2006-07Regular SeasonRound 1
October 24, 2006 CET: 00:00

Panathinaikos rallied from 24 points down to defeat DKV Joventut 79-82

A favorite to go far in the Euroleague this season pulled off a show-stopping comeback in the opening game as Panathinaikos rallied from 24 points down in the first half to defeat DKV Joventut 79-82 on Tuesday in Badalona, Spain. The Greens got their first lead of the game in the next-to-last minute after having trailed late in the first half trailed by 48-24. The second half was a lot different, but not until a three-pointer by Dimitris Diamantidis bounced high and fell in with 1 minute, 20 seconds left did the Greens have their first lead, 75-76. Diamantidis then made a steal and hit a key free throw down the stretch to help seal the victory. Panathinaikos goes to 1-0 in Group B while Joventut starts 0-1. The historic Palau Olimpic was electric from the opening tip of the season as Joventut blasted off for huge first-half leads, but Panathinaikos comeback proved one of the biggest in Euroleague history. Mike Batiste led the winners with 23 points, while Dimitris Diamantidis added 17, Tony Delk 13 and Dejan Tomasevic 11. For Joventut, Elmer Bennett poured in 21 points, Andrew Betts 15 and Rudy Fernandez 14.

Panathinaikos coach Zeljko Obradovic got a standing ovation from Joventut fans who remembered him leading their club to the 1994 Euroleague title, but before long, his old team made his night difficult. Bennett scored the first points in the 2006-07 Euroleague on a three-pointer from the top of the circle before Andrew Betts added a reverse layup for a 5-0 Joventut lead. The Greens got on the board when Diamantidis found space for a driving layup. Bennett answered from downtown and Mike Batiste scored in the paint for the visitors. Lubos Barton hit a low-post jump hook then Bennett fed Charles Gaines for an alley-oop dunk that forced Panathinaikos to call timeout at 12-4. Ricky Rubio entered for the hosts, becoing the first Euroleague player born in the 1990s, while the Greens tried to slow the tempo and attack the basket. Free throws by Kostas Tsartsaris and Diamantidis ignited a 0-5 run that Nikos Hatzivrettas capped with a fast break dunk, but Rubio stepped up with an alley-oop layup for a 14-9 Joventut lead. Batiste and Betts exchanged layups before Tony Delk brought the guests within 16-13. Fernandez buried his first three-pointer for Joventut, Batiste answered with free throws, but Robert Archibald bettered him with a basket-plus-free throw. Fernandez scored on a backdoor pass from Archibald that Tomasevic erased with a close basket. A three-point play by Ferran Laviña and free throws by Tomasevic fixed the score at 27-20 after 10 minutes, by which time 19 players had already been on the court.

Diamantidis stepped up with an electric driving layup to start the second quarter while Rubio showed his defensive skills by drawing a charge on Delk. That allowed Archibald to work his way in the paint for an easy basket which Betts followed with a short jumper for a 31-22 Joventut lead. Barton had a monster block on Diamantidis and then matched Tomasevic's tip-in with a power layup. By the time Betts scored again in the paint, Joventut had an 11-point lead, 35-24, after 14 minutes. Bennett picked up his third foul and returned to the bench but Joventut really focused now, especially on defense. Betts kept pacing the hosts with a third-chance layup while Marcelinho Huertas hit a running jumper to make the Greens call timeout at 39-24. Joventut kept rolling, however, as Paco Vazquez's seven-meter bomb and Barton's follow-up layup made it a 20-point game, 44-24. Betts sank another jump hook, as Panathinaikos went scoreless for a fifth consecutive minute with 4 missed free throws in a row. Huertas made 2 from the line to cap a 19-0 Joventut run that doubles the Greens on the scoreboard, 48-24. Sani Becirovic finally hit a triple and Batiste beat the buzzer with another from downtown to bring Panathinaikos within 48-30 at halftime.

Gaines stayed active early in the second half with a power layup but Batiste bettered him with a fallaway jumper and the free throw that came with it. Fernandez shined with a catch-and-shoot triple but the Greens were a different team now. Diamantidis scored around the basket while Batiste sank a jumper to make it 53-37. Joventut could not find the basket and Bennett returned to court to solve his team's problems. Delk fired one corner triple to get the Greens even closer, and even after Bennett stepped up with an acrobatic jumper, Delk hit one from the other corner to pull Panathinaikos within 55-43. After a Joventut timeout, Tomasevic kept the Greens going with a basket to close a 2-12 run. Fernandez came to the rescue with his third three-pointer but Delk - who else? - answered from downtown for Panathinaikos and Becirovic hit a technical free throw to bring the Greens within single digits, 58-49. Bennett shined with a long jumper but Diamantidis answered with an outstanding layup-plus-free throw. Joventut did not panic, however, as Archibald hit a jumper and Bennett made free throws for a 64-54 Joventut lead after three quarters.

