The Greens dominate Valencia on jubilee night
Panathinaikos OPAP Athens never trailed and protected its home floor once again by downing visiting Valencia Basket 91-72 on Friday. In its 500th EuroLeague game this century, six-time champion Panathinaikos improved to 8-14 on the season, registering its third straight home win. Meanwhile, Valencia suffered its third consecutive loss, and sixth in the last seven games, to drop to 11-12. Panathinaikos took control right away, and used an 11-0 second-quarter run to pull away for good, never allowing Valencia to cut the deficit to single digits. Nemanja Nedovic paced the winners with 16 points and 7 assists. Aaron White and Eleftherios Bochoridis scored 12 apiece. And Konstantinos Mitoglou collected 11 points and 7 rebounds. Valencia's Klemen Prepelic led all scorers with 20 points. Martin Hermannsson had 13 and Vanja Marinkovic netted 11 in a losing effort.
The teams exchanged layups before back-to-back dunks by Nedovic and Georgios Papagiannis made it 8-4. Marinkovic knocked down a pair of triples for Valencia, but the Greens ruled the offensive glass and got to the free throw line often while Papagiannis scored 6 more points, including a long jumper, for a 20-10 lead. Hermannsson entered and strung together 7 unanswered points for the visitors, sinking a mid-range jumper and a triple before driving for a layup. A three-pointer from Derrick Williams cut the deficit to 22-20 after 10 minutes, but Panathinaikos started the second quarter with more second-chance baskets to stay in front. Nedovic hit a corner triple between a pair of layups by Bojan Dubljevic for Valencia. After Zach Auguste scored twice in close, Nedovic downed a long three and a fastbreak dunk to open a 42-28 difference. Mike Tobey snapped an 11-0 Panathinaikos run with a dunk but corner triples from Ben Bentil and Ioannis Papapetrou pushed Panathinaikos to a 48-34 cushion at halftime.
Mitoglou opened the second half with a three-point play and Papapetrou scored inside to extend the margin to 19 points. Prepelic scored 10 points in the opening 5 minutes of the quarter, including a triple, and Nikola Kalinic beat a shot-clock with a three-pointer to get the visitors within 59-48. However, Shelvin Mack and Bentil scored from close range to reopen a big lead, 66-48. The hosts' defense held Valencia to a single basket for almost 4 minutes, and even though the Greens started to struggle offensively themselves, they took 68-52 into the fourth quarter. Marinkovic hit a tough triple and Sam Van Rossom drove for a reverse layup, but Papapetrou and Mitoglou scored inside, before Bochoridis knocked down a corner triple for a game-high 80-60 margin midway through the fourth quarter. Prepelic hit a pair of triples in the final minutes, but Valencia never threatened as Panathinaikos cruised to victory.
500 game milestone
This game marked a momentous occasion, the 500th EuroLeague game this century for Panathinaikos, the fifth team to reach that milestone. Panathinaikos has 301-199 record in those games.
Panathinaikos built a double-digit lead that it never relinquished in the second quarter. The Greens shot 4-for-8 from three-point range in that quarter, compared to 2-for-13 the rest of the game. Valencia was 0-for-5 in the second quarter from behind the arc.
Panathinaikos not only outrebounded the visitors 39-27, but it made 27 of 42 two-point shots (64.3%) compared to Valencia's 13-for-30 (43.3%).
Panathinaikos got production from its entire front line. Aaron White had 12 points and 5 rebounds; Konstantinos Mitoglou had 11 points and 7 boards; Georgios Papagiannis posted 8 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks; Zach Auguste scored 8 points; and Ben Bentil had 7 points.
In Round 24, Valencia will be at home to face CSKA Moscow, while Panathinaikos will be away from home play its arch rival Olympiacos Piraeus.
Friday, January 29, 2021