Panathinaikos gets long-awaited road win
Panathinaikos OPAP Athens recorded its second consecutive win by topping Herbalife Gran Canaria 80-99 on the road on Thursday. Panathinaikos improved to 11-13 and 11th in the standings, one win outside of the playoff zone. Gran Canaria dropped to 6-18 and 15th place overall. Keith Langford led five Panathinaikos scorers in double figures with 18 points. Nick Calathes added 17 points and 9 assists, Thanasis Antetokounmpo scored 16, Georgios Papagiannis 14 and Ioannis Papapetrou 10 for the Greens. Xavi Rabaseda paced Gran Canaria with 21 points, Jacob Wiley added 16 in his EuroLeague debut and Marcus Eriksson had 10 for the hosts. Panathinaikos led 26-28 after 10 minutes, extended its margin to 45-50 at halftime and then again to 68-80 early in the fourth quarter, enough to control the game for good.
Niko Radicevic hit a mid-range jumper and Rabaseda struck from downtown for an early 5-2 Gran Canaria lead. Calathes and Wiley traded basket, and Antetokounmpo followed a put-back slam with an alley-oop layup to put Panathinaikos back ahead, 9-10. Rabaseda took over with a wild three-point play and Eriksson added a running floater to restore a 14-12 Gran Canaria lead. Rabaseda and Eriksson kept pacing the hosts, but Lukas Lekavicius, Papagiannis and Langford fueled an 0-8 run that gave the guests a 19-22 edge. Siim Sander Vene hit a triple and Clevin Hannah followed free throws with a driving layup, but Papagiannis and Langford restored a 26-28 Panathinaikos lead after 10 minutes. Wiley and Cory Jefferson each scored down low early in the second quarter and an acrobatic basket by Albert Oliver gave the hosts a 32-28 margin. Antetokounmpo and Calathes stepped up with respective layups and Papapetrou hit a triple for a Panathinaikos edge. Papagiannis took over with an alley-oop slam and got help from Antetokoummpo and Papapetrou to break the game open at 32-44 after a 0-16 run. Radicevic and Rabaseda combined for all the points in an 8-0 Gran Canaria run, but back-to-back three-pointers by Langford kept the visitors in charge, 45-50, at halftime. Papagiannis shined with an alley-oop slam after the break and Calathes added a triple to keep Panathinaikos ahead, 50-55. Eriksson answered from beyond the arc and free throws by Wiley tied it at 55-55. Sean Kilpatrick sank a jumper and an unstoppable Papagiannis caused Gran Canaria to call timeout at 57-62. Calathes and Langford stepped up for Panathinaikos and a layup by Ian Vougioukas gave the visitors a 64-71 margin. A stop-and-pop jumper by Hannah and a layup by Papapetrou fixed the score at 66-73 after 30 minutes. Langford struck from beyond the arc early in the fourth quarter and Kilpatrick added consecutive driving layups for a 68-80 score. Vougioukas hit a close jumper and a layup by Antetokpunmpo sealed the outcome, 69-84, with over 6 minutes left. Gran Canaria never gave up, but the Greens kept control the rest of the way.
Antetokounmpo provided the energy required to lead Panathinaikos to a much-awaited road win. He finished the game with 16 points on 8 of 9 two-point shooting, 4 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks for a performance index rating of 20. He had career highs in scoring and PIR.
Gran Canaria led 32-28 midway through the second quarter, but Antetokounmpo, Papagiannis and Papapetrou fueled a 0-16 run that put Panathinaikos ahead for good, 32-44. Panathinaikos had to work hard in the second half to keep the lead, but that run changed the game's momentum and Gran Canaria never truly recovered.
Panathinaikos hit 36 of 47 two-point shots. Its 76.6% two-point shooting percentage was a new EuroLeague season-high; CSKA Moscow had previously made 75.6% of its two-point shots against the same opponent, Gran Canaria. It marked the 19th-highest two-point shooting percentage in competition history. Panathinaikos has the record from hitting 28 of 32 two-point shots (87.5%) against EWE Baskets Oldenburg on November 25, 2009.
Did you notice?
This was Panathinaikos's first EuroLeague road win since early November. The Greek powerhouse lost nine consecutive road games after beating Buducnost VOLI Podgorica in the Montenegrin capital on November 2, 67-72.
Both teams return to Turkish Airlines EuroLeague action on Thursday, March 7. Panathinaikos visits Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul and Gran Canaria travels to Lithuania to face Zalgiris Kaunas.
Thursday, February 28, 2019