Regular Season Round 7 - December 11, 2008 CET: 20:45 Local time: 21:45 - O.A.K.A.

Records

Ave.   Ave.
0-0 Final Four 0-0
0-0 Playoffs 0-0
0-0 Top 16 0-0
5-1 Regular Season 5-1
5-1 Overall 5-1

Referees

Crew Chief
LAMONICA, LUIGI, Italy
Referee
DOZAI, SRDAN, Croatia
Umpire
LATISEVS, OLEGS, Latvia

Team Stats

Ave.   Ave.
75.3 Points 78.8
33.0 Rebounds 35.3
10.7 O. Rebounds 8.0
22.3 D. Rebounds 27.3
13.8 Assists 13.8
8.7 Steals 7.2
3.3 Blocks 4.5
14.2 Turnovers 12.8
55.8 % 2PT 56.0 %
31.0 % 3PT 35.5 %
71.3 % FT 82.1 %
82.5 Index 90.8

Player Stats

Ave.   Ave.
13.5 / PEKOVIC, NIKOLA Points 13.3 / Navarro
5.5 / Batiste Rebounds 7.8 / ILYASOVA, ERSAN
2.3 / Batiste OR 1.8 / ILYASOVA, ERSAN
3.3 / Diamantidis DR 6.0 / ILYASOVA, ERSAN
3.2 / Diamantidis Assists 4.0 / Navarro
1.3 / KECMAN, DUSAN Steals 1.3 / Basile
1.0 / PEKOVIC, NIKOLA Blocks 1.7 / Vazquez
2.3 / PEKOVIC, NIKOLA Turnovers 2.2 / Navarro
72.2 % / Diamantidis 2PT 100.0 % / TRIAS, JORDI
66.7 % / KECMAN, DUSAN 3PT 64.7 % / Lakovic
100.0 % / KECMAN, DUSAN FT 100.0 % / Basile
17.8 / Diamantidis Index 14.3 / ILYASOVA, ERSAN

THE TAKE

Panathinaikos will look to join the list of clubs already in the Top 16 when it hosts Regal FC Barcelona at the Athens Olympic Indoor Arena on Thursday. The Greens will also want to avenge one of their worst Euroleague losses ever in this clash of teams tied for the Group B lead. Panathinaikos and Barca enter the game tied with Montepaschi for first with 5-1 and head coach Zeljko Obradovic’s charges’ only loss came in Week 2 at Barcelona, 90-66. Juan Carlos Navarro matched his season high with 21 to lead Barca that night, while the Greek champs struggled with their shooting and were outrebounded by 13. The passionate fans in Athens will be sure to lift their heroes this week, but Barca will have an advantage in star guard Jaka Lakovic, who spent four seasons with the Greens, played alongside eight current Panathinaikos players and will help his current teammates prepare for the atmosphere. These teams line up two of the deepest, most experienced and most talented squads in the competition, where a big night from any one of a handful of players could make the difference in the outcome. Navarro and Lakovic are joined by Victor Sada, Andre Barrett and Gianluca Basile in a tough backcourt that will have to handle the hosts version that includes Dimitris Diamantidis, Vassilis Spanoulis, Sarunas Jasikevicius, Drew Nicholas and Nikos Hatzivrettas. And though Sada and Diamantidis are not likely to match up against one another, their defensive prowess against the other team’s scorers could be a major factor in this game. In the paint, the Greens may be without top option Nikola Pekovic as well as power forward Antonis Fotsis, but that still leaves Mike Batiste and Kostas Tsartsaris as well as Dusan Sakota. Daniel Santiago and David Andersen lead Barcelona’s big men at center, while Fran Vazquez and Ersan Ilyasova share time at power forward. Meanwhile small forward Lubor Barton of Barca and Stratos Perperoglou could engage on the wing. The players in this game combine for dozens of Final Four appearances and 16 Euroleague titles, so there is little doubt that they will be ready for a big game. Coaches Obradovic and Xavi Pascual will also be prepared, since their tactics could end up being what determines the outcome. With these two teams, there is little to analyze and much to hype in this must-see clash.

