Kendrick Nunn on fire, Panathinaikos clinches second seed

2024-04-11T22:08:16+00:00 2024-04-12T00:48:41+00:00.

Antonis Stroggylakis

11/Apr/24 22:08

ALBA Berlin put up a major fight on the road against Panathinaikos but Kendrick Nunn couldn’t be denied.

By Eurohoops team/

Kendrick Nunn scored a season-high 28 points, including the dagger in crunch time, as Panathinaikos Athens defeated a quite tough ALBA Berlin 84 – 75 to close the EuroLeague regular season in second place in the standings. This is the first time since 2018 that the Greens, who finished 17th last season, enter the playoffs with homecourt advantage.

“The most important thing for me is the record, Nunn said on Panathinaikos finishing the regular season at 23 -11. “If I’m scoring all the points and we lose, then it’s nothing. The most important thing is winning.

“We want to get refreshed and recollect with the guys and go to the playoffs with a strong mentality,” Nunn added. “I definitely got some more points in the back.”

Nunn, who had 11 of his points over the last seven minutes, drained a triple for the 81 – 72 with 43 seconds remaining, to push back ALBA for good. Despite several absences (Johannes Thiemann, Jonas Mattisseck, Matteo Spagnolo, Gabriele Procida), the bottom-placed visiting side held the lead multiple times during the game and was up 60 – 63, entering the fourth period.

Panathinaikos made a 13 – 0 run over the next four minutes to get ahead by double figures and never looked back. Kostas Sloukas contributed 16 plus seven assists and Marius Grigonis dropped 11 points.

Grant’s knee

“Very good feeling,” Panathinaikos coach Ergin Ataman said on the second-place finish. “I’m proud for these players because we have many new players. But they have a very good locker room and they have motivation and we made an excellent season. We played excellent basketball here in OAKA in many games and we made a club record on the road.”

However, there’s also a shadow in the win as Ataman admitted that Jerian Grant was hurt on his knee and will need medical exams for an accurate diagnosis.

Christ Koumadje (13 points, seven rebounds), Ziga Samar (12 points), and Sterling Brown (12 points) stood out from ALBA, that completed the regular season at 5 – 28 and the 18th spot.

“Congratulations to Panathinaikos,” ALBA coach Israel Gonzalez said. “I’m proud of my team. We couldn’t have the EuroLeague season we wanted and we couldn’t win the games we wanted to win. But we are a young team and have to move forward. I’m happy that the team stayed together the whole year even in defeats. We now have to continue with BBL.”