Vesely, Kalinic lead Fenerbahce to 10th win
Fenerbahce Istanbul grabbed its 7th consecutive win by topping Panathinaikos OPAP Athens 69-81 in the Greek capital. Fenerbahce improved to 10-1 in the standings while Panathinaikos dropped to 5-6 and is now on a three-game losing streak. Nikola Kalinic led the winners with 18 points on 4-of-5 three-point shots. Joffrey Lauvergne added 16 while Jan Vesely had 15 for Fenerbahce. Nick Calathes led Panathinaikos with 14 points and 7 assists. Matt Lojeski and Nikos Pappas each had 13 points for the hosts.
Vesely scored down low and Erick Green added a corner triple for a 0-5 Fenerbahce lead. Thanasis Antetokounmpo dunked twice in a 6-0 Panathinaikos run but Vesely and Kostas Sloukas restored a 6-13 Fenerbahce edge. James Gist and DeShaun Thomas stepped up for the hosts but Nicolo Melli followed a three-pointer with a layup for a 12-18 score after 10 minutes. Pappas rescued Panathinaikos with a triple and a driving slam, and a free throw by Dinos Mitoglou made it a two-point game, 18-20. Lojeski took over with a floater and free throws to tie it at 24-24. Kalinic struck twice from downtown and Lauvergne added another for a 33-35 Fenerbahce lead at halftime. Luigi Datome buried a three-pointer soon after the break and free throws by Marko Guduric gave the guests fresh air at 35-40. Datome kept pacing Fenerbahce with a driving layup and Lauvergne dunked twice to make Panathinaikos stop the game at 39-46. Calathes struck twice from beyond the arc and added a driving layup, forcing Fenerbahce to stop the game at 47-48. Calathes scored again and Thomas sank a triple but Lauvergne and Ali Muhammed each hit one from downtown for a 52-56 score after 30 minutes. Calathes and Pappas took over early in the fourth quarter and a layup by Ian Vougioukas got Panathinaikos as close as 59-61 with over 6 minutes left. Lauvergne hit a tough turnaround jumper which Sloukas and Kalinic bettered with a three-pointer apiece for a 61-70 Fenerbahce lead. Kalinic insisted from downtown and added free throws to seal the outcome, 63-75, as Panathinaikos did not recover.
Nikola Kalinic shined at both ends, providing a lot of intangibles that are never in the stats - hustle, determination, intensity - but others that ended up on the scoresheet, too. Kalinic finished the game with 18 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, a steal and 4 fouls drawn for a PIR of 22.
Panathinaikos managed to get within 59-61 with over 6 minutes remaining but Joffrey Lauvergne hit an off-balance turnaround jumper, Kostas Sloukas added a critical three-pointer and Kalinic also struck twice from beyond the arc for a 63-73 Fenerbahce lead, and that gave the guests full control the game until the final buzzer.
Three-point shots made the difference in this game. Fenerbahce hit 13-of-21 shots from beyond the arc (61.9%) and limited Panathinaikos to just 7-of-28 three-pointers (25%). Fenerbahce outrebounded Panathinaikos by 24-33, too.
Did you notice?
Fenerbahce earned its first-ever non-playoffs road win against Panathinaikos. Fenerbahce was 0-12 in Regular Season and Top 16 action - but is 2-0 in the EuroLeague Playoffs with back-to-back road wins in 2017.
Both teams return to Turkish Airlines EuroLeague action next week - Panathinaikos hosts Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul on Friday, December 14 at 20:30 CET. A day earlier, on Thursday, December 13 at 19:30, Fenerbahce hosts AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan.
Friday, December 7, 2018