Diamantidis, Raduljica lead Panathinaikos past Barcelona.
In a battle of Turkish Airlines Euroleague giants, Panathinaikos Athens took a critical step towards to the Top 16 by downing FC Barcelona Lassa 93-86 in the Greek capital on Friday. Panathinaikos improved to 4-4 in Group C and broke its nine-game losing streak against already-qualified Barcelona, which dropped to 6-2. Miroslav Raduljica led the winners with a Euroleague career-high 25 points on 8-of-9 two-point shooting and 9-of-9 free throws. Dimitris Diamantidis had a season-high 20 points, James Gist added 10 while Nick Calathes dished 10 assists for Panathinaikos. Alex Abrines led Barcelona with a career-high 21 points. Stratos Perperoglou added 13 while Ante Tomic had 11 points and 11 rebounds for the guests. Raduljica shined early and a layup by Gist gave the Greens a 13-10 lead. Tomic and Abrines stepped up for Barcelona to put the guests ahead, 21-22, after 10 minutes. Raduljica remained unstoppable throughout the second quarter. Panathinaikos kept excelling on defense and a floater by Vladimir Jankovic made it a double-digit game, 45-35, at halftime. A three-pointer by Diamantidis made it a 16-point game, late in the third quarter. An outstanding Perperoglou brought Barcelona as close as 82-78 with two minutes left but a critical three-pointer by James Feldeine and free throws by Raduljica and Gist sealed the outcome down the stretch.
First quarter: Abrines puts Barceona ahead
Juan Carlos Navarro got Barcelona going with a driving layup, as the guests held Panathinaikos scoreless for more than two minutes. Calathes stepped up with a mid-range jumper, which Ante Tomic erased with a layup. Ognjen Kuzmic shined with a put-back basket and a jump hook by Raduljica gave the Greens their first lead, 6-4. Tomas Satoransky made free throws and erased Raduljica's one-handed jumper with a layup for an 8-8 tie. After Calathes split free throws, Abrines shined with a fast break slam. Raduljica hit foul shots and a layup by James Gist gave Panathinaikos a 13-10 lead. Satoransky fed Tomic for a backdoor layup, which Abrines followed with a corner triple to put Barcelona back ahead. Nikos Pappas nailed a turnaround jumper, but Tomic dunked. A three-point play by Raduljica put the Greens back ahead, 18-17. Carlos Arroyo buried a big triple and Abrines made free throws, but Diamantidis and Vladimir Jankovic brought Panathinaikos within 21-22 after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Greens surge ahead
Both teams struggled to score early in the quarter until Diamantidis made free throws. Antonis Fotsis soon added a reverse layup for a 25-22 Panathinaikos lead. Arroyo took over with a driving layup, which Raduljica matched with a close basket. Fotsis struck from downtown to boost the hosts' lead to 30-24. Barcelona could not find the way to the basket until Sasha Vezenkov stepped up with a corner three-pointer. Panathinaikos kept running its offense through Raduljica, who followed a layup with a six-meter jumper, which caused Barcelona to stop the game at 34-27. Pau Ribas hit a technical free throw and Perperoglou buried a triple to bring Barcelona within 3. Gist ignited the crowd with a one-handed slam, which James Feldeine followed with free throws to extend the Greens' margin to 7. Diamantidis, Justin Doellman and Pappas all made free throws. Then Shane Lawal took over with a tip-in and a floater by Jankovic fixed the halftime score at 45-35.
Third quarter: Barcelona tries, Panathinaikos keeps lead
Gist shined with a dunk right after the break and Calathes added a fast break layup, wfter which Barcelona called timeout at 49-35. Doellman swished a mid-range jumper, which Gist erased with a one-handed slam. Tomic split free throws and a reverse dunk by Sasha Pavlovic brought the crowd to its feet at 53-37. After Arroyo made free throws, Raduljica scored again and a three-pointer by Abrines gave Barcelona hope at 55-42. Abrines and Samardo Samuels combined for 6 free throws to bring the guests within single digits, 56-48. Diamantidis hit foul shots, but Abrines shined with a driving layup. A three-pointer by Pavlovic gave Panathinaikos some fresh air at 61-50. Pavlovic made free throws and a catch-and-shoot triple by Diamantidis made it a 16-point game. Satoransky provided a highlight with a fast break dunk and Abrines followed free throws with a buzzer-beating three-pointer that carried Barcelona within 66-57 through three quarters.
Fourth quarter: Diamantidis wins it for Greens
Perperoglou, now playing power forward, struck from downtown early in the quarter, but Calathes quickly answered with a corner triple for a 69-60 lead. Shane Lawal followed an alley-oop dunk with a tip-in that saw Panathinaikos call timeout at 69-64. Raduljica hit free throws and Perperoglou buried one from way beyond the arc to bring the guests as close as 71-67. Brad Oleson joined the three-point shootout. Raduljica and Perperoglou traded foul shots and a layup by Diamantidis restored a 75-72 Panathinaikos lead. Raduljica shined with a backdoor slam, Perperoglou scored down low and an eight-meter bomb by Diamantidis boosted the hosts' lead to 80-74. Diamantidis and Tomic traded free throws and Doellman kept Barcelona within 82-78 with under 2 minutes left. Feldeine and Navarro exchanged three-pointers, but free throws by Raduljica and Gist sealed the outcome, 89-81, already in the final minute.
Friday, December 4, 2015