Panathinaikos survive battle at Buducnost for first road win
Panathinaikos OPAP Athens grabbed its first road victory of the season by surviving a battle with Buducnost VOLI Podgorica 67-72 in the Montenegrin capital. DeShaun Thomas led the way for Panathinaikos with 14 points on 4 three-pointers while Ioannis Papapetrou scored 13 points and Nick Calathes picked up 10 points and 9 assists. The win improved the Greens’ record to 3-2. Buducnost is still looking for its first victory at 0-5 despite an inspired effort by Alen Omic with season highs of 16 points and 10 rebounds while Nikola Ivanovic chipped in 12 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals.
Thanasis Antetokounmpo opened the game strong for the guests with 5 points, including two dunks, for a 2-5 lead. Buducnost needed more than 2 minutes to score before taking its first lead 11-9 on an Ivanovic three-pointer. The Panathinaikos big men off the bench stepped up with Papapetrou and Georgios Papagiannis combining for 7 points and the Greeks were up 15-18 after 10 minutes. Fellow Panathinaikos reserve Thomas nailed 2 three-pointers as the advantage grew to 15-24. Calathes went to the bench for a breather and Buducnost got back into the game. Aleksa Ilic had 2 baskets and an assist and Omic added 6 points before Ivanovic evened it at 29-29 despite Calathes coming back into the game, which was knotted 31-31 at the break. Calathes showed his control of the contest with assists to James Gist and Matt Lojeski for a 31-35 lead. Buducnost however punched right back, evening the game before Nemanja Gordic nailed a long three to go up 38-35. Lojeski followed with two three-balls but Earl Clark’s triple had the hosts up 44-41. Calathes took over with two scores and a layup and Panathinaikos was up 47-50 after 30 minutes. Lukas Lekavicius and Thomas nailed back-to-back threes and Thomas added another long ball before Papapetrou’s three-pointer made it 55-68 with 4 minutes left. Buducnost had one more run with Omic’s 4 points and assist and Ivanovic’s three-pointer bringing the home side to within 67-71 with 49 seconds left. But Omic missed his put-back chance with 18 seconds to go and Panathinaikos survived.
Still no beating Panathinaikos
Buducnost fans waited nearly 16 years to face Panathinaikos again – the last game in the EuroLeague came in December 2002 – but the Podgorica team still has not beaten the Greek power, falling to 0-5 all-time against the Greens.
Game changing sequence
Buducnost was hanging tough with Panathinaikos until the guests started hitting three-pointers in the fourth quarter. Lekavicius and Thomas went back-to-back from long range to start a 6-18 run, which included another long ball from Thomas and one from Ioannis Papapetrou for a 55-68 lead.
Calathes helped build a 9-point lead early in the second quarter before going to the bench and watching as Buducnost came back to grab the momentum. But the Panathinaikos playmaker duly returned and would not let his team fall in this one, picking up 10 points, 4 rebounds, 9 assists and 3 steals.
Panathinaikos came into the game having hit just 28 percent of its three-pointers and then nailed 9/20 from long range for 45 percent. The Greens also survived allowing 14 Buducnost offensive rebounds.
Round 6 sees Buducnost hosting Zalgiris Kaunas in search of its first victory while Panathinaikos welcomes Olympiacos Piraeus in the all-Greek showdown.
Friday, November 2, 2018