Monday, February 16, 2009

Petteri Koponen Watch: Plus/Minus edition

Blazers draftee Petteri Koponen has been toiling away in Italy all year. For you. H.T. checks in with the latest...

In Virtus Bologna's final game in Serie A before the Italy Cup Final Eight tournament, Scavolini Spar Pesaro didn't provide much challenge for the Bolognans. Virtus used determined team defence to smother Pesaro in the 2nd quarter of the game. Bologna was leading 50-30 at the halftime and even though Pesaro was able to make a run in the fourth quarter, Bologna's victory was never threatened again. Bologna won the game 95-88 and is currently in 3rd place in Serie A.

Sharrod Ford had a monster game for Bologna with 27 points and 12 rebounds. Earl Boykins had 15 points, 6 assists and 4 steals. For Pesaro, Michael Hicks had 23 and 9 and Ramel Curry had 19 points.

Petteri Koponen once again started the game and played total of 20 minutes, sitting most of the second half. Petteri's +/- ratio was once again the highest of the team, with +10. Petteri scored three points (field goals 1-4), grabbed two rebounds, dished out two assists and stole the ball once. Even though Petteri struggled on offence, his work on defence was stabile once again; Pesaro's starting point guard Maximiliano Stanic ended up with 0 points (fg 0-3).

Next up, we will have a two week break from Serie A competition and FIBA EuroChallenge Cup. Virtus Bologna and seven other elite teams in Serie A will prepare for the Italian Cup Final Eight at FuturShow Station of Bologna. While this midseason showcase gives a perspective of the marching order of best basketball clubs in Italy, it also gives teams a chance to boost their stocks for next season's Euroleague, FIBA EuroCup and FIBA EuroChallenge Cup draw.

The quarterfinal match-up for Virtus Bologna is extremely interesting, with Lottomatica Roma - Euroleague team and current no. 2 team in Italian Serie A standings - coming to town. The teams have met once this season, with Virtus pulling away with 80-86 victory in Rome November 30th. The first round of Brandon Jennings-Petteri Koponen match-up was pretty lame, with Jennings ending up with DNP-CD and Petteri scoring 4 points in 11 minutes, but both guys are more familiar with their team's systems right now and should get decent minutes. The winner of Lottomatica-Virtus-game will play in the Italian Cup Semifinal against the winner of BancaTercas Teramo-Air Avellino quarterfinal game.

Yeah, Koponen vs. Jennings! Are you pumped? I am!!

-The Haphazard H.T.

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