GAME QUOTES

Panathinaikos
  • Guard Dimitris Diamantidis is closing in on 200 steals for his Euroleague Basketball career. Diamantidis is fifth on the all-time list with 196. Only four players – Theo Papaloukas, Gianlica Basile, Pablo Prigioni and J.R. Holden – have reached 200.
  • Diamantidis has made at least 1 three-pointer in 13 straight Euroleague appearances dating back to last season.
  • Big man Mike Batiste is closing in on the Euroleague Basketball career top 10 list for rebounding. Batiste is currently 12th with 660 career boards. Next is Tanoka Beard with 663 and Jorge Garbajosa is 10th with 667. The next active player with a chance to crash the top 10 would be teammate Kostas Tsartsaris, who enters this week’s game with 643 career boards.
  • Tsartsaris needs only 3 more defensive rebounds to crack the all-time top 10 in that category. That distinction currently belongs to Anthony Parker with 460.
  • Panathinaikos lost to FC Barcelona 66-90 in Week 2, which was the second largest defeat the club suffered during the Zelimir Obradovic era. The club’s worst loss in Obradovic’s 10 seasons with the club came against Fortitudo Bologna, 63-88, in the 2002-03 season.
  • Last week Panathinaikos beat Zalgiris on the road for a milestone win – the club’s 300th victory in its European competition history. Half of those wins came with head coach Zeljko Obradovic on the bench. In a total of 461 official international matches, starting from the 1961-62 season, Panathinaikos has 300 wins, 2 ties and 159 defeats.
  • On April, 4, 1996 Panathinaikos beat FC Barcelona 67-66 at Bercy in one of the most controversial championship games in the history of the European Cups. The game and the European trophy were decided by a blocked shot that Stojan Vrankovic made on Juan Antonio Montero at the buzzer!
  • Guard Sarunas Jasikevicius had a glorious three-year career with Barcelona, as helping the team win one Euroleague crown, two Spanish League championships and two Spanish King’s Cups. The only player left on the Barcelona roster from Saras’s days is Juan Carlos Navarro.
Regal FC Barcelona
  • Teammates David Andersen and Gianluca Basile can both tie former Barca player Denis Marconato for the most career appearances in the competition this decade. Marconato made 165 Euroleague Basketball appearances, including 68 with Barcelona. Injured CSKA Moscow guard J.R. Holden is also currently second with 164 appearances, but is sidelined with a hand injury.
  • Forward Jordi Trias needs just 1 more blocked shot to reach 50 for his Euroleague Basketball career.
  • Jaka Lakovic returns to Athens to play against the team where he played for four seasons and helped it to win four Greek League championships, and three Greek Cups. Lakovic also helped the Greens reach the 2005 Euroleague Final Four, where they placed third. Among the current Panathinaikos players that Lakovic played alongside are team captain Fragiskos Alvertis, guards Vassilis Spanoulis, Dimitris Diamantidis and Nikos Hatzivrettas, forward Antonis Fotsis and Dusan Sakota and big men Mike Batiste and Kostas Tsartsaris.
  • Andersen’s Euroleague career-high in rebounding came against Panathinaikos at the 2005 Final Four in Moscow. Andersen, then with CSKA Moscow, recorded 14 points and 15 rebounds in the third-place game, which the Greens won in double overtime.
  • Guard Juan Carlos Navarro is best known for his scoring ability, but he has recorded at least 2 assists in consecutive Euroleague games. Interestingly enough, Navarro’s career-high is assists came against his next opponent, Panathinaikos, in February 2007.
  • Forward Lubos Barton is coming off his best game of the season last week against SLUC Nancy. He scored a season-high 11 points and keyed the defense with 2 key steals.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Euroleague.net

Quotes Head Coaches

OBRADOVIC, ZELJKO
Panathinaikos
"The upcoming game in the Euroleague is very important. We remember that our worst performance of the season was in Barcelona, so we are hosting them with the highest motivation. Barcelona has great quality as a team and we have to give 100% to beat them in OAKA. During the last practices, we didn't have the opportunity to work with all our players, since Antonis Fotsis and Nikola Pekovic have sprained their ankles, but injuries are part of the sport and we have to wait until the tip-off to see if we can have them. I never push players to come back. If they feel well, they will compete against Barcelona, otherwise we will fight with the rest of our players, who are very significant."
PASCUAL, XAVI
Regal FC Barcelona
"Panathinaikos will be out for revenge, I'm sure, but what they should know is that we are a team with a conviction to win, and I'm sure that we will. There will be a lot of factors that could influence the game, but we will be ready."

