Panathinaikos OPAP Athens strung together its second consecutive home win by pulling way from ALBA Berlin 82-67 at OAKA on Friday night. Both teams enjoyed nine-point leads in the first half and were tied 43-43 after 20 minutes, but the hosts stepped up on defense after the break, allowing ALBA just 24 points the rest of the way to seal the outcome midway through the last period.
Panathinaikos pulls away from ALBA, 82-67
Daryl Macon led the winners with a terrific double-double of 20 points and a career-high 11 assists. Leonidas Kaselakis followed his personal best of 17 points on 4-for-4 shooting from behind the arc. Howard Sant-Roos scored 16 points and Georgios Papagiannis posted 14, 10 rebounds and 4 blocks for the winners, who improved to 4-8. ALBA Berlin dropped to 5-9 despite Markus Eriksson, Oscar Da Silva and Jaleen Smith going for 18, 13 and 11 points, respectively.
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Long-distance shooting fueled Panathinaikos's offense in the early going, but ALBA found Eriksson twice from behind the arc to stay within 8-6. Papagiannis showed up and followed a three-pointer from Kaselakis with a dunk to cap a 9-2 run that granted the Greens a 17-8 edge after 5 minutes. Eriksson struck again from downtown, then Johannes Thiemann joined from inside to get ALBA as close as 17-15. The hosts kept running a smooth offense, as Kaselakis hit twice from behind the arc and Okaro White provided another for a 30-22 advantage. ALBA's Da Silva managed to reduce that 30-25 at the end of the first quarter.
Tamir Blatt took the reins for ALBA when the game resumed, nailing back-to-back triples and assisting Smith on a fastbreak layup that switched the lead to ALBA, 32-36, after 14 minutes. The Greens took a timeout but the German champs were unstoppable. A 0-7 run capped by a three from Eriksson made it 34-43 soon after, forcing another Panathinaikos timeout. Two blocks and a bucket by Papagiannis reactivated Panathinaikos on both ends, sparking a 9-0 run in which Macon had 5 points that made it all square, 43-43, at halftime.
The Greens took the court much more committed on defense, preventing ALBA from scoring for the first 4 minutes after the break. Sant-Roos took over on the offensive side, helping the hosts go ahead 53-47 midway through the third period. Even though it kept struggling to score, ALBA's defense managed to slow down Panathinaikos for a while. Yovel Zoosman made it a one-possession game from the foul line but the Greens retained a 57-52 margin entering the last stanza.
Da Silva opened fire in the fourth quarter and Tim Schneider followed with a triple to tie the score again, 57-57. Panathinaikos reacted in style thanks to Macon Jr., who provided 5 points in a row to get his team back in front, 64-57. ALBA kept trying from behind the arc, but its accuracy was gone. A basket-plus-free throw by Sant Roos extended the lead to double-digits and a trey by Macon dug it deeper, 72-59, with 5 minutes remaining. Eriksson showed up to try to avoid an early sinking, but Kaselakis and Papagiannis combined on offense again to lift Panathinaikos to a 78-61 advantage from which ALBA could not recover.