Greens make it back-to-back road wins
Panathinaikos OPAP Athens claimed its second straight road win 67-91 over Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul on Thursday at Volkswagen Arena to remain on the edge of the playoff zone. The Greens improved to 12-13 and – at least temporarily – are even on wins with the team in seventh place. Ioannis Papapetrou led all scorers with 18 points, while Georgios Papagiannis and Nick Calathes each recorded double-doubles. Papagiannis posted 14 points and a career-high 12 rebounds, while Calathes tallied 10 points, 11 assists and 3 steals. DeShaun Thomas added 12 points for the winners. Toney Douglas paced Darussafaka with 14 points, Zanis Peiners added 12 and Micheal Eric had 11. The loss was the fifth in a row for last-placed Darussafaka, which tumbled to 3-22.
Papagiannis made his presence felt early with a pair of put-backs as Panathinaikos jumped out to a 2-6 lead. His counterpart Oguz Savas soon tied it. Calathes ran the show for the Greens to remain ahead, but Darussafaka remained close. After Thanasis Antetokounmpo dunked to put Panathinaikos up 6, Douglas drilled a three-pointer to make it 17-20 through 10 minutes. James Gist dunked twice to start the second quarter before Keith Langford gave Panathinaikos a 9-point advantage. Eric heated up for the hosts, who rallied to within 23-28. Calathes dished 3 assists on as many possessions as Panathinaikos stormed to a double-digit lead, which prompted Darussafaka to call timeout at 23-34. The visitors pumped the margin up to 29-44 and looked to break the game open. Jeremy Evans scored twice – including a layup on the buzzer – to draw Darussafaka within 37-46 at the break. Douglas connected from behind the arc to bring the hosts within 6 early in the third quarter. Panathinaikos answered, but Dogus Ozdemiroglu and Evans kept Darussafaka close at 51-57. A series of free throws in the final 2 minutes of the quarter restored a double-digit margin for the visitors and Papagiannis ended the third with a second-chance score that put Panathinaikos back in control, 53-66. The Greens reeled off 11 unanswered points to start the fourth, which made for a 0-18 run overall that all but put the game on ice. Stanton Kidd ended Darussafaka's 6-minute scoring drought, but the game was decided by that points. Free throws by Gist saw the lead peak at 57-85 as Panathinaikos cruised to a well-deserved win.
Darussafaka played well for much of the third quarter to stay within 6 points, but with the score 53-59, Panathinaikos had enough. The Greens held Darussafaka without points for the final 2 minutes of the third quarter and the first 4 of the fourth while scoring 18 straight points to put the game out of reach. Ioannis Papapetrou and Giannis Papagiannis combined for half the points in that charge.
Panathinaikos won the game with impressive hustle plays and defense. The Greens collected 14 offensive rebounds and turned them into 20 second-chance points. Darussafaka scored just 6 such points. The visitors also had 21 points off turnovers, which were 10 more than the hosts. And Panathinaikos scored 22 fastbreak points. Darussafaka got 13 on the break.
More milestones for Calathes
Nick Calathes added several more milestones to his historic career in this game. His 11 assists gave him 210 for the season and made him the first player in competition history to reach 200 in back-to-back seasons. His 3 steals gave Calathes 252 for his career and saw him leapfrog Jonas Maciulis into sixth place on the all-time charts. His double-double was the 25th of his career, which is fifth most in the EuroLeague.
Panathinaikos will make it three straight games on the road when it travels to Moscow next week to face CSKA on Friday. The night before, Darussafaka will visit Herbalife Gran Canaria.
Thursday, March 7, 2019