Players

BATISTE, MIKE
Panathinaikos
"It is a must-win for us, since our goal is to finish at the top of Group B. We know how important the game against Barcelona is and hopefully our fans have realized the importance of this battle. Concentration and great defense can be the key points to win the game, while we haven't forgotten the tough loss we suffered at their home court. I guess everybody is asking about our two injured big men Fotsis and Pekovic. I am quite optimistic that we will finally have them with us; nevertheless we must leave excuses behind and fight with all our power against a top team. At the bottom line, we have to lace our shoes and play hard."
SADA, VICTOR
Regal FC Barcelona
"This type of game, on this type of intense court, are great to play."
David Andersen - Regal FC BarcelonaRegal FC Barcelona became the first team to beat Panathinaikos at the Athens Indoor Olympic Arena in nearly two years with a resounding 76-87 win on Thursday night. Barca dominated early and used a team-oriented attack that featured four players with at least 5 assists to end the Greens’ 18-game home-court winning streak. Barca won its fourth in a row to improve to 6-1 and stay pace with Montepaschi for the Group B lead. Barcelona hosts the Italian champs in a major matchup next week. Meanwhile Panathinaikos fell to 5-2 and sits in third place in the group. Barca came out firing as Gianluca Basile and David Andersen led the attack. The visitors built a double-digit advantage in the opening period and stretched it to 22-42 midway through the second period. Vassilis Spanoulis and Drew Nicholas rallied the hosts to within 38-49 by halftime and Mike Batiste helped cut the gap to single digits in the fourth quarter, but the Greens could never get close enough to threaten as Barca held on for the win. Andersen led Barca with 22 points and 9 rebounds and Basile posted 16 points and 5 assists. Victor Sada added 6 assists and Jaka Lakovic and Juan Carlos Navarro dished 5 each for the winners. Batiste led Panathinaikos with 21 points, Spanoulis added 13 and 5 assists off the bench and Nicholas finished with 11 points.

Despite the roaring crowd, Barcelona came out determined to clamp down on defense and do not allow Panathinaikos to get any rhythm offensively. On the other end, Basile swished two triples against the hosts’ zone defense to race Barcelona to a 5-11 lead. After of a Panathinaikos timeout, Sarunas Jasikevicius knocked down a three-pointer to trim the advantage. However, with Sada providing the brains and Fran Vazquez being a cut above his opponents in the paint, Barcelona stayed in front, 8-13. Batiste knocked down a jumper, but Ersan Ilyasova responded with a basket and a free throw to keep the guests ahead, 12-16. Panathinaikos seemingly picked up its defensive intensity, yet Lakovic, who was booed every time he touched the ball, unleashed a triple and then Navarro followed him to give Barcelona a double-digit advantage, 12-22. Antonis Fotsis came off the bench to connect from downtown, only to be copied by Ilyasova who fixed the score at 18-25 by the end of the first quarter.

Vasilis Spanoulis - PanathinaikosAndersen opened the second quarter with a layup and then Ilyasova scored in transition to keep the tide to Barca’s favor. Panathinaikos was seemingly nervous and its players were struggling against the guests’ zone defense. Lakovic found Andersen for an easy layup, good for a 18-31 advantage that forced coach Zeljko Obradovic to ask Nikola Pekovic to play even though he was not 100% fit. The center made his presence felt in the paint immediately, but Basile upped the ante with two wild triples that boosted the margin to 22-39 midway the second quarter. And as though it wasn’t enough, Andersen added 5 more points to emphatically show who was in charge. If Panathinaikos wanted to dig out from a 20-point hole, it definitely had to take better care of the ball. A gutsy drive by Spanoulis cut the deficit to 29-44 and allowed the crowd to explode, yet Barcelona was stunningly effective at both ends. Spanoulis and Nicholas finally managed to unlock the stifling Barcelona defense, however Andersen dominated the paint and helped the guests to march to a 38-49 advantage at halftime.

