Right: Here it is, then. The Euroleague Final Four begins tonight and BallinEurope.com will be live blogging the action of Montepaschi Siena-Panathinaikos and Maccabi Tel Aviv-Real Madrid. Click below the break to follow the stream of consciousness…
Pregame: Panathinaikos’ fans are already in “full throat” as they’d say in the ‘States, while Siena’s quarter of the stands is remarkably sedate … nerves?
Pregame: Well, the Siena fans in the bleachers are enthused now…
Pregame: What gets Siena fans going? Introducing the Panathinaikos lineup!
Pregame: Interesting starting lineup for Panathinaikos includes Nick Calathes and Ian Vougioukas…
Q1, 9.53: Already a personal foul; David Moss. And Siena chases it with a fast break for the first points.
Q1, 9.05: Wow, four turnovers already…two by Diamantidis, natch.
Q1, 8.10: Nice jam by Antonis Fotsis!
Q1, 7.05: Sato left wide open for three, hits.
Q1, 5.56: Mike Batiste finally in. MPS is up 9-7 but it feels like 16-7.
Q1, 4.54: At the first timeout. It looks like Siena is happy to play halfcourt defense and give up the outside shot. The only three from PAO thus far is Romain Sato’s, which has led to a couple bricks by him after getting it outside again.
Q1, 3.50: Wow, this is the most involved Sato’s been for months. Nice drive gets him two more. MPS up, 13-10.
Q1, 3.20: Good stat — Siena and Panathinaikos have combined for seven turnovers in the first 22 possessions.
Q1, 1.58: PAO is not playing great, but they won’t go away. 15-13.
Q1, 0.58: MPS works for the jumper, PAO get the foul shots. Repeat.
Q1, 0.00: Zisis at the buzzer to end the quarter; talk about your x-factors…at the end of one, it’s 22-17, Siena.
Q2, 15.00: Siena has the edge in rebounds at 10-4. Crazy.
Q2, 9.31: Diamantidis picks up his second personal foul … where is he this game…?
Q2, 7.27: Nice three by Drew Nicholas. Nice to see him, too. MPS up, 26-20 after a technical foul.
Q2, 6.35: It’s a love affair between the referees and their whistles…particularly when it comes to ticky-tack stuff on big men.
Q2, 5.30: Time out. MPS 27, PAO 22, despite a serious cold run by the Italian side. The stats said they were shooting 39% at about 8.00 … wonder what they’re at now…? BiE’s thinking 33% or so.
Q2, 5.30: And an admirable display of apathy to those T-shirt gun people.
Q2, 3.57: Vougioukas makes a nice three-point play; really necessary. 30-27, MPS.
Q2, 3.21: And another possible three-point play by Calathes. Aaaaand time out called by Siena.
Q2, 2.05: Fotsis with the three and suddenly all sorts of scoring … this is the game BiE thought we’d see.
Q2, 0.53: Batiste The Beast! He reenters the game, puts up four quick points, draws a foul, PAO up 38-34.
Q2, 0.34: Akindele Jeleel with the slam; the Nigerian’s been quite the force in this game…PAO up 39-36.
Q2, 0.00: McCalebb works hard to create a final shot, but misses. At half, it’s Panathinaikos 40, Montepaschi Siena 36.
Half: Stats…Siena just 13 of 35 overall shooting…Calathes and Fotsis with 8, Lavrinovic with 7.
Q3, 9.32: MPS is still winning the battle of the boards somehow.
Q3, 8.55: A three from PAO. 42-36.
Q3, 7.32: Moss for two. Can Siena wake up now, please?
Q3, 7.22: Siena still letting PAO have the outside shots…back to the first quarter strategy…
Q3, 5.31: Interesting watching coach Obradovic on the sidelines; one second, he’s cool before a sloppy turnover turns him apoplectic again.
Q3, 4.41: Over five minutes in and just four points scored — despite the fewer whistles and Siena-favoring pace.
Q3, 3.27: Siena playing desperate, settling for bad shots. What’s going on? Now just seven points scored in the quarter.
Q3, 3.07: Batiste contributes after the timeout. PAO 47, Siena 38.
Q3, 1.39: Fotsis for three…may have been the dagger. It’s 52-40 to Panathinaikos.
Q3, 0.37: Siena finally manages a three, but is it too little too late? 54-45, PAO.
Q3, 0.00: Bodies flying everywhere in the last minute of the half … Siena looks hapless. After three, it’s 56-47 to the Greek side.
Q4, 9.42: Uh oh, the whistles are back. Three calls in 18 seconds.
Q4, 9.03: Siena playing aggressive, taking it to the rim like they need to. Nice run closes the gap to 58-52.
Q4, 7.46: The new stat sheet says Stonerook has 10 rebounds — twice as much as anyone else.
Q4, 7.19: BiE thinks EL should combine the halftime activities and shoot the Efes Pilsen cheerleaders into the crowd with those T-shirt guns…
Q4, 6.06: Siena misses three shots from the baseline area and now the game has a feeling of inevitability … 64-55 to the Greens.
Q4, 4.13: Kaukenas hits the fallaway three, draws the foul. Quite a swing, but too little too late? 68-61 to the Greeks.
Q4, 1.52: Timeout. BiE is eerily dead on with the Fearless Prediction of Panathinaikos by seven…
Q4, 1.32: Panathinaikos attempts to kill clock, but fouls.
Q4, 0.53: Batiste is alive in the fourth! Baseline shot brings the PAO lead back to seven.
Q4, 0.37: Last opportunity for Siena? Yep. Foul.
Q4, 0.00: Aaaaaand there’s your first finalist for the EL championship. Panathinaikos 77, Montepaschi Siena 69.