Joventut needed to keep full control of the game early in the opening period. Bennett followed free throws with a big three-pointer to restore a 15-point Joventut margin, 69-54. Batiste kept pacing Panathinaikos with a three-point play, as Joventut used a small lineup with Barton at power forward. Betts hit another jump hook - his first points in this half - which Diamantidis matched with free throws. Joventut faced severe foul trouble when Bennett picked up his fourth foul with 7 minutes to go. Panathinaikos made the most out of it, as Batiste hit free throws while Delk grabbed a loose ball and scored inside to give the Greens some hope at 71-63. Panathinaikos was a different team in defense now while Tomasevic's three-point play got the guests back into the game, 71-66. Joventut had called a much-needed timeout but Becirovic nailed a triple for a 71-69 Panathinaikos deficit, after a 0-12 run. Betts hit a free throw but Hatzivrettas hit a jumper for a 72-71 edge with 3 minutes remaining. Bennett made 1 of 2 free throws for Joventut while a red hot Hatzivrettas tied the game, 73-73. Bennett hit a critical jumper already in the final 2 minutes but Diamantidis hit a big triple which went up, fell down and gave Panathinaikos its first lead of the night, 75-76. Joventut missed conseutive offenses already in the final minute, while Diamantidis hit 1 of 2 free throws with 17 seconds to go. Panathinaikos opted to foul on Betts, who missed twice from the free throw line while Batiste made both attempts to seal a big win in come-from-behind fashion!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006
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Attendance: 5138
By Quarter1234
DKV Joventut27211615
Panathinaikos Athens20102428
End of Quarter1234
DKV Joventut27486479
Panathinaikos Athens20305482
DKV Joventut
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
4 HUERTAS, MARCELINHO 7:15 4 1/2   2/2       1   1       2 5
5 FERNANDEZ, RUDY 25:45 14 1/3 4/6     2 2 3   5     2 2 10
6 BENNETT, ELMER 20:15 21 3/3 3/3 6/8 1   1 2 1 2     5 6 22
9 VAZQUEZ, PACO 16:00 3 0/1 1/2   1   1     2     3 2 -1
10 ARCHIBALD, ROBERT 7:00 7 3/4   1/1       1   2     3 2 4
11 BARTON, LUBOS 31:00 6 3/8 0/3   2 4 6 2 2 2 1   1 1 7
15 SULLIVAN, ANDREW 1:15           1 1     1     1   -1
18 LAVINA, FERRAN 14:00 3 1/2   1/1   4 4 1   1     1 1 6
20 FLIS, DIMITRI 9:30           2 2 1   1 1   1   2
32 RUBIO, RICKY 12:30 2 1/1       1 1 1 3 4     2 3 4
41 GAINES, CHARLES 26:45 4 2/5     2 5 7 1   1 1 1 1 2 9
51 BETTS, ANDY 28:45 15 7/10   1/4 3 2 5     2 1   4 2 11
Team             3 3   2 2         3
Totals 200:00 79 22/39 8/14 11/16 9 24 33 13 8 26 4 1 24 23 81
        56.4% 57.1% 68.8%
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
Panathinaikos Athens
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
4 ALVERTIS, FRAGISKOS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
5 DELK, TONY 25:45 13 2/9 3/4     1 1 1 2 3   1 2   3
7 BECIROVIC, SANI 20:00 8 0/4 2/4 2/4 1 1 2 3 2 1     3 1 4
8 BATISTE, MIKE 23:00 25 7/8 1/2 8/10 4 3 7   1   1   2 6 34
9 SISKAUSKAS, RAMUNAS 13:00   0/2 0/1                       -3
10 HATZIVRETTAS, NIKOS 28:15 7 3/6 0/1 1/2 1   1 1 3     1 3 1 4
11 DIKOUDIS, DIMOS 9:45   0/2 0/1             3   1 3   -10
12 TSARTSARIS, KOSTAS 22:15 1 0/2 0/1 1/2   1 1 2 1 1     2 3 1
13 DIAMANTIDIS, DIMITRIS 32:45 17 4/8 1/1 6/7 3 3 6 2 2 5   1 3 8 21
14 XANTHOPOULOS, VASSILIS 0:15                         1   -1
15 TOMASEVIC, DEJAN 21:00 11 4/5   3/3 1 3 4 1 1 1     4 3 14
19 JAVTOKAS, ROBERTAS 4:00       0/2 1   1             1  
Team           2 5 7   2 1       1 9
Totals 200:00 82 20/46 7/15 21/30 13 17 30 10 14 15 1 4 23 24 76
        43.5% 46.7% 70%
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Head Coaches

