Tavares, Abalde down Panathinaikos and lead Real to third win
In a battle of classic powerhouses, Real Madrid remained undefeated at home by topping Panathinaikos OPAP Athens 88-65 in the Spanish capital on Friday. Alberto Abalde and Sergio Llull each struck from downtown late in the first quarter to give Real a double-digit lead, 30-18, after 10 minutes. Abalde kept pacing Real, getting help from Thomas Heurtel to keep the hosts way ahead, 42-30, at halftime. Daryl Macon stepped up for Panathinaikos but Walter Tavares and Fabien Causeur gave Los Blancos a 62-46 margin late in the third quarter. Nothing changed after that, as Real cruised to a well-deserved win. Tavares led the winners with 17 points and 9 rebounds. Abalde added 16 points, Guerschon Yabusele had 14 and Vincent Poirier 10 for Real. Macon led Panathinaikos with 18 points, while Georgios Papagiannis added 12 and Kendrick Perry 10. Real improved to 3-1 while Panathinaikos dropped to 1-3.
Real raced into a fast start with a pair of inside scores from Yabusele establishing a 6-3 lead despite a triple from Macon. The home team then enjoyed an 8-0 tear with Tavares scoring 5 points in a row before Abalde struck from deep. A pair of close-range scores from Papagiannis got Panathinaikos moving, and Perry struck a pair of three-pointers to make it 19-13. But Real roared ahead into another double-digit lead, 30-18, before the end of the first as Abalde and then Llull, with a buzzer-beater, both hit from long-range. Jeffery Taylor started the second quarter with corner three, but the scoring then slowed down dramatically and it took more than six minutes for the next field goal as Ioannis Papapetrou hit a three-pointer. Macon added a transition layup to make it 35-23, but Heurtel responded from deep and Abalde added a fierce slam. Panathinaikos finished the first half strong through baskets from Papapetrou and Papagiannis, making it 42-30 at the break.
Macon stepped up with a fast break layup soon after the break and Papagiannis brought the guests within single digits, 43-34. Tavares rescued Real with an alley-oop slam and a layup but Macon and Okaro White got Panathinaikos even closer, 47-39. Yabusele and Tavares each dunked in a 6-0 run that gave the hosts plenty of fresh air at 53-39. Macon kept pacing Panathinaikos with 7 quick points but Causeur struck from downtown and added a fast break layup for a 60-46 Real margin. Poirier hit a jump hook but Papapetrou and Jehyve Floyd kept the guests within 62-50 after 30 minutes. Llull and Jeremy Evans exchanged three-pointers early in the fourth quarter, and Poirier took over with a three-point play that kept Real way ahead, 68-55. Rudy Fernandez joined the three-point shootout before Eleftherios Mantzoukas tried to change things with a layup-plus-foul, but Fernandez insisted from beyond the arc. Panathinaikos kept trying but Real kept a safe margin all the way until the final buzzer.
Abalde: big against the Greens
Alberto Abalde was once again decisive as Real Madrid overcame Panathinaikos. Abalde finished the game with 14 points on 3-of-3 three-pointers, 4 rebounds and a PIR of 16, and it was not the first time he has played a decisive role against the Greens. Last season, his first with Real, Abalde had 15 of his 19 points in the two overtimes that Real needed to get a 93-97 win in the Greek capital. It was a turning point for Abalde, and his highest-scoring EuroLeague game with Los Blancos. This season, Abalde had combined for 9 points in 3 EuroLeague games until tonight, but shined against the Green Giant.
Rebounds, intimidation help Real win
Real did not find much trouble to defeat Panathinaikos, protecting its paint really well and heavily outrebounding its opponents to cruise to an 88-65 victory. Panathinaikos shot the ball well from downtown (45.0% 2FG) and the foul line (94.1%), but struggled inside the arc. The Greens hit just 11-of-36 two-point shots, and had the second-worst percentage (30.6%) in more tan 500 EuroLeague games in club history. It only shot with a worse percentage (20.6%) against FC Barcelona in a 55-56 road win on January 10, 2008. On Friday night Madrid also won the battle on the boards by 42-29, pulling down 13 offensive boards and allowing just 8.
13 in a row for Real against Panathinaikos
By downing Panathinaikos, Real registered its 11th consecutive home win against the Greek powerhouse and 13th in a row overall. The Greens' last win in Madrid came on March 21, 2013, 73-74, behind 16 points from Kostas Tsartsaris and 14 from Dimitris Diamantidis. That was Coach Pablo Laso's only home loss against Panathinaikos in Madrid. OIn Friday, he improved to 12-1 against the Greek powerhouse on the night of his 54th birthday. Real and Panathinaikos have faced each other as many as 44 times in European basketball history. Real now has a 29-15 edge. But despite combining for 16 EuroLeague titles, Real and Panathinaikos have never played against each other in the Final Four!
Friday, October 15, 2021