Barcelona survives Panathinaikos comeback
FC Barcelona fought back from a poor second quarter and narrowly fended off Panathinaikos OPAP Athens with an 82-85 road victory to extend its winning streak to eight games. Nikola Mirotic paced Barcelona with 20 points to go with 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 blocks. Nicolas Laprovittola tallied 18 points, Brandon Davies chipped in 12 points and Rokas Jokubaitis tallied 9 points and 6 assists. Barcelona started better in leading 10-18, but Panathinaikos found its form and opened a 13-point lead in the second quarter. Barcelona used its tough defense in the third quarter and took charge with a 2-14 run. The lead grew to 9 points with just more than a minute left but Barcelona made its fans sweat out the win for a 14-2 record. Panathinaikos has now lost eight of its last 10 games for a 4-12 record. Nemanja Nedovic came off the Panathinaikos bench and poured in 18 points while Ioannis Papapetrou scored 16 points, Howard Sant-Roos 13 and Georgios Papagiannis tallied 11 points and 8 rebounds.
Laprovittola drained back-to-back three-pointers to start the game for Barcelona. After Okaro White free throws to put Panathinaikos on the board, Dante Exum scored for a 2-8 lead and a third Laprovittola triple made it 6-14. Panathinaikos started going into the paint and Papagiannis threw down two dunks and had a three-point play to get the hosts within 19-23. Kyle Kuric countered with a three-pointer, but Kendrick Perry answered from deep at the other end and Nedovic converted a layup at the buzzer. The game was even 26-26 after 10 minutes.
Papagiannis’s basket to start the second quarter gave Panathinaikos its first lead. After a Jokubaitis three-pointer, Nedovic hit from long range as well and added 3 free throws for a 34-29 cushion. Jokubaitis had two scores at the other end, but Sant-Roos scored 4 straight points and Papapetrou followed with 5 as Panathinaikos went up 48-35. Barcelona gave itself some momentum though with a 1-6 spurt to end the first half down 49-41.
Papapetrou opened the scoring in the second half and a Daryl Macon Jr. free throw made it 52-41. Laprovittola got the guests going with 4 points and Rolands Smits chipped in 5 points before Laprovittola drained another triple and assisted Mirotic as Barcelona regained the lead 54-55. A Smits three-pointer pushed the advantage to 58-62 and Mirotic put in a put-back as the guests led 60-66. The score was 64-68 after 30 minutes.
Davies scored the first 4 points of the final frame and the Barcelona lead grew to 64-72. Sant-Roos finally got Panathinaikos on the board after nearly 3 minutes. The Barcelona defense continually got stops and Kuric’s jumper made it 68-76 with under 3 minutes to play. Papapetrou hit an open jumper to trim the deficit to 6 points with 2 minutes remaining only to see Mirotic punch right back with a three-point play to go up 70-79 with 99 seconds left. After a Papagiannis dunk, Mirotic added a fadeaway jumper. The hosts would not go down without a fight with Nedovic hitting a three-pointer and White converting 2 free throws with 30 seconds left to get Panathinaikos within 77-81. The Greens were not done yet with Sant-Roos poking the ball loose from Mirotic and Nedovic throwing down a slam with 20 seconds to make it a 2-point game. After Mirotic free throws, Nedovic banked in a long three-pointer with 4.7 seconds to play, 82-83. Panathinaikos then sent Kuric to the line with 3.5 seconds remaining and the veteran won the game with both foul shots.
Laprovittola making up for Calathes absence
Barcelona continues to get strong play from its point guards with the absence of Nick Calathes. Both Nicolas Laprovittola and Rokas Jokubaitis played well against Panathinaikos, but especially the Argentinean. Laprovittola buried 4 three-pointers in scoring 18 points and also dished out 3 assists and swiped 2 steals while committing only 2 turnovers in 23 minutes of action. The 18 points were the second-most he has scored this season after the 25-point outburst against LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne. Laprovittola has averaged 13.5 points in the last four games to go with 5.3 assists and just 2.0 turnovers.
Nedovic's return nearly leads to win
Nemanja Nedovic really showed how much he means to Panathinaikos OPAP Athens as he came off the bench to score 18 points with 3 three-pointers to go with 4 assists, 1 rebound and 1 steal. Nedovic had missed the last two games for Panathinaikos - a home win against ALBA Berlin and road loss against AX Armani Exchange Milan. You could also see his effort, as he dove on the court at a loose ball in the closing seconds to try to gain possession. But it was just barely not enough for the Greens.
Barcelona uses its second chances
Panathinaikos was not tough enough on the glass as Barcelona took the rebound battle 42-32, including 17 offensive rebounds. That gave the guests a 15-10 advantage on second-chance points. Panathinaikos also struggled from long range, connecting on just 6 of 25 three-pointers (24.0%) while Barcelona drained 9 of 26 from long range (34.6%). Barcelona did not force a high number of Panathinaikos turnovers - just 9 for the hosts. And the Greens took the points off turnovers 14-6.
Thursday, December 16, 2021