Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Petteri Koponen Watch: Designer Jeans edition

Finnish consultant H.T. continues to improve the common good of Blazer fans by providing us with another update on Petteri Koponen's Italian journey with Virtus Bologna...

After a couple of underachieving performances, Virtus Bologna got right back on track defeating Armani Jeans Milano 70-60 (36-23) in Serie A regular season play. Determined Bologna defence absolutely smothered Milano and it could be said that the game was already over after the first half.

When you look at Petteri Koponen's stat line in the Milano game – 14 minutes, 2 points, 2 assists – you might not be impressed, but Italian newspapers picked Koponen as the best player of his team in the game. Koponen was all over Milano's leading scorer David Hawkins, who shot dreadful 5-14 from the field and was terribly out of rhythm in the first half. Coach Matteo Bonicinolli kept Koponen on the bench for the whole second half while Bologna cruised to victory.

Sharrod Ford had 16 points, 12 rebounds and 4 steals for Bologna and Earl Boykins finished with 16 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 5 steals. Milano's best player was Lithuanian Mindaugas Katelynas with 14 points and 8 rebounds. Virtus Bologna is currently fourth in Serie A with a 10-7 record.

This Tuesday, Bologna played yet another FIBA EuroChallenge Cup game, this time against German Bundesleague leading EWE Baskets Oldenburg. Bologna dominated the game early on but couldn't pull away because of poor rebounding – Oldenburg stayed in the game mostly because of second chance shots. In the final two minutes, Oldenburg grabbed five offensive rebounds and finally won the game 81-82 with Je'Kel Foster's last second three pointer. Bologna also shot terribly from the free throw line, netting only 13 of their 22 attempts.

Petteri Koponen played 29 minutes and finished with 7 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists. Petteri's wrist was rusty this time, he only drained one out of his five three point shots. Keith Langford had 20 and 5 for Bologna, Sharrod Ford finished with 18, 7 and 5 blocks and Earl Boykins scored 13 and dished out 8 assists. Oldenburg was lead by Jasmin Perkovic (19/8), Je'Kel Foster (18/4 assists), Rickey Paulding (16/5) and Ruben Boumtje Boumtje (13/12, field goals 6/6).

Virtus Bologna plays its next Serie A game on the road against the bottom team of the league, Snaidero Udine. Udine has recently acquired former Boston Celtic Joseph Forte into their roster. Udine also has two other former NBA players in the roster, ex-Houston Rocket Oscar Torres and NBA journeyman Jermaine ”Motown” Jackson.

In FIBA EuroChallenge Cup, Virtus Bologna will fly to Ukraine to play against the yet unbeaten BC Kyiv next Wednesday. Kyiv's key players include Clay Tucker, Scoonie Penn and Manuchar Markoishvili.

-The Lovable H.T.

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