Real needs 2OT to win in Athens
Real Madrid survived a double-overtime thriller to edge Panathinaikos OPAP Athens 93-97 at OAKA on Tuesday night. Real grabbed its third straight win – and 11th in a row against its Greek opponent – to improve to 9-5 on the season. Panathinaikos dropped its second in a row at home to fall to 4-9. Real led by as many as 14 in the second half before Nemanja Nedovic sparked a comeback. The Greens had the ball for the last shot at both the end of regulations and the first overtime period, but came away empty both times. Walter Tavares played a career-high 41 minutes and set a personal-best with a performance index rating of 36 after combining 20 points and 14 rebounds to lead the winners. Alberto Abalde was the hero of the overtimes with 15 points and 3 assists over the game's final 10 minutes; he finished with 19 points and 6 assists. Anthony Randolph added 18 points, Trey Thompkins scored 12 and Jaycee Carroll 11. Nedovic finished with 27 points for Panathinaikos, Ioannis Papapetrou tallied 18 points and 7 rebounds, Georgios Papagiannis scored 14 and Ben Bentil 13 in defeat.
Both teams missed on their first few times down the court before Abalde got Real on the scoreboard with a jumper. Papagiannis dunked twice and blocked a pair of shots as the Greens took the lead, 11-6. Abalde briefly tied the score with free throws, but Dinos Mitoglou's put-back got Panathinaikos back in front. A three by Randolph drew the visitors within 15-14 after 10 minutes. Tavares and Randolph scored the first baskets of the second quarter as Los Blancos went in front. A three by Thompkins stretched the lead to 17-23. Bentil's netted a three-point play and a basket in the post to bring the hosts within 22-23 midway through the second quarter. Fabien Causeur netter a pair of reverse layups to keep Real in front despite the continued effectiveness of Bentil. Papapetrou nailed a three-pointer to even the score at 29-29. Baskets by Tavares and Thompkins gave Real a 29-33 edge to take into the locker room at halftime.
Tavares scored on Real's first two possessions of the second half – including a three-point play. Randolph scored on the break and with a short jumper to cap a 2-10 start to the second half that prompted a Panathinaikos timeout at 31-43. Papagiannis tried to get the Greens going with a pair of jumpers, however, Randolph heated up and extended the lead. Threes by Papapetrou and Nedovic narrowed the gap to 10 and Bentil made it 48-56 at the end of the third quarter. The momentum remained with the hosts as Nedovic completed a three-point play and Mitoglou added a layup to narrow the gap to 55-58 early in the fourth. Nedovic connected from behind the arc to bring the Greens within 58-60. Carroll kept Real in front, though a free throw by Marcus Foster got the gap to 61-62. Jumpers by Randolph and Sergio Llull gave Real some breathing room, but Nedovic hit right back with a three-point play before Papapetrou's runner in the lane tied it at 66-66 with 3 minutes remaining. Nedovic free throws gave Panathinaikos its first lead since the first quarter. Real missed from downtown on five consecutive possessions, but managed to deny the hosts on defense and on the last of those missed threes, Sergio Lull's put-back tied the game at 68-68 with 14.1 seconds on the clock. Nedovic was unable to get a shot off on the final possession of regulation and the teams prepared for overtime.
Papagiannis won the opening tip and Papapetrou struck from downtown. Nedovic fed Papagiannis for an alley-oop slam and a 5-point lead. A three by Thompkins got Real within 75-74 with 2 minutes remaining. Abalde, who earlier in the overtime period drew Howard Sant-Roos's fifth foul, sank a jumper in the lane – and the three throw that came with it – to put Real ahead. Free throws by Nedovic tied it at 77-77 with 37 seconds on the clock. Abalde scored a tough contested layup with 20 seconds to put the visitors in front. That's when Eleftherios Bochoridis stepped up with 2 free throws to tie it before drawing an offensive foul from Llull. After Papapetrou missed a desperation three on the buzzer, the teams went into a second overtime.
Rudy Fernandez scored his first point of the game with a free throw a minute into the second overtime period. Tavares scored down low, but Nedovic tied it at 82-82 with his third triple of the game. Abalde hit back from downtown with 2:50 to go. After Papagiannis's alley-oop dunk, Abalde made a pair of free throws. Nedovic split foul shots at the other end to make it 85-87. Abalde found Thompkins for a layup and – after Nedovic missed from downtown - Gabriel Deck added free throws to give Real control at 85-91 with 1:11 on the clock. Papapetrou came to the rescue with a jumper in the lane, a steal and a free throw with 40.8 seconds left to get the hosts within 3. Abalde drained the clock and hit a short jumper for an 88-93 lead with 18.6 to go. The hosts struck quickly with a Papagiannis slam, but time became the enemy. Nedovic gave the Greens hope with a three that made it 93-95 with 3.1 seconds left, but Real got the ball to Abalde, who was fouled and iced the game from the line.
Real Madrid trusted birthday boy Alberto Abalde down the stretch and he did not disappoint. Abalde went for 15 points and 3 assists in the two overtime periods alone. He scored the last 5 points of the first overtime to give Real the lead late. He sank a go-ahead three in the second overtime and scored the final 4 points to put the game away. The 25-year-old finished with 19 points, 4 rebounds and 6 assists in compiling a career-high performance index rating of 24.
Did you notice?
Real prevailed despite making just 6 of 33 three-pointers. Its 18.2% from behind the arc was the team's worst three-point shooting night since Game 1 of the 2018 playoffs, which it lost 95-67 against Panathinaikos in OAKA. Real made just 3 of 19 (15.8%) in that game. That was the Greens' last win over Real, which has now won 11 in a row versus Panathinaikos.
The two teams both play again this week, though there will be no travel involved. Panathinaikos hosts ALBA Berlin on Thursday night in Round 15. Real visits Olympiacos Piraeus the following day.
Tuesday, December 15, 2020