One of the big storylines of Panathinaikos OPAP Athens’ big 83-95 road victory over AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan was the redemption of Deshaun Thomas in the second half.
Panathinaikos head coach Rick Pitino was disappointed in his veteran forward drawing a personal foul and then a technical foul for complaining with 6 minutes left in the second quarter, saddling Thomas with 3 fouls so early in a crucial game.
"The technical foul changed the momentum of a game that we had control of," Pitino said at halftime. "A veteran cannot have a technical foul in that situation. That was a crucial mistake by a veteran."
Just the same, Pitino had Thomas start the second half, and the 27-year-old responded by scoring 13 of his 15 points after that. He did so by making 5 of 7 shots, including 2 three-pointers without a miss, and also grabbed 4 of his 5 rebounds in the final 20 minutes.
All the while, Thomas avoided fouling out of the game, as he finished with 4 fouls committed and drew 5 fouls after the break.
It was Thomas's ninth straight game with at least 12 points, and his performance in the second half drew the praise of his coach.
"Deshaun responded well to that technical foul. He came out with vengeance," Pitino said after the game.
Indeed, if his veteran forward had a lapse of judgement in the first half, in the second he showed how a veteran forward plays in big games.