Real Madrid escapes tough Panathinaikos

2022-10-06T21:51:29+00:00 2022-10-06T23:50:18+00:00.

Antonis Stroggylakis

06/Oct/22 21:51

Real Madrid didn’t have the prettiest of games but the individual quality of some players pushed the team towards victory.

By Eurohoops Team/

The duo of Edy Tavares and Dzanan Musa helped Real Madrid defeat 71-68 a tough Panathinaikos team on the road in the opener of the 2022-23 EuroLeague.

Tavares finished with 14 points, four rebounds, and three blocks while pulling off big defensive plays, disrupting shots, and scaring away opponents who were attempting to enter the paint. In his first EuroLeague match as a Real Madrid player, Musa had 13 points, scoring six in a row down the stretch and after Panathinaikos went up 63 – 62 following an 8 – 0 run.

Musa gave Real a 65 – 68 lead with 1:57 to play and then Sergio Llull hit the dagger to put the Blancos ahead 65 – 71 with 46 seconds remaining and seal the victory for the visiting side. The Spanish powerhouse won a generally close game despite committing 19 turnovers against Panathinaikos’ physical defense and shooting an unusual 33.3 percent on 3-pointers.

“The key was consistency,” Tavares said. “We know it’s tough to win here. It’s super hard because they have people cheering for them the whole game. For us, it was a tough game but we did a good job at the end to win.”

Panathinaikos, which lacked playmaker Nate Wolters, had bigger to connect to the basket, finishing with 15-40 on 2-pointers and making 11 out of 21 free throws. Thanks to their defensive effort, Dejan Radonjic’s players held the lead multiple times in the match until the fourth quarter. When Real pulled away 55 – 62 halfway through the period, Paris Lee hit back-to-back triples to help the hosts turn it around but their opponents responded to have the last laugh.

“They have a great team and great fans and we respect that,” Musa said. “We knew before the game into what kind of environment we were coming. So we were prepared. We have a great group of guys and if you put great defense in the last 10 minutes and the big shot by Sergio [Llull], it’s all combined and we want to continue like this.”

Derrick Williams had 15 points for Panathinaikos, Lee scored 12, and Arturas Gudaitis posted 10 points. “Congrats to Real for the win,” Radonjic said. “It was a good opportunity for us to win this game. But in the end, they won. Defensively it was a good game. For us, our focus was good. Real is a very talented offensive team. They had 19 turnovers. But to win this game you need more. We missed 10 free throws, in this game that is too many.”

Gabriel Deck provided Real with nine points plus 13 rebounds and was one of the team’s standouts despite his six turnovers.

Another OAKA escape

Panathinaikos’ arena is far from a friendly place to play and Real Madrid coach Chus Mateo acknowledged how important was to leave this gym with a win.

“It was a very tough game in a not-easy environment,” Mateo said. “It’s difficult to win here. We tried to play our basketball but it was not easy because Panathinaikos played good defense and they didn’t allow us to play easy on offense. We were able to take some advantages at the beginning of the game and then at the end, but in the middle Panathinaikos came back and we had to fight until the end to beat them. We played good defense at the end of the game, especially with Tavares and the whole team rebounding. We were able to change some shots from our opponents with our defense, with Tavares especially. Now I am very happy because it’s the first win in the EuroLeague and the first victory on the road against a very good team.”