Panathinaikos stuns Crvena Zvezda with crazy comeback

2023-03-10T21:54:05+00:00 2023-03-10T22:55:13+00:00.

Giannis Askounis

10/Mar/23 21:54

Avoiding official elimination from the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Playoffs, Panathinaikos rallies past Crvena Zvezda Meridianbet

By Eurohoops Team/

Struggling through the first half, Panathinaikos bounced back in style and defeated Crvena Zvezda Meridianbet, 75-66, at the bottom end of Turkish Airlines EuroLeague’s double-game week Friday night.

Leading the charge at OAKA Altion, captain Giorgos Papagiannis went for 17 points, seven rebounds, two assists, and one block in the Regular Season Round 28 contest. “We played very well,” he said in the flash interview, “They have three guards that really can handle the ball. We did the best we can. We had some really good execution in the offense. And we got a good win for us.”

Derrick Williams followed with 13 points. Fueling the game-changing third quarter with 3/3 triples, Matt Thomas finished with 11 points.

“We started really bad. We couldn’t make a shot,” mentioned Mateusz Ponitka after tallying eight points, five rebounds, and three assists, “When we played as a team, played smart, shared the ball and stayed together, good things were happening throughout the whole season.”

Snapping a six-game losing streak, Panathinaikos shaped a 9-19 record and also sidestepped official elimination from contention for a spot in the Playoffs. It was the first win since Christos Serelis took over the reins succeeding Dejan Radonjic.

“I told them we have to play defense,” the Greek tactician reviewed the halftime conversation with the players, “We are a team. We have to understand that the team wins, not individuals.”

Despite missing Dwayne Bacon, second in points per EuroLeague game this season, the improved offense was huge in the win. A 15-1 run cut the deficit to two points late in the third quarter. Riding even more success from beyond the arc and with effective defense, the Greens got the first lead with nine minutes left in the fourth period and did not look back. They tucked in 6/10 three-pointers in the second half, after being limited to 1/14 in the first 20 minutes.

Bacon was a healthy scratch as usual suspects Andrew Andrews and Nikos Pappas. Stuck on the injury list of the Athens outfit, Arturas Gudaitis (left Achilles) and Dimitris Agravanis (groin) were both out as well. On the opposite end, captain Branko Lazic is yet to be cleared to return to action for the 2023 Triglav osiguranje Radivoj Korac Cup winners with John Holland, Miroslav Raduljica, and Dalibor Ilic sidelined as well.

The team based in Belgrade drew a game-high advantage of 16 points early in the second half but faltered instead of knocking out the home side. Former Panathinaikos star Nemanja Nedovic scoring all of his 12 points in the first half recapped the contrast. Filip Petrusev shared the team-high of 12 points.

In a quick turnaround from the home win versus Anadolu Efes Wednesday, the team coached by former Panathinaikos play-caller Dusko Ivanovic dropped to 12-16. The tenth loss in 15 games on the road dampened hopes to enter the postseason field.

“It’s simple. We stopped playing basketball,” was the immediate reaction of the Montenegrin head coach. “I don’t understand. We stopped playing in defense and lost confidence in the offense. Panathinaikos played more aggressively than us in the last quarter,” he added in the postgame press conference.

On the road

After EuroLeague’s two-game week, Crvena Zvezda engages in the next Eternal derby opposite Partizan Mozzart Bet at Stark Arena and the attached opportunity to jump to 18-2 to overtake the Belgrade rival in AdmiralBet ABA League standings. From there to Catalonia and FC Barcelona in EuroLeague’s Round 29 next Friday.

A couple of away games are the theme for the Greens. They will visit PAOK mateco seeking a 15-2 tally in Greece’s Basket League Monday and move on to LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne’s Astroballe Thursday.

A familiar face for Panathinaikos

In future plans beyond next week, Sani Becirovic is set to become the new general manager of Panathinaikos and was in attendance, as reported by Eurohoops. He won EuroLeague as a player in 2007 and eight years later worked as an assistant coach under Sasha Djordjevic at Greece’s powerhouse.

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