DKV Joventut
"It is clearly a dissapointment to lose this way after playing a magnificent first half and then see ourselves much worse in the second. We had some bad luck like they three-pointer they made at the end of the first half and again with the triple that gave them the lead that went up and finally fell in, but the bad luck is just part of the disappointment. If we think coolly about the game, we know now that we have the capacity to win games in the Euroleague. We have to work harder in the sense that we have to keep calm and keep playing hard. A team can't play at its maximum always, but there can a level of effort you down go below to keep things like this from going too far down.

"We committed a lot of turnovers because Panathinaikos plays a strong, physical style we are not used to, but if this is the style of game we're going to see, we have to do the work to deal with it. We have to think of how we can improve in that aspect. I want to analyze it calmly later, but the pressure of their body-to-body defense I don't think was all that made us tired. In addition to physical tiredeness, there was the aspect of us thinking we were way ahead and maybe playing softer because of it. Part of it was mental. But overall we can be optimistic after this test against Panathinaikos. We had the chance to win and know we have options to reach this level and win."
Panathinaikos Athens
"I am very touched, because after so many years I came back here with my team and people welcomed be back in the most incredible way. I want to thank everybody for that. About the game, we played very very different halves. Joventut played an excellent game and I really mean that. We played a bad game, but mainly because Joventut played well. We prepared the game knowing that they would be aggressive in defense, that is their game style. This is what we also do in every training, with a lot of pressing. However, we committed a lot of turnovers and Joventut did not allow to take a single open shot in the second quarter. Everything changed in the second half, we played way better, especially in defense, and using well our qualities in offense. I asked my team at halftime to fight and try to change the picture. We had the luck to win the game, when it comes to a game like this you have to be a bit lucky with free throws".

"I have to congratulate Joventut, they are playing at a very high level, I told (Joventut head coach) Aito before and after the game, they are doing a great work. I have to congratulate my team, too, since we fought hard to get to a situation to win the game, and not many teams will win in this court. Joventut has not lost any of the last 18 games and that means something. This is also a message for everyone who consider us favourites. Even when the Final Four is in Athens, we are very, very far away and we have a tough road in front of us. I hope my players will stop talking about the Final Four and think on the following games. A lot of people talk about the Final Four, but there are a lot of teams with a lot of talent, and Joventut showed it tonight".

"I remember situations in finals when you tell players who have experience that you don't want a foul and then they go and commit one, so experience doesn't answer for everything. When you talk about luck, in the inbounds after our timeout, we had Tomasevic open under the basket, but the ball went outside to Diamantidis instead. He took the shot and it bounced up and fell in. It was not designed for him, but basketball is like that sometimes".


Panathinaikos Athens
"We let them do what they wanted in the first half, they set the game rhythm, with a lot of running game and no defense, but in the second half, we wanted to change the picture, no matter if we won or lost and in the end we were fortunate enough to bring home a big, big win. It is not easy to come back from 24 points, but especially in this court because they have an excellent crowd and an excellent team. We believed in ourselves and this is the most important thing. No matter what happened in the first half, we believed that we could come back and we did it."
Panathinaikos Athens
"It wasn't an easy game for us. We didn't have a good start, and they started to play the way they have been doing this season, at a very strong level. We started to improve in defense, we found some easy baskets, we found our rhythm and use our experience to win the game, but if we play like this, we will not go far in the competition. Our goal this season is making it to the Final Four and this team has been built for that, with a lot of experience and 15 good players. I am sure we are all in this great club for a reason, but we cannot play like we did in the first half to we want to accomplish that goal."
Panathinaikos Athens
"It was a very difficuly game for us. Joventut had not lost in this building since January. Playing here is very difficult, we had some problems in the first half, but we showed the true spirit of Panathinaikos in the second half and we fought. No matter if we lost, we wanted to lose fighting, not by 20 points. We came away with a win, and this is what we have to do every night. Joventut play in the Spanish League, one of the best in Europe, so they have experience in big games, but we fought harder and came away with a very big win."
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