The second half commenced with Kostas Tsartsaris scoring on a slippery move and then Jasikevicius cutting the lead to 42-49. Andersen hit a baseline jumper and on the next possession Navarro buried a triple to make it 44-54 and silence the crowd. Batiste tried to spearhead the counter-attack with a monstrous one-handed dunk, but Andersen had the last say for himself as he nailed back-to-back triples to keep Panathinaikos with its back to the wall, 48-60. Navarro and Basile carried on their three-point shooting extravaganza to stretch the lead to 49-68. A tip-in by Pekovic and a silky drive by Stratos Perperoglou helped the hosts to slice the margin to 15, yet Barcelona remained in total control.

Both Dimitris Diamantidis and Perperoglou failed to get the scoreboard rolling in the final quarter, unlike Roger Grimau who scored 5 quick points to send the gap to the 20-point territory. Eventually Spanoulis ended the dry spell for the Greens with a triple and Batiste halted Barca’s momentum, as he trimmed the lead to 59-73. Then, energetic Batiste finished a pick-and-roll with a two-handed dunk and Nicholas unleashed a triple to bring the fans to their feet and the score to 66-77 with 4:53 left to play. Lubos Barton found an answer against the Greens’ press, but Batiste’s hook shot sent the noise level off the charts and Diamantidis’s three-pointer brought the hosts within single-digits again, 71-79. Lakovic hit a pair of free throws and after Jasikevicius missed a decisive open triple, Basile finished the break for a 71-83 advantage. Batiste muscled his way to a basket, but Spanoulis’s turnover down the stretch led to a Barton layup as the visitors wrapped up a crucial road win.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Epameinondas Tsakalos, Athens
Referees: LAMONICA, LUIGI (ITA), DOZAI, SRDAN (CRO), LATISEVS, OLEGS (LAT)
Attendance: 14000
By Quarter1234
Panathinaikos18201523
Regal FC Barcelona25241919
End of Quarter1234
Panathinaikos18385376
Regal FC Barcelona25496887
Head coach: OBRADOVIC, ZELJKO
Panathinaikos
# Player Min Pts 2FG
M-A
3FG
M-A
FT
M-A
Rebounds As St To Bl Fouls PIR
O D T Fv Ag Cm Rv
5 KECMAN, DUSAN 4:59     0/1     1 1           1   -1
6 SPANOULIS, VASSILIS 30:07 13 5/8 1/2   1 1 2 5 2 2     3 2 15
7 PERPEROGLOU, STRATOS 5:55 2 1/1 0/3     2 2     1     2 1 -1
8 BATISTE, MIKE 28:45 21 9/11   3/4 2 5 7   1 1     2 5 28
9 FOTSIS, ANTONIS 6:15 3   1/1                       3
10 HATZIVRETTAS, NIKOS 5:38   0/1           1         2   -2
11 NICHOLAS, DREW 26:41 11 1/1 3/6     1 1     2     1   6
12 TSARTSARIS, KOSTAS 13:19 5 2/3 0/1 1/2   3 3 1   2     2 2 4
13 DIAMANTIDIS, DIMITRIS 29:30 5   1/2 2/2 1 3 4 3 2 3 1     3 14
14 PEKOVIC, NIKOLA 11:46 7 3/5   1/2 1 1 2     1     1 3 7
15 SAKOTA, DUSAN 7:26     0/1         1         2   -2
19 JASIKEVICIUS, SARUNAS 29:39 9 2/6 1/4 2/2 1 1 2 1 1 2 1   4 4 5
Team             1 1   2           3
Totals 200:00 76 23/36 7/21 9/12 6 19 25 12 8 14 2 0 20 20 79
63.9% 33.3% 75%
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
Head coach: PASCUAL, XAVI
Regal FC Barcelona
# Player Min Pts 2FG
M-A
3FG
M-A
FT
M-A
Rebounds As St To Bl Fouls PIR
O D T Fv Ag Cm Rv
5 BASILE, GIANLUCA 34:34 16 2/5 4/9   1 3 4 5 1     2 1 2 17
6 BARRETT, ANDRE DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
8 TRIAS, JORDI DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
9 BARTON, LUBOS 11:54 6 2/2 0/2 2/2 1 1 2   1       3 1 5
10 LAKOVIC, JAKA 17:05 7   1/5 4/4       5 1 2       3 10
11 NAVARRO, JUAN CARLOS 35:11 9 0/4 3/7     2 2 5   4     2 3 5
13 ANDERSEN, DAVID 30:39 22 7/9 2/2 2/3 3 6 9 1 1 3     2 3 28
17 VAZQUEZ, FRAN 11:04 6 3/3     1 2 3 1         4   6
21 ILYASOVA, ERSAN 18:57 8 2/3 1/2 1/2 2 5 7           3 3 12
24 SADA, VICTOR 21:43 6 0/1 2/3     1 1 6         3 2 10
25 SANTIAGO, DANIEL 7:26           1 1     1     2 1 -1
44 GRIMAU, ROGER 11:27 7 3/5   1/1 1 1 2   1         2 10
Team           1   1   1           2
Totals 200:00 87 19/32 13/30 10/12 10 22 32 23 6 10 0 2 20 20 104
59.4% 43.3% 83.3%
This game is not yet played

