Nick Calathes once again flirted with the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague single game assist record, and Panathinaikos OPAP Athens’ convincing win may even have kept him from making history.
Calathes dished out 17 assists in Panathinaikos’ 100-88 victory over LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne, to go with 10 points and 4 rebounds. Calathes, who will turn 31 on February 7, played 32:56 minutes as his team controlled the game for the final 25 minutes. Calathes ended up playing 33:39 and 34:04 minutes in Panathinaikos’ two victories in the double-round of action last week, so a closer game on Friday night may have seen him get more playing time and more assists.
The name Nick Calathes is all over the EuroLeague leaderboard for most assists in a game - though the record belongs to Stefan Jovic with his 19 assists for Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade on November 12, 2015 against FC Bayern Munich.
Behind Jovic, Calathes twice has collected 18 assists - including in Round 17 of this season against CSKA Moscow. Overall, 22 times in EuroLeague history has a player tallied 14 assists or more in a single game, and Calathes has accounted for eight of those great performances. And he has picked up at least 11 assists in each of the last five games - during which Panathinaikos has averaged 97.4 points - while increasing his league-leading season average to 9.9 assists per game.
But Calathes will only be credited with an assist if his teammates can convert their shot attempts. And Panathinaikos shot the lights out of the OAKA against ASVEL. The Greek side made 60.9 percent of its two-point shots and 65.0 percent of its three-pointers - while converting 5-of-8 free throws for 62.5 percent.
All told, Panathinaikos had 25 assists in the game, and Rick Pitino’s team showed once again why it is the EuroLeague’s highest-scoring offense - hitting the century mark for the fourth time and increasing its average to 89.5 points a game. The credit for much of that has to go to Calathes, who once again came so close to making EuroLeague history.