His best game ever in a career full of great performances was just enough Thursday for Dimitris Diamantidis to send defending champion Panathinaikos Athens back to the Final Four and earn him the bwin MVP honor for a thrilling Game 5 of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Playoffs. Diamantidis, the reigning Euroleague MVP, was everywhere from the first second to the dramatic last one as Panathinaikos outlasted Maccabi Electra 86-85 in an instant classic in front of 18,700 adoring fans in Athens. Diamantidis stepped up with one of the best games of his career when it was needed most. His numbers tell much of the story. His performance index rating of 34 was a career high. He came within 1 point of a career-best in by scoring 25 to lead Panathinaikos. He also had 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 1 block. In addition, Diamantidis set a playoffs record with 15 free throws made and came within 1 of two other records with 18 free throws attempted and 12 fouls drawn. What may be even more impressive than his raw numbers are how and when Diamantidis put them up. He was without a doubt the man Panathinaikos turned to when the game got close in the end. In the last 78 seconds, Diamantidis scored 7 points – including the go-ahead free throw with 5 seconds left – and came up with a steal on the game’s final play to secure the victory. His stellar performance made Diamantidis, who was also Game 1 bwin MVP two weeks ago, the playoffs leader in performance index rating with an average of 24. He did that over the five-game series with Maccabi, which already ranks as one of the great basketball playoff battles ever, with Diamantidis as its undisputed superstar.