Nedovic rescues Greens in incredible win
Panathinaikos OPAP Athens enjoyed an unforgettable night when it defeated visiting Fenerbahce BEKO Istanbul 91-87 at OAKA on Thursday night. The hosts were 5 points down with just 40 seconds ’ to go, but they kept believing and drew 2 unsportsmanlike fouls in a row that sparked a late 9-0 run from the free-throw line that turned the game upside down. Panathinaikos improved to 1-1, the same record as Fenerbahce. Nemanja Nedovic scored 13 points in the fourth quarter to lead the greens with 20. Ioannis Papapetrou followed with 14 points, 5 boards and 4 assists and Daryl Macon Jr. and Okaro White added 14 and 12 points, respectively. Jan Vesely registered a double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Nando de Colo poured in 16 points in as many minutes. Devin Booker and Pierria Henry followed them with 14 and 12 in losing effort.
Henry got the visitors going with back-to-back threes, but Panathinaikos found an appropriate answer from Papapetrou to tie the score at 8-8 after 4 minutes. Five points in a row by White granted the hosts a 13-8 lead that didn’t last for long. Fenerbahce put Guduric and De Colo on the floor and a 0-6 run capped by a dunk by Vesely forced a timeout by the Greens. Guduric dug it deeper, 13-17, with a corner three right after and, even though Perry and Nedovic showed up to reanimate the hosts, De Colo helped the guests close the first quarter with a 20-21 edge. Polonara and Booker came up big early in the second, combining for 12 points to make up for a couple of three-pointers by Perry and Evans and build a 31-37 advantage for the visitors. Panathinaikos was unable to turn its offensive rebounding dominance into a real outcome, as Vesely and De Colo took over to keep Fenerbahce ahead, 36-45. The hosts didn’t give up, though, and counterattacked with a 9-1 run in which Papapetrou had 5 points to make it 45-46 at halftime.
Both teams swapped baskets early after the break until Vesely and Booker took over in the paint to give the visitors a 51-57 edge midway through the third. The greens kept pushing, but each comeback attempt was quickly aborted. De Colo joined Vesely on offense to ignite a 0-7 run and keep a solid 56-64 advantage after 28 minutes. Panathinaikos didn’t say its last word, as an 8-0 boost fueled by Floyd tied the game again, 64-64, soon after. A corner three by Polonara allowed Fenerbahce to retain the lead, 64-67, entering the last quarter. Another bomb by Pierre kept the visitors calm, 66-72. An unsportsmanlike foul on Nedovic seemed to make the hosts react, as the guard and Macon combined to return the lead to Panathinaikos, 77-76, with 4 minutes to go. Vesely and Pierre came to the rescue to put the visitors back in charge, 82-87 with 40 seconds to go, which looked like a death sentence for the home team. But it was then when all hell broke loose at OAKA. Two unsportsmanlike fouls in a row called on Guduric and Booker, the last with just 2 seconds remaining, allowed Nedovic to lift his team and take the lead, 88-87. Another foul on Papapetrou’s three-point attempt right after Panathinaikos inbounded the ball turned into 3 more points and started a crazy celebration on the stands.
After finishing scoreless in Game 1 against Monaco, Nemanja Nedovic became crucial for his team's first win at home. He scored 13 of his total 20 points in the last quarter, hitting 11 of 11 from the free-throw line and drawing the unsportsmanlike foul that allowed the Greens to get back the lead for good with less than 3 seconds to go.
In a close game in which no team was able to get a double-digit lead over the 40 minutes, a cold-blooded Panathinaikos took advantage of the free-throw shooting to claim its reward. The Greens went for 25-of-27 (92.6%), and hit the last 9 without a miss in the last 40 seconds of the game.
Fenerbahce's fab five
Devin Booker (14), Jan Vesely (18), Nando De Colo (16), Dyshawn Pierre (10) and Pierria Henry (12) combined for 70 of Fenerbahce’s 87 total points. They were not enough, though, to take the prize.
Thursday, October 7, 2021