In a defensive battle between venerable old European foes, Real Madrid used its homecourt advantage to defeat PAOK of Greece 69-45 to join the victory column in Group D. Madrid's record is now 1-1 in the group, while PAOK is now one of five winless teams in the competition, at 0-2. Rebounding and tough defense marked the differences in this game, as Madrid won with a single scorer in double figures, Charles Smith with 13 points. Jerome Allen of PAOK led all scorers with 14 points, while Blagota Sekulic added 10 for the visitors. But that ws it for fireworks. Madrid's 41-26 advantage on the boards was telling, as was interior defense that allowed PAOK only 12-for-31 shooting, or 38.7 percent. Madrid point guard Raul Lopez led his team with 8 rebounds, but three other players had 6: Axel Hervelle, Felipe Reyes and Venson Hamilton, who added 3 blocks. Real also won the battle of the Tomas brothers, as Marko of Madrid scored 6 to younger brother Ivan of PAOK's 2.
Drago Pasalic opened the scoring for the visitors with a basket and a free throw, but Alex Mumbru's shot from downtown made it 3-3. Sekulic answered with 4 straight points in the paint, but then Real picked up the pace to produce 6 quick points that made it 10-9 with three minutes to go in the period. Smith and Sekulic exchanged baskets to even things out at 13-13 at the end of the first quarter. Louis Bullock made a layup and Kerem Tunceri scored from the three-point line as PAOK went scoreless for three minutes, which forced the visitors to call timeout. Nobody could find their way to the basket as the game went scoreless for nearly three minutes, until the Tomas brothers appeared to score a layup for each team, making it 20-15 with less than four minutes to go before halftime. PAOK was lost on offense, as Real Madrid charged ahead with its offensive rebounding to cap a 6-0 run that set things at 26-15. After another timeout, PAOK seemed to regain some strength and Vlado Scepanovic got his first points of the night with a catch-and-shoot three pointer and then Allen stole a ball in the last second of the first half and scored two free throws to make it a 6-point game at halftime (26-20).
Mumbru shined at the beginning of the second half, displaying his shooting skills from downtown. Smith joined in the party, scoring an uncontested layup to give the locals a 10-point difference. A huge block by Venson Hamilton on Allen symbolized how bad a night PAOK was having on offense, with only 22 points after 25 minutes. The visitors went scoreless for another three minutes, while Smith opened fire from downtown to make it 37-22. Allen tried to get PAOK going with two consecutive three-pointers and a driving layup, helping close the gap to 42-32. Bullock and Scepanovic exchanged long jumpers at the beginning of the last quarter and Lazaros Agadakos scored 4 consecutive points to make it 48-41. However, Real Madrid answered quickly with a 5-0 spurt to set the result at 53-41 with six minutes to go. Then a flagrant foul called on Ioannis Kalampokis gave Madrid the chance to build a safe 14-point lead, that was contested by a never-giving-up Allen, who tried to ignite his teammates with some energetic actions on both sides, getting a steal and scoring a layup on a fastbreak to make it 57-43 with less than four minutes to go. However, Felipe Reyes buried an easy basket as Real Madrid showed a good all-around ballhandling on the offensive side. Another block by Hamilton assured the victory with less than three minutes to go. Things did not move much in the last two minutes, as it was clear that the victory was going to stay in Madrid. In the end, Axel Hervelle gave the crowd the chance to cheer, with a final strike of 5consecutive points to make it a 25-point game at the end – the largest lead of the night.
Tuesday, November 7, 2006