leading 13-16.
Mordente cut for another basket to start the second period. Papadopoulos remained a force for Dynamo, but Nelson scored inside to keep the visitors in control. Dean hit a short baseline jumper, but Shumpert shined with a three-point play to make it 17-23. Gill kept Dynamo close, but after an offensive foul on Papadopoulos, Gigli worked the offensive glass to put Benetton up 7. Zisis made it 19-28 from the line as the visitors threatened to pull away. Papadopoulos's jump hook over Goree gave him 11 of his team's 21 points, but Gigli's hustle resulted in another second-chance basket. Aside from Papadopoulos who used his left hand to score once more the rest of the Dynamo attack looked rusty as it continued to miss makable shots. On the other end, a Mordente triple gave Benetton its biggest lead yet at halftime, 23-35.
Dean penetrated to get Dynamo rolling in the second half and Fotsis followed with the hosts' first three-pointer of the night to bring his team some momentum. Lyday then missed two from the line, but Benetton's defense kept it in the game. However Dynamo continued to chip away without a Benetton answer. A red-hot Fotsis scored off an inbounds pass, drilled a long-jumper and then scored a tip-in on the offensive glass. Mordente had words for the referee, resulting in a technical foul, which Fotsis converted into another point that tied the score at 35-35. Yuri Vasilyev capped a 13-0 run with a free throw that gave Dynamo its first lead since the opening period. Benetton finally found its feet after 6+ scoreless minutes as Zisis and Lyday netted threes on consecutive possessions to put the visitors back on top 38-41. Papadopoulos returned after a lengthy rest and converted a pair of free throws to bring his team within 1. After Lyday made a free throw, Papadopoulos attacked the offensive glass for another basket to tie the score at 43-43 with 10 minutes remaining.
Sergey Monya put Dynamo ahead thanks to a goaltending call, but Popovic fouled Shumpert on the rebound and he tied it from the line. Gigli made a brilliant cut for a layup-plus-foul, and even though Papadopoulos continued to own the paint, he failed to score on back-to-back trips downcourt. Meanwhile Nelsen made two free throws for a 5-point Benetton lead. Fotsis quickly struck back with a triple and Popovic made one from the line as Treviso's attack remained cold. Papadopoulos added a pair of free throws to put Dynamo back on top, but Mordente tied it once more with a free throw at 51-51. The nerves were clearly affecting both teams, but Popovic was still able to step up from the line. Gigli continued a superb night with a drive for a layup-plus-foul to restore Benetton's lead with 2-and-a-half minutes to go and after a missed Popovic three, Mordente drove to make it 53-56. Papadopoulos answered with a pair of free throws, but after Shumpert blew two free throws, Popovic came up empty. Goree came through with an enormous long-range jumper over Papadopoulos as the 24-second clock was set to expire, giving Benetton a 55-58 lead with a minute left. After a Dynamo timeout, Fotsis corrected a Papadopoulos miss to make it a one-point game. Then Goree missed a short jumper and Matteo Soragna fouled out going for the rebound. Fotsis tied the game at 58-58 with a free throw with 24 seconds left, but missed the second and Dynamo controlled the ball. Popovic held the ball and took a potentially game-winning jumper with seconds to go, but hit the back rim and Benetton grabbed the rebound to force an extra period.
Papadopoulos made a free throw for the first point of the extra session and Fotsis extended the Dynamo lead with a tip-in. After a pair of missed shots by Mordente, Papadopoulos drew a foul from Gigli, but missed both and Dean dropped the rebound out of bounds. Nelson finally got Benetton on the board, but Popovic came right back for Moscow. Nelson fed Zisis for a clutch three to tie the score at 63-63 with 1:15 remaining. Gill took a feed from Dimitri Domani and drilled perhaps his biggest shot of the season from downtown to put Dynamo up 3 with 25.5 seconds left. Papadopoulos sent Nelson to the line and the forward made 2 with 13 seconds on the clock. Shumpert and Bryant Smith cornered Gill on the inbounds pass and forced a 5-second violation giving Benetton the ball for a game-winer with 7 seconds left. However Gill went from zero to hero in just seconds as he knocked the pass away from Gigli. Papadopoulos grabbed the loose ball and then made two free throws to seal a great win and a spot in the Quarterfinal Playoffs.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007