Calathes-paced Greens hold off Valencia
Nick Calathes flirted with a triple-double once again and helped Panathinaikos OPAP Athens hold off visiting Valencia Basket 91-80 on Friday night in the Greek capital. The win improved the Greens to a 4-3 record, while Valencia dropped to 1-6 on the season. Panathinaikos pulled away early in the fourth quarter and held on led by Calathes who was just one assist shy of his second triple-double, collecting 13 points, 12 rebounds and 9 assists in victory, while DeShaun Thomas led the Greens in scoring with 19 points. Tyrese Rice scored 14, Jimmer Fredette had 12 and Wesley Johnson netted 11. For the visitors, Jordan Loyd shined with 27 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds and 2 steals, Bojan Dubljevic scored 11, and Quino Colom had 10 assists in a losing effort.
Panathinaikos took control early with Fredette and Thomas fueling a 9-0 run, but Colom had a triple and Louis Labeyrie a three-point play to help the visitors take 11-13 lead. But Fredette replied with his second three-pointer, and Johnson capped a 10-0 run with a triple of his own, as Panathinaikos held a 26-18 lead after 10 minute. Vanja Marinkovic hit a downtown shot to start the second quarter, and Dubljevic scored twice inside, but Nikos Pappas had two triples, and dished an assist for a Georgios Papagiannis alley-oop dunk, extending the margin to 38-25. Colom strung together 7 points for Valencia, including a three-pointer, but Calathes had a three-point play and Fredette a circus-shot to help keep the lead in double figures, 45-35 at halftime. Valencia needed 2 minutes to catch up in the third quarter, helped by a baseline dunk from Dubljevic and a triple apiece from Loyd and Fernando San Emeterio to cut within 49-46. Thomas knocked down a triple for the hosts, and Calathes scored inside twice, but Guillem Vives and Dubljeivc hit threes, before Loyd nailed back-to-back from downtown to give Valencia 61-62 lead. The Greens, however, did take 68-64 lead into the fourth quarter thanks in part to effort from Ioannis Papapaterou and his three-point play before a transition triple from Thomas opened 73-64 early in the fourth, capping a 12-2 run. Back-to-back triples from Johnson and Rice increased the lead to 79-69, but Loyd and Valencia refused to go away. However, a corner three from Johnson with 1:22 to go made it 85-76, sealing the deal.
Triple double alert
Nick Calathes had a triple-double in the final regular season game last season, and almost got his second one in this one. There have been just three triple-doubles in the EuroLeague this century, two by Maccabi's Nikola Vujcic in November of 2005 and November of 2006, and last year's by Calathes.
Jordan Loyd stars
Valencia is going home with its sixth defeat this season, but Jordan Loyd had a fantastic performance with 27 points shooting 5-for-7 two-pointers, 3-for-3 from three-point range and 8-for-9 free throws, along with 8 assists and 5 rebounds, adding up to a club record PIR of 41.
Offensive boards denied
Valencia entered the game averaging 10.9 offensive rebounds but the two teams combined for less than that in this one. Panathinaikos held Valencia to just 4 offensive boards in this one, and the Greens were not that much better, pulling down just 6.
Nikos Pappas made his first EuroLeague appearance since January of last season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during a practice. Pappas had two three-pointers and an assist during a 5-minute span in the second quarter, and did not play in the second half.
Next week in Round 8 both teams will be at home. Panathinaikos will welcome ALBA Berlin (1-6) on Thursday, and Valencia will host FC Bayern Munich (3-4) on Friday.
Friday, November 8, 2019