Head Coaches

OBRADOVIC, ZELJKO
Panathinaikos
"I would like to congratulate all my players because everybody in the team knows what we’ve been through the past four days. First we lost Pekovic, then we had a problem with Fotsis and Saras faced a problem with his back, Hatzivrettas had a stomach problem plus a sprained ankle and finally the last day before the game Diamantidis came in with a fever. Maybe sometimes we did not take the most of the fouls we drew and we let some open shots. I would like to thank my players again and also the fans for creating an atmosphere that helped a lot. Barcelona played a good game, they kept their distance in offense and played their own game. Undoubtedly this is a good team."
PASCUAL, XAVI
Regal FC Barcelona
"We are delighted because we beat one of the best teams in Europe. We played great tonight. We were very effective in the first period, and both our ball movement and our free-throw shooting percentage were great. Our performance in the first period boosted our confidence and made us feel that we would win the match. In the waning minutes of the second period we allowed them to score consecutive baskets. In other words, we allowed them to think that they could come back and take the victory. Thankfully, we stayed focused, moved the ball well once again and managed to take advantage of our players. I’m not sure to what extent Panathinaikos was affected by the fact that Pekovic and Fotsis were not 100% ready to play tonight. Besides, Panathinaikos has a deep bench, so it's not easy to say whether our opponent would have played better in case they were fit."

Players

TSARTSARIS, KOSTAS
Panathinaikos
"Barcelona was in great shape, and we were not on the court in the first half. So, we were forced to try to come back from a big deficit and ultimately we ran out of energy. Now, we’ll have to be as good as we can in the remaining matches. Besides, as was evident in previous years, the first place in the group does mean a lot. But what matters the most is to be ready when the Top 16 starts. Two of our most important players could not help us tonight due to injuries, but we all know that our team is full of great players. We should have played better tonight. Barcelona plays great this season and is one of the favorites to qualify to the Final Four. Hopefully, sometime in the near future, we’ll perform as well as they did tonight."
GRIMAU, ROGER
Regal FC Barcelona
"It’s a very important victory for us because Panathinaikos is a big team with great players and we played in a full gym tonight. We played very good throughout the match. We played defense and offense for 40 minutes. We were effective at both ends. With this intensity in defense we can achieve a lot of things this year, but it’s still early to say. I always try to play 100% in defense, create something good in offense and try to help my team. I hope we will beat Siena at home and finish first in our group. But at the moment we’ll just think of our victory and celebrate for a while."
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