By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
CSKA Moscow put on an offensive clinic in the first half against Panathinaikos Athens to ultimately get a 98 – 74 blowout win on the road. This result improved CSKA to 11-7 while Panathinaikos, that hadn’t played a game in weeks due to COVID-19 problems, fell to 4-14 after losing its fourth straight game.
With Marius Grigonis (a season-high 19 points), Daniel Hackett (a season-best 17 points, six assists, five rebounds) and Tornike Shengelia (16 points) taking charge, CSKA made a 23-0 run through seven minutes and overpowered Panathinaikos 13 – 34 in the second period to get a 33 – 60 lead at the break. The Army Men fired 11-18 3-pointers in the first 20 minutes by creating many open shots and making the most out of these opportunities.
“We had five good practices, and I was shooting good in practice,” Grigonis said. “You get confidence from making shots in practice, so you do in the game. We were moving the ball really good, and our hedge defense, our step-out defense, was working. And our energy – we wanted it more.”
Panathinaikos was never competitive in the rest of the game and was unable to even become a bit threatening. CSKA went up by 30 with three minutes to play in the third period and retained a big advantage. Ioannis Papapetrou dropped 16 points and Kendrick Perry scored a season-high 15 points, 10 of them in the second half.
“The conditions of the previous days were difficult, but this is some kind of excuse,” Panathinaikos coach Dimitris Priftis said. “We must not stay on that. The second quarter was very bad for us, and that was a big problem. We have to continue and start to get back.”
“There were four or five minutes when we totally collapsed. CSKA was more ready,” Prifits also mentioned. “They were very good from the three-point shots, very effective, and they played with physicality which was difficult for us to follow. We have another game in two days so we need to collect our minds and focus on the next game.”
This was the only EuroLeague game taking place Wednesday (12/1) and just the fourth to be held among all Round 20 matches following a series of suspensions due to most clubs suffering from multiple coronavirus cases.
A “serious” display
CSKA Moscow coach Dimitris Itoudis pointed out how Panathinaikos was affected their coronavirus ordeal and how his team was superior on the floor.
“First I want to say congratulations to my players,” Itoudis said. “It was evident on the court that Panathinaikos suffered from the Coronavirus, probably getting out of their rhythm. But that’s the virus. You have certain comebacks and practice and games are different. But I think we were serious and we deserved it. After a sloppy start we had a much better adjustments, we hit good shots, we were determined and decisive. We were the better team but Panathinaikos lacked that continuity coming into the game.”
“I want to thank the fans for their applause and everything they recognise from the tremendous 13 years we had at this great club.”