Georgios Papagiannis has shown glimpses of his potential throughout the season. But the Panathinaikos OPAP Athens big man had not yet put together a game quite like he did against Zenit St Petersburg - especially in the third quarter.
Papagiannis played a huge role in helping Panathinaikos snap a five-game losing streak by collecting 18 points, 13 rebounds and 4 blocks for a performance index rating of 31 in the team’s 70-64 win over Zenit.
Looking at the 24-year-old’s stats from the first half makes the final boxscore that much more impressive as he had 2 points and 2 rebounds in the first 20 minutes of action.
“I just said the first half wasn’t very good for me. I didn’t help my team at all. My teammates really got me back in the game. I tried to collect rebounds, first of all. And then we got a really important win for us,” he said after the game.
Papagiannis was a true force in the third quarter. He threw down back-to-back alley-oop dunks and then a little jumper in the lane to put the Greens ahead 41-40. He then blocked two shots on the defensive end and followed with another alley-oop dunk for a 48-42 cushion.
Papagiannis blocked a third shot and then - after missing 4 straight free throws, made up for them with a putback dunk after Alex Poythress blocked Howard Sant-Roos’s layup attempt. He ended the third quarter with 10 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocks.
Papagiannis scored the first basket of the fourth quarter and was subbed out with a minor leg injury after falling on that score. He did not have as much impact until the final stages.
Up 64-62, he grabbed a big defensive rebound with 67 seconds left. Then with the shot clock at just 0.9 seconds on an inbounds play, Papagiannis put in an alley-oop pass from Ioannis Papapetrou to make it 66-62 with 44 seconds remaining. He added two more free throws and then blocked the final shot of the game.
Papagiannis’ 18 points were a season-high and equaled his career mark, while the 13 rebounds were the second-most this season. He registered his season-best with 4 blocks and his PIR of 31 was 3 more than his previous career-high.
If Papagiannis can put together more all-around games like this, he could help Panathinaikos to many more wins this season.