Panathinaikos snaps 5-game skid with first win of 2022
Panathinaikos OPAP Athens snapped its five-game losing streak by racing past short-handed Bitci Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz 75-63 for its first EuroLeague win of 2022. Panathinaikos did a good job bouncing back from its heartbreaking loss to Anadolu Efes Istanbul with a defense that allowed just 20 points in the first half. Nemanja Nedovic at the other end led the offense with 16 points while Jeremy Evans scored 14 points and Okaro White chipped in 12 points in helping the Greek side improve to 5-15. Panathinaikos used an 11-0 run early and opened a 16 point lead in the first quarter. The margin grew to 19 points late in the second quarter, to 25 points in the third quarter and as many as 27 points early in the last period. Baskonia was able to get within 13 points but did not have enough in falling to 7-14 with now a three-game losing streak as well as a 2-9 road record. Wade Baldwin IV paced Baskonia with 16 points and 8 assists while Rokas Giedraitis scored 12 points, Simone Fontecchio added 11 and Steven Enoch tallied 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Nedovic opened the scoring for the hosts with a jumper and Enoch’s alley-oop was Baskonia’s first score to make it 4-2. Eleftherios Bochoridis’ triple for Panathinaikos was answered by Giedraitis with a layup to stay within 7-4. But the Spanish side’s offense dried up, going scoreless for nearly 4 minutes while White and Evans combined for 9 points in an 11-0 run as the lead grew to 18-4. Fontecchio snapped the rut only to have Evans drain a three-pointer and Panathinaikos led 22-8 after 10 minutes.
Jayson Granger was first to score in the second quarter for the guests before Stefan Jovic hit a three-pointer for his first points for Panathinaikos, which led 27-10. Giedraitis converted an and-one and Baldwin scored to get Baskonia within 29-17. Panathinaikos called a timeout and then kept the guests scoreless for more than 4 minutes as two Evans scores and a White three-pointer pushed the advantage to 38-20 at the break.
Nedovic made sure Panathinaikos had a good start to the second half with a three-pointer. Granger did hit a triple at the other end for the visiting team's first connection from long range to make it 43-25. Ioannis Papapetrou converted a three-point play at the other end and Panathinaikos surged ahead by 25 points - 50-25. Giedraitis managed two three-pointers and Baskonia failed to score in the final 3 minutes of the quarter, trailing 57-32 after 30 minutes.
Leonidas Kaselakis opened the scoring in the final frame to increase the lead to 27 points. Baldwin and Enoch both hit three-pointers as Baskonia started to score a bit more consistently and pull within 20 points - 64-44. Nedovic countered with two scores to make it 70-46 with under 5 minutes left. Baskonia did not just lie down, creating a couple of turnovers while Vanja Marinkovic and Alejandro Barrera both hit three-pointers in a 0-11 run to pull within 70-57. But Jovic punched back with a three-pointer with 2 minutes to play to end the comeback hopes.
Jovic plays first EuroLeague game for Greens
Panathinaikos finally welcomed Stefan Jovic to the line-up as the Serbian played his first game for the Greens after being announced on January 7. The 31-year-old playmaker entered the game for the first time with 3:04 minutes left in the first quarter - with a warm welcome from the fans. And his first points came on a three-pointer a minute into the second quarter. Jovic’s other basket pretty much iced the game – a three-pointer after Baskonia had scored 11 straight points to pull within 13 points with under 3 minutes to play. Jovic finished the game with 6 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists for a performance index rating of 10 in 19 minutes of action.
Baskonia with worst-ever first half
Baskonia had a first 20 minutes to forget - in fact it was a historically bad first half as the visiting team scored just 20 points before the break, the worst first 20 minutes offensively in a EuroLeague game for the Spanish club. The Basques were three times held to just 21 points in the first half - most recently in the 2016-17 season, also against Panathinaikos Athens. It was also the club’s second-worst half scoring wise as the team managed just 16 points in the second half against Anadolu Efes Istanbul on November 1, 2012.
Telling numbers - Baskonia offense can’t make up for first half
Baskonia’s nightmare first half was too much to come back from. The Spanish team made just 8-of-24 two-pointers (33.3%) in the first 20 minutes while also missing all 13 of its three-point attempts. For the game, Baskonia ended up hitting 6-of-26 triples for 23.1% and also shot just 43.5% on 2-pointers. The team couldn’t really make up for lost points on the line either as Baskonia only attempted 6 free throws - making five of them. Otherwise, Baskonia was not too bad, winning the rebound battle 38-37 and committing only 7 turnovers.
Friday, January 28, 2022