Montepaschi took out Real Madrid 83-76
Montepaschi moved into a tie for first place in Top 16 Group F by downing Real Madrid 83-76 in Siena, Italy on Thursday night. Montepaschi improved to 2-1 and shares first place with Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv. Meanwhile, Madrid dropped to 1-2 and ties for third place with Efes Pilsen. Terrell McIntyre paced the winners with 24 points on 6-of-9 three-pointers and 11 assists. Romain Sato added 14 points, Denis Marconato had 11 while Ben Eze got 10 for Montepaschi. Darjus Lavrinovic led Madrid with 24 points, but missed the chance to play against twin brother Ksistof, that was sidelined due to an injury. Rimas Kaukenas added 21 against his former team while Novica Velickovic had 13 for the guests. McIntyre led a 13-0 run that gave Montepaschi an early lead and a three-pointer by Henry Domercant struck from downtown for a 26-16 lead after 10 minutes. A big three-pointer by McIntyre allowed Montepaschi to make it a 14-point game, 32-18. Madrid rallied in the second half behind an outstanding Kaukenas, that got some help from Sergio Llull and Lavrinovic to bring Madrid within 58-57. Marconato and McIntyre fueled a 12-0 run that broke the game open, 80-66, as Madrid only rallied once the outcome was clear.
Madrid coach Ettore Messina surprised everyone by placing Ante Tomic in the starting lineup, trying to get Eze into foul trouble. Velickovic got the guests going with a seven-meter bomb but a driving layup by David Hawkins kept Montepaschi within 2-3. Sato and Tomic traded layups and a second-chance basket by Pablo Prigioni gave Madrid a 4-7 edge. Eze hit free throws and soon added a layup but Kaukenas downed a three-pointer to keep Madrid ahead at 8-12. McIntyre fed Eze for a two-handed dunk, as Montepaschi had fully adjusted its man-to-man defense off a timeout and started to find good options in the other end. McIntyre downed a big triple from the left wing and fed Tomas Ress for a high-flying alleyoop dunk to put the hosts back ahead, 15-12, making Madrid call a much-needed timeout. McIntyre struck again from downtown and Sato capped a 13-0 run with an off-balance turnaround jumper - and the free throw that came with it. Lavrinovic scored in the paint but Sato sank a fallaway shot. Velickovic stepped up with a layup in transition but Domercant beat the buzzer with a huge three-pointer that set the crowd on fire, 26-16, after 10 minutes.
Madrid tried to get more fire power with Louis Bullock and Llull on court early in the second quarter. Bullock shined with a driving layup but Montepaschi was its usual self in offense, with great ball circulation through an unstoppable McIntyre. He fed Domercant behind-the-back for a triple and downed his own shot from way downtown to boost his team's lead 32-18. Madrid called timeout to find answers in offense, as the guests could not get its big men involved. Montepaschi tried to slow down the game tempo with Marco Carrareto and Nikos Zisis together on court. Madrid could not find the way to the basket, as the hosts closed all passing lines. Kaukenas scored in penetration and Velickovic added a driving layup to bring the guests within 32-22. Shaun Stonerook buried a triple but a red hot Kaukenas followed 4-of-4 free throws with a three-pointer to get Madrid even closer, 36-29. McIntyre returned to the floor and immediately followed a stop-and-pop triple with foul shots to keep Montepaschi way ahead, 41-29. Velickovic followed an up-and-under layup with a triple but McIntyre and Marconato gave Siena a 45-34 margin. A free throw by Kaukenas fixed the halftime score at 45-35.
Lavrinovic scored in the low post immediately after the break, as the guests had improved their defense on McIntyre. Montepaschi went scoreless for more than 2 minutes and Lavrinovic sank a jump hook to make the hosts call timeout at 45-39. Stonerook stepped up with a backdoor layup and Domercant added a fast break basket to get the crowd involved at 49-39. Sato hit free throws that Lavrinovic erased with a layup. McIntyre stepped up with a big basket in penetration that Llull improved with a three-pointer for a 53-44 Madrid deficit. Tomic shined with a power layup and Marko Jaric sank a triple but McIntyre downed his fifth three-pointer to give Montepaschi a 56-49 edge. Marconato had a big block on Tomic but Kaukenas took over back-to-back driving layups to make the hosts call timeout at 56-53. Hawkins sank foul shots but Montepaschi struggled to score with McIntyre on the bench. Meanwhile, a red hot Kaukenas singlehandedly got Madrid within 58-57. Carrareto and Sato send the crowd to their feet with back-to-back three-pointers, good for a 64-59 Montepaschi lead after 30 minutes.
Montepaschi tried to slow down the game tempo early in the fourth quarter and Sato managed to stop Kaukenas right when it mattered. Lavrinovic scored again but Eze buried a five-meter shot for a 66-61 score. Lavrinovic kept pacing the guests with foul shots but Eze answered again with an uncontested dunk. Lavrinovic struck next with a layup-plus-foul to keep Madrid in the game, 68-66, with under 7 minutes left. Marconato stepped up with a layup and Sato added free throws for a 72-66 Montepaschi edge. Madrid could not find the way to the basket and an outstanding McIntyre struck from downtown and fed Marconato for a three-point play that broke the game open, 78-66, making Madrid call timeout. The guests needed a quick comeback to return to the game but Sato downed a turnaround jumper that sealed the outcome, 80-66, with less than 4 minutes left. Both minutes kept fighting for points differential now, a critical issue in such a balanced group. Lavrinovic kept trying but Montepaschi had already cruised to a well-deserved, important home win.
Thursday, February 11, 2010