Panathinaikos has its back to the wall as it welcomes Real Madrid to the Greek capital. Madrid holds a 2-0 lead in the series and has beaten Panathinaikos in their last seven head-to-head games dating back to last season's playoffs. Panathinaikos has won seven of its last 10 games, with the three losses during that span all coming against Madrid. The Greens will make an attempt to end all that losing streak and keep its season alive.
Previously in the series
Madrid is the only team in the playoffs with a 2-0 lead. Panathinaikos led 66-72 with less than 4 minutes to go in Game 1 only for Madrid to score the final 9 points of the night for 75-72 series-opening win. Jeffery Taylor paced the winners with 13 points that night. There was not much doubt about the winner of Game 2, as Madrid took control early, built a 21-point third-quarter lead and cruised to victory behind Facundo Campazzo who was everywhere with 13 points, 9 assists, 7 rebounds and 5 steals.
Nick Calathes is the league leader in assists (8.7 apg.) and steals (1.7 spg.) and leads Panathinaikos in scoring (12.1 ppg.) and rebounding (4.4 rpg.) for the season, but has not played at that level in this series. In Game 2, he scored just 1 point on 0-for-11 shooting. Calathes will look to bounce back in front of his fans, while Facundo Campazzo will try to continue doing an excellent job of energizing Madrid in this series. He not only leads the entire playoffs in assists (7.5 apg.) and steals (4.0 spg.), but he also leads Madrid in rebounding (5.5 rpg.) and is second on the team in points (10.5 ppg.). He has done in the series pretty much what Calathes has done for Panathinaikos this entire season.
Keys to victory: Panathinaikos
The Greens have been solid on defense in this series, but had too many offensive woes in the first two games. Panathinaikos was too inconsistent offensively in Game 1 and struggled the entire Game 2. The solution is fairly simple; Coach Rick Pitino needs to find a way for Nick Calathes to be at his usual productivity and his team needs to restore its shooting confidence, which it had down the final stretch of the regular season.
Keys to victory: Madrid
Real Madrid is a well-oiled offensive machine, which averaged a regular season-best 91.3 points per game on its home floor, but it did not win the first two games in Madrid because of that offense, rather due to its defense. Madrid used swingman Jeffery Taylor to slow down Calathes, while Rudy Fernandez and Facundo Campazzo have also done a fantastic job on the perimeter and Walter Tavares is the anchor in the paint. Madrid needs to keep that defensive intensity going against an opponent that will get a big boost from its fans.