The Greens exploded for 60 points through the first 20 minutes.
High-flying first-half offense lifted Panathinaikos past ALBA
Panathinaikos Athens grabbed a convincing 85-99 against ALBA Berlin at Mercedes-Benz Arena on Friday night, with the Greens leaning on an incredible first-half performance to come away with the win.
Despite some absences and the need to adjust its rotation due to recent new additions, Panathinaikos led for almost the entire game, reached a game-high 17-point difference midway through the third period and didn’t allow ALBA to get closer than 6 points in the final quarter.
A historic first half
Panathinaikos set the foundations of its road win in the first half, displaying a terrific offensive performance that built a 47-60 difference at the break. The Greens were unstoppable in the first and the second quarters, scoring the most points in a half for any team in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague this season.
Panathinaikos’s 60 points was also the third-best first-half total in club history and its second-highest score in a first half playing as a road team. It was only 4 points behind its record, achieved 16 years ago when Panathinaikos beat Chorale Roanne in France, 83-123. On that occasion, the Greens scored 64 points in the first 20 minutes, going into halftime with a 39-64 lead.
“We started the game very well offensively,” Panathinaikos head coach Ergin Ataman stated in the post-game press conference. “Actually, in the first quarter and during the whole first half, we moved the ball very well. We found open shots and we made them.”
Some players went 100% before halftime
In the first half, the Greens had an incredible team line, going for 14-of-17 on two-pointers (82% 2FG), 8-of-12 from deep (75% 3FG) and 8-of-9 from the line (89%). That was possible thanks to several players finishing the first two quarters without missing a field goal.
“It was important that we found pick and roll situations with [Olek] Balcerowski that we used very well and then with [Luca] Vildoza, who made 4 three-pointers, so we got an important points difference in the first half,” added Ataman.
Actually, Balcerowski and Vildoza were two of the players who were perfect from the field in the first half. The former made all of his 4 two-point attempts, while Vildoza did the same from behind the arc. Kostas Sloukas also joined the party by going 2-of-2 from two and 1-of-1 from downtown, and Grigonis also made 3 field goals, including 2 treys, without missing a shot.
ALBA couldn’t turn the game on its head
Even though ALBA tried to come back in the second half by using a zone defense that slowed down Panathinaikos’s offense, the difference that the visitors built in the opening two quarters was too much for the home side to overcome.
“ALBA is a team that never gives up,” recognized Ataman. “[In the second half] they started to pressure [us], they changed their defense, they started to use zone and we had some problems attacking the zone, but after that we found the way again to find the scoring.
“I think that offensively, it was a great game. We made 13 three-point shots, ALBA also made 12. It’s an important victory for us before the double-game week we will play next week.”