Greens hold off Barcelona in Athens
In a clash of two long-time EuroLeague rivals, Panathinaikos OPAP Athens protected its home court by holding off FC Barcelona Lassa 76-70 on Wednesday night. Both teams now hold 5-3 records after a game in which Panathinaikos never trailed after the first quarter, but did not secure the victory until the final minute. DeShaun Thomas paced the winners with 14 points and Stephane Lasme added 11 points and 6 rebounds for Panathinaikos, while Nick Calathes dished 12 assists. Kyle Kuric netted 17 points for Barcelona, with Kevin Seraphin adding 15 and Thomas Heurtel 12 points in defeat.
Lasme hit a pair of jumpers, while Ante Tomic was in the role of facilitator for the visitors in the early going. However, baskets were few and far between. Pierre Oriola’s fastbreak layup tied it at 8-8 with two minutes to go in the first quarter. A three-pointer from Lukas Lekavicius helped the hosts take a 13-10 lead after 10 minutes, before Thomas and Thanasis Antetokounmpo hit from downtown early in the second to open a 21-10 advantage. Seraphin scored 9 points to cut the deficit to just 4, but jumpers, one from Lojeski and one at the halftime buzzer from Keith Langford, gave the hosts a 34-25 cushion at the break. Ioannis Papapetrou hit a three-pointer that made it 39-27 before Kuric got hot and knocked down 3 triples, fueling a 0-10 run that tied the game with 4:20 to go in the third. However, Thomas answered with a three-point play that sparked a 9-0 run and put Panathinaikos back in control. Victor Claver's basket-plus-foul helped Barcelona trim the deficit to 53-50. Langford beat the buzzer with a jumper again, before Konstantinos Mitoglou scored 7 points in the opening three minutes of the fourth quarter. James Gist added 5 points, including a three-pointer, as the hosts opened a 67-54 lead. Barcelona did not go away, however, as Claver and Heurtel started melting the deficit. Kuric's runner made it 72-66 with 80 seconds to go. Barcelona made a defensive stand, but Calathes made a great defensive play of his own as Heurtel was racing on a fast break and Panathinaikos prevailed.
Dish it like Calathes
In a game that defenses dominated, it is not a surprise that Panathinaikos had just 16 assists, but Nick Calathes dished 12 of those and had the same number of assists as the entire Barcelona squad.
Barcelona used 3 triples from Kyle Kuric in the third quarter to erase a 39-27 deficit and tie the game at 42-42. But Panathinaikos was already up by 7 just 80 seconds later and went on a 9-0 run during which DeShaun Thomas had a three-point play and Nick Calathes made a steal and raced for an easy fastbreak layup. Panathinaikos never relinquished the lead again.
Dominating the glass
Panathinaikos outrebounded the visitors 42-30 and 16-6 on the offensive glass. Of those 16 offensive boards, Panathinaikos pulled down 10 in the final quarter, which helped a great deal in preserving its lead.
When the stars align
Barcelona center Chris Singleton spent the last two seasons with Panathinaikos. So this was a homecoming for him, and it happened on his 29th birthday. A special night was spoiled with a Barcelona loss; he missed all of his 8 field goal attempts and finished with 4 points and 2 rebounds.
Both teams will be in action again on Friday. Panathinaikos will travel to face KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz, while Barcelona will host AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan.
Wednesday, November 21, 2018