Calathes, Panathinaikos hold off Efes
Panathinaikos OPAP Athens got back to the winning ways, holding off visiting Anadolu Efes Istanbul 88-75 on Friday night in the Greek capital. Panathinaikos snapped a three-game losing streak, and improved to 9-12, one game out of the last playoff place. Efes dropped to 13-8, still in the fourth place in the standings. Nick Calathes fueled the Greens while flirting with a triple-double, collecting 20 points, 13 assists and 8 rebounds in victory. DeShaun Thomas had 14 points and 6 rebounds, Sean Kilpatrick scored 13, and James Gist collected 11 points and 10 rebounds. Rodrigue Beaubois netted 15 points, Krunoslav Simon added 14, and Tibor Pleiss scored 13 points for Efes.
Panathinaikos started pulling away early, as Kilpatrick hit a triple, and Calathes scored 9 points for a 16-12 lead. Pleiss opened his account by knocking down a pair of baseline jumpers, but Matt Lojeski hit two jumpers, too, giving the hosts a 24-16 lead after 10 minutes, before Lojeski extended it to double digits on the opening possession of the second quarter. Efes responded with James Anderson, Vasilije Micic and Shane Larkin knocking down consecutive three-pointers, and another baseline jumper from Pleiss cut it to 32-30. But the Greens stepped it up on defense, not allowing a field goal for almost 5 full minutes, while Calathes facilitated an 8-0 run, capped by a banked shot from Kilpatrick to make it 40-30. Efes managed to halve the deficit, with Anderson hitting a last-second corner triple to make it 42-37 at halftime, but Calathes fueled a 9-0 run, capped by a Kilpatrick triple, that opened a 51-37 lead. A second-chance dunk from Thomas helped extend it to 57-38, as Efes needed almost 4 minutes to score its first field goal of the half. However, the visitors were far from done. Adrien Moerman fueled a quick 8-0 run that cut it to 57-46, before Efes went on another run, this time 10-0, which featured a pair of threes from Beaubois that helped made it 61-56 going into the fourth quarter. Simon hit from outside and Pleiss made one inside to make it 63-61, but Calathes scored all the points in a 7-0 run to give Panathinaikos breathing room. A jumper from Beaubois got Efes within 72-68, but a monster dunk by Gist sparked a 9-0 run, during which Kilpatrick had a three-point play, as Panathinaikos restored a double digit margin. A basket-plus foul from Gist and an alley-oop dunk from Thanasis Antetokounmpo opened a 86-70 lead in the penultimate minute, sealing the deal.
Panathinaikos opened the second half with a 15-1 run to open a 57-38 lead. Efes replied with a 2-18 spurt to cut it to 59-56 late in the third quarter. The Greens had the final say, however, with a 14-2 run that turned a 72-68 lead into a 86-70 margin with 1:30 to go.
It was the best game of the season and one of the best in his career for Nick Calathes, who was everywhere and did everything in this game. During a 9-0 run to open the third quarter he had a three-pointer and dished an assist for each of the other 3 baskets, while also grabbing 2 rebounds. And, when Efes came awfully close, it was his personal 7-0 fourth quarter run that opened a 70-61 lead. He finished two rebounds shy of a triple-double.
Moving up assists charts
This was eighth time this season Calathes dished 10 or more assists, and on this night he moved past his countryman Nikos Zisis into eighth place all time with 893 assists.
Different game plans
Panathinaikos made more two-point shots (shot 33 of 55) than Efes even attempted (made 17 of 31). However, the hosts shot just 13 triples (4 made), while Efes fired 33 three-point attempts, making 10.
Next week in Round 22, Efes returns home to play Herbalife Gran Canaria, while Panathinaikos goes on the road to face the league leader Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul.
Friday, February 1, 2019