Rice leads Panathinaikos past Zalgiris
Panathinaikos OPAP Athens rounded a perfect double round week by downing Zalgiris Kaunas 96-94 in the Greek capital on Friday. Panathinaikos improved to 12-8 to rank 6th in the standings while Zalgiris dropped to 6-14. Tyrese Rice led the winners with 20 points. DeShaun Thomas added 16, Nick Calathes 14, Jimmer Fredette 11 and Ioannis Papapetrou 10 for Panathinaikos. Thomas Walkup and Lukas Lekavicius led Zalgiris with 16 points apiece. KC Rivers added 13, Jock Landale had 11 while Zach LeDay and Edgaras Ulanovas got 10 apiece for the guests. Landale and Arturas Milaknis stepped up early, getting help from an unstoppable LeDay to give Zalgiris a double-digit lead, 13-24. Rice and Georgios Papagiannis rescued Panathinaikos and it was 46-49 at halftime. Rice kept pacing Panathinaikos after the break, before Calathes and Papagiannis took over in the fourth quarter and consecutive three-pointers by Thomas allowed Panathinaikos to seal the game.
Landale got Zalgiris going with a jump hook, getting help from Walkup and Ulanovas for a 2-6 lead. Calathes hit his trademark floater but Milaknis, Ulanovas and Landale each scored around the basket to keep the guests ahead. Thomas stepped up with a layup and Papapetrou added a three-point play but Milaknis struck from downtown, then LeDay took over with a baseline jumper and a huge dunk, before following Lekavicius's jumper with a three-pointer for 13-24. Rice struck from beyond the arc and Jacob Wiley added a tip-in but Rivers buried a triple to give Zalgiris a 18-27 margin after 10 minutes. Thomas and Rivers exchanged baskets early in the second, then Papapetrou took over with an alley-oop layup. Lekavicius scored in penetration but Papapetrou, Rice and Thomas brought the hosts closer, 27-32. Papagiannis scored down low and Rice struck from downtown off an ankle-breaker move to ignite the crowd, but Ulanovas scored in penetration and Nigel Hayes added a triple to give Zalgiris fresh air at 32-40. Rice and Calathes brought Panathinaikos back, then Wesley Johnson downed a three-pointer for 40-41. But Lekavicius had 8 points late in the first half to keep his team ahead, 46-49, at halftime. Fredette and Rivers struck from beyond the arc immediately after the break, then Papapetrou dunked for 51-52. Walkup hit a jumper and a red-hot Rivers buried a three-pointer but Rice answered twice, and then again to complete the host’s comeback, 61-59. LeDay and Walkup helped Zalgiris tie it at 64-64, before Calathes scored off a steal, fed Thomas for a three-pointer and sank a jumper that gave his team a 71-66 margin after 30 minutes. Walkup delivered a reverse layup early in the fourth but Johnson hit a triple, Calathes found Papagiannis for a dunk and soon added a fast break layup for a 78-70 lead. Papagiannis stayed on fire with an alley-oop dunk and a put-back basket for a double-digit game, 82-72. Milaknis and Lekavicius gave Zalgiris hope, 83-78, with under 4 minutes left. But Thomas sank back-to-back corner triples, from the same spot, that seemed to seal the outcome, 89-78. Landale struck twice from beyond the arc, however, Walkup scored again and Hayes added a three-point play for 94-91 with 17.3 seconds to go. Fredette sank free throws before Hayes downed a corner triple to get Zalgiris within 96-94 with 7.5 seconds left. Zalgiris got the steal it needed but could not get a shot up in time.
Tyrese Rice came off the bench and allowed Panathinaikos to stay ahead in the final minutes. He finished with 20 points on 2-of-3 two-point shots, 3-of-5 three-pointers and 7-of-7 free throws, adding 8 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal and 6 fouls drawn for a PIR of 26, all in less than 25 minutes of action.
Thomas Walkup took over with a reverse layup that brought Zalgiris within 71-68 in the first play of the fourth quarter. But then Wesley Johnson struck from downtown and Nick Calathes took over, feeding Georgios Papagiannis for a dunk, finishing a fast break with a layup and finding Papagiannis for a wild alley-oop slam. When Papagiannis scored again, Panathinaikos had a doube-digit lead, 82-72, and full control.
Panathinaikos protected its paint much better in the second half and that allowed the Greek powerhouse to get its win. Zalgiris scored 14-of-18 two-point shots (77.8%) before halftime but just 8-of-18 (44.4%) after the break. Offensive rebounds also made the difference: Panathinaikos grabbed 12 and only allowed Zalgiris to get 5.
Did you notice?
Calathes added 11 assists for his 8th double-double this season, and his second this week. It is the 38th double-double of his career, tying Ioannis Bourousis for second place in the all-time list. Mirsad Turkcan leads the double-double all-time standings with 50.
Both teams return to Turkish Airlines EuroLeague action on Friday, February 24. Panathinaikos hosts LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne at 20:30 CET. A bit earlier, at 19:00 CET, Zalgiris welcomes ALBA Berlin.
Friday, January 17, 2020