Laboral Kutxa outlasts Panathinaikos in overtime
In a thrilling playoff clash that came down to the final seconds – twice! – Laboral Kutxa Vitoria Gasteiz edged Panathinaikos Athens 82-78 after overtime in Game 2 of their Turkish Airlines Euroleague Playoffs series at Fernando Buesa Arena on Friday night. Laboral now leads the best-of-five affair 2-0, but the action moves to the Greek capital next week for Game 3 – and, if necessary, Game 4. Labaoral was missing several key players – including ace defender Adam Hanga who was hurt in Game 1, and Coach Velimir Perasovic mostly stuck to a six-man rotation. Nevertheless, Laboral led by 2 at halftime and extended its advantage to 10 early in the fourth quarter. Panathinaikos fought back and tied it on a late three-pointer by Dimitris Diamantidis to eventually send the game to overtime. Ioannis Bourousis put Laboral in front, but it wasn’t decided until Miroslav Raduljica missed a shot in the paint with 10 seconds left and Darius Adams iced the game from the line for the hosts. Adams made 5 of 11 shots from behind the arc and finished with 24 points to lead the winners. Bertans made 4 of 7 threes to score 15, Bourousis added 14 points and 9 rebounds, Mike James totaled 13 and 9 and Kim Tillie added 10 points. Diamantidis led the Greens with 17 points and 6 assists, Elliot Williams scored 12, Ognjen Kuzmic 11 and Raduljica 10. James posted 10 rebounds and blocked 2 shots as Panathinaikos outrebounded Laboral 39-51.
First quarter: Kuzmic starts, ends Greens’ 0-9 run
The Greens displayed great passing early and Raduljica found a cutting Sasha Pavlovic for a slam. Adams picked up where he left off in Game 1 with a three-pointer, but Raduljica stepped up with a hook shot and free throws, with a Williams layup in between. Gist showed the Greens’ confidence with a rejection of Bourousis. The hosts tied it through as second Adams triple and Tillie free throws. Nick Calathes’s floater put Panathinaikos up 8-10, but Tillie finished a layup-plus-foul to tie it again. Tillie rose high to reject Williams, however the ball bounced to Marquez Haynes who scored for the visitors. After the TV timeout, Bertans drained a catch-and-shoot triple. Panathinaikos led again after Kuzmic’s three-point play off a pick-and-roll with Diamantidis. The point guard added a jumper and then Haynes fed Raduljica on the pick-and-roll to make it 13-19. Kuzmic capped a 0-9 run by putting back his own miss. James drained a triple to end the quarter at 16-21.
Second quarter: James’s big buckets give Laboral the lead
The difference was down to 3 after Tillie scored a minute into the quarter. Then Bertans came off a screen and buried a triple to tie it at 21-21. After Pavlovic split free throws, James’s dunk gave the host their first lead, 23-22. James Feldeine countered with a jumper and then drilled a triple as Panathinaikos regained control. Jaka Blazic’s wild jumper and foul kept Laboral close before Gist scored inside. After a jumper by Ilimane Diop, Tillie recorded another block and Adams tied things at 29-29 midway through the quarter. Haynes countered with a three-pointer, but James took a steal in for a slam. Williams scored with a put-back, but Bourousis netted a hook for his first points. Adams split free throws to even things, but it did not last long as Raduljica scored inside on the next play. However a Bourousis slam made it 36-36 and James’s jumper gave Laboral a 2-point edge at halftime.
Third quarter: After falling behind by 9, Greens trim the gap
Bertans hit his third three-pointer at the start of the second half. Diamantidis sliced into the Laboral defense for a layup before back-to-back threes by Adams and Bourousis gave the home team a comfortable 47-38 cushion. Diamantidis took charge with a pull-up three, but essentially gave it back by fouling Bertans on a long three-point attempt and the forward made the resulting 3 shots. Raduljica swished a jumper from the foul line to make it 50-43 midway through the quarter. Diamantidis went behind the back to set up Gist for a slam. The forward missed a chance to further trim the deficit when he missed 2 free throws. But free throws by Diamantidis made it a 3-point game. Adams and Diamantidis matched foul shots. Blazic also sank free throws, but Antonis Fotsis’s tip in brought Panathinaikos within 54-51 in the closing seconds of the quarter.
Fourth quarter: Diamantidis saves the Greens
Bertans knocked down his fourth three-pointer and Tillie grabbed an offensive rebound and fed James for a slam. The difference was double figure after Bourousis rejected Williams to ignite a fast break that James finished with a layup. Gist scored for the Greens, but a foul and then a technical for arguing by Pavlovic made the arena sing even louder. However Kuzmic’s hook and a Diamantidis three silenced the crowd at 62-58 with six minutes to go. Diop fouled out, but Tillie scored to keep Laboral in control. Raduljica was called for flopping and Bourousis made the resulting free throw. Kuzmic dunked in transition to make it 65-60 with three minutes to play, but an Adams three gave the hosts an 8-point advantage. Williams revived the Greens with a three, but Tillie made a wild layup to keep Laboral in charge. Williams kept Panathinaikos in the hunt with a drive to get within 70-65 with 80 seconds remaining. Kuzmic free throws got the visitors within 3 with 44 seconds on the clock, but Adams blew the lid off the arena with a pull-up three with 30 seconds left, but after a timeout, Haynes answered in suit and Panathinaikos forced an 8-second turnover to get the ball back with 13 seconds remaining. Diamantidis buried a triple off one leg with 8 seconds left to even the score at 73-73. James was stopped on his way to the hoop and the game went to an extra session.
Overtime: Bourousis, Adams lift the home team
Bourousis sank a hook to put Laboral back in front. He then drew Kuzmic’s fifth foul and split free throws. Calathes rescued the Greens with a reverse layup, but Bourousis tacked on 2 more free throws. After a bizarre Panathinaikos turnover – Diamantidis lost the ball when he collided into Williams, Adams dunked on the break for a 5-point advantage. Williams split free throws to make it 80-76 with just over a minute to go. The Greens’ defense rose to the occasion again and Williams fast break slam made it a 2-point game with 48 seconds on the clock. After stopping Bourousis, Raduljica missed from close range with 10 seconds left and Adams sank 2 free throws to ice the game with 5.1 seconds left.
Friday, April 15, 2016