Sweet victory for Greens over Efes

By George Georgakopoulos

Panathinaikos made it three out of three in the second group stage of the Euroleague thrashing Turkey’s Anadolu Efes 78-64 at the Olympic Sports Hall in Athens on Friday. The Greens are now joint top of the table with Barcelona.

Anadolu Efes came well-prepared for the game, given it now has a Greek coach, Vangelis Angelou, but the only period it had the lead in the game was for a couple of minutes toward the end of the first half.

With 13,000 fans behind them, the Greek champions had the upper hand throughout the first quarter of the game (23-21) but ran into problems with the Turkish defense in the second, with the visitors temporarily getting a slim lead.

Panathinaikos had problems with the slow pace of the game and made none out of seven three-pointers in the second period, but Mike Batiste kept the host in the game and gifted it a slender first-half lead (37-36).

As usual the Greens tightened up their defense in the second half to lead by 13 points seven minutes from the end (67-54), with Dimitris Diamantidis and Ramel Curry bringing the game up to the Greens’ favorite pace and producing some spectacular assists for James Gist and Stephane Lasme.

That great all-around performance in the second half saw Panathinaikos secure a 14-point win in the end that did not only preserve the team’s perfect record in the second group stage but also gave it a head start should it end up level on points with Efes, and secured the best possible morale ahead of the derby of eternal rivals on Monday against Olympiakos at home.

Diamantidis stood out with 17 points and nine assists, while Lasme had 16 points and eight rebounds.