Panathinaikos edged CSKA 68-72
In a battle between two of the biggest Turkish Airlines Euroleague giants this decade, Panathinaikos took a solid step forwards to win Group D by downing CSKA 68-72 in Moscow, Russia on Wednesday night. Panathinaikos improved to 5-2 and is all but mathematically qualified to the Top 16. Meanwhile, CSKA dropped to 1-6 and is in a do-or-die situation. CSKA will most likely to win all of its three remaining games and wait for other results to seal a ticket to the next round. Dimitris Diamantidis led the winners with 17 points. Stratos Perperoglou added 12 for Panathinaikos. Dimitry Sokolov led CSKA with 17 points. Matjaz Smodis and Andrey Vorontsevich each added 11 while Ramunas Siskauskas got 10 for the hosts. Panathinaikos controlled the game in the first half and a three-pointer by Milenko Tepic gave the Greens a 28-37 lead. CSKA managed to get within 35-41 at halftime but Ian Vougioukas, Perperoglou and Romain Sato allowed the Greens to get a 51-60 edge after 30 minutes. CSKA managed to tie it at 60-60 but Perpergolou and Diamantidis struck from downtown in crunch time for a 64-71 score. CSKA managed to get within 68-71 already in the final minute but Diamantidis sealed the outcome from the foul line.
Antonis Fotsis got Panathinaikos going with an open three-pointer, as CSKA tried to run its offense through Smodis in the early going. He scored in penetration but Diamantidis took over with a fallaway jumper. Siskauskas sank a six-meter shot, as the game turned into a physical battle. Sokolov stepped up with a put- back layup but Sato matched it with a baseline jumper and Diamantidis added a three-pointer for a 6-10 Panathinaikos edge. Sokolov got the crowd involved with a dunk but Perperoglou bettered that with an open three-pointer. Mike Batiste scored down low but a three-point play by Sokolov kept CSKA within 11-15. Perperoglou scored off a steal and Batiste matched Vorontsevich's jump hook with a power basket, good for a 13-19 lead. Trajan Langdon struck from downtown and a layup by Vorontsevich got CSKA within 18-20. Diamantidis beat the buzzer with an unbelievable three-pointer to boost the Greens' lead to 18-23 after 10 minutes.
Vougioukas beat the hosts' 2-3 zone defense with a jump hook early in the second quarter. Smodis quickly answered from downtown, as CSKA had improved its defense, not allowing open shots now. Siskauskas sank a three-pointer, as Panathinaikos went scoreless for more than 2 minutes. An off-balance jumper by Sergey Bykov soon gave CSKA its first lead, 26-25. Nick Calathes silenced the crowd with a bomb from downtown but a baseline jumper by Langdon tied it at 28-28. Tepic scored in penetration and Kostas Tsartsaris added a five-meter jumper to give the Greens some fresh air at 28-32. CSKA tried a more dynamic lineup off a timeout, using Vorontsevich and Smodis under the baskets. Drew Nicholas sank a six-meter jumper and Tepic beat the shot clock buzzer with a triple for a 28-37 Panathinaikos lead, after a 0-9 run. Vorontsevich scored down low and Langdon added a fast break layup for a 32-37 score. A jumper by Nicholas and free throws by Batiste helped Panathinaikos to keep a 35-41 halftime lead.
Diamantidis nailed a three-pointer immediately after the break and a driving layup by Tepic gave Panathinaikos its first double-digit lead, 35-46. CSKA called timeout and Smodis tried to ignite his team's comeback with a layup. J.R. Holden added a three-pointer to bring CSKA back to life, 40-46. Siskauskas and Tepic exchanged six-meter jumpers and Diamantidis added an off-balance shot for a 42-50 lead. Batiste scored around the basket but a three-pointer by a red hot Siskauskas got the hosts within 45-52. Sokolov hit an off-balance layup, as CSKA played with more intensity at both ends now. Vorontsevich made free throws to get CSKA even closer, 49-52. Panathinaikos tried a taller lineup with Sato and Perperoglou at both wings. Vougioukas took over with a dunk in traffic and Perperoglou added a three-pointer to keep the Greens out of trouble, 49-58. Jamont Gordon fed Sokolov for a two-handed dunk but Sato nailed a jumper to fix the score at 51-60 after 30 minutes.
CSKA needed a quick comeback to return to the game and Sokolov tried to ignite it with a power layup. Panathinaikos struggled to score early in the fourth quarter and a triple by Holden gave CSKA some hope at 56-60. Bykov hit free throws, as Panathinaikos tried to power the offensive board. CSKA was all over the place in defense and free throws by Smodis capped a 9-0 run and tied it at 60-60 with under 7 minutes left. Calathes split free throws but a dunk by Sokolov completed the hosts' comeback, 62-61. Fotsis stepped up with 4-of-4 foul shots, as Panathinaikos improved its defense right when it mattered. CSKA could not find the way to the basket and Perperoglou sank a huge three-pointer for a 62-68 score with under 3 minutes to go. Smodis sank free throws that Diamantidis bettered with a big triple to seal the outcome, 64-71. Sokolov dunked it and Bykov added a six-meter shot to get CSKA within 68-71 with 58.7 seconds left. Fotsis and Smodis traded missed shots and CSKA chose to foul on Diamantidis, whose free throw sealed the outcome with 5.3 seconds left.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010