Crashing the offensive glass is a big way for a team to overcome a poor offensive night and still grab a win. And that is exactly what Panathinaikos OPAP Athens did in opening its 2020-21 season with a tough road victory over Khimki Moscow Region on Friday night.
Panathinaikos won the rebounding battle 42-35, including 19 offensive rebounds to collect a 76-78 win in Russia. That tied Panathinaikos’ club record for the most offensive boards in a road contest - in no less than 239 games.
The record-tying tally included two big offensive rebounds in the closing stretch to secure the win: first, Georgios Papagiannis put back a miss by Eleftherios Bochoridis to even the game at 73-73 inside the last three minutes. Then Ioannis Papapetrou did the same on a miss by Kostas Mitoglou on the next possession, and added the and-one, giving Panathinaikos a lead it would not surrender.
Zach Auguste corralled four offensive rebounds in just 15 minutes of play while Leonidas Kaselakis picked up five offensive boards in less than 9 minutes on the court to set the tone for the Greens.
Those offensive rebounds proved crucial as Panathinaikos connected on just 5-of-23 three-pointers (21.7%), but used its power on the glass to keep possessions alive. And the Greek side managed to convert when it stayed inside the three-point line, shooting 51.1% on 2-point shots.
In addition to the offensive rebounding, Panathinaikos also used some hard-nosed defense down the stretch to get the win. Missing star shooter Alexey Shved, Khimki also ended up shooting just 5-of-23 (21.7%) from long range, and picked up just 14 points in the fourth quarter. That came after Panathinaikos had wasted a 13-point lead in the first quarter.
"We made mistakes and Khimki came back. But we didn’t give up. We played harder and tried to play better defensively and got all the rebounds, which helped us a lot. And in the end we came out on top," Panathinaikos captain Papapetrou said. And he was certainly right about the rebounds.