Emotional meeting with Zeljko ends in loss for Greens

The emotional encounter of Panathinaikos with its coach for 13 consecutive years, Zeljko Obradovic, and his team ended with Turkey’s Fenerbahce inflicting the first loss on the Greens in this second group stage of the Euroleague on Thursday with a 77-72 score in Istanbul.

The Turks were predictably very well-prepared for the game, while Panathinaikos started off poorly, possibly still distracted from its league win over Olympiakos three days earlier.

Fenerbahce stormed into the game to lead 23-11 after the first period and 39-28 at half-time, with the Greens faring poorly in attack and their captain, Dimitris Diamantidis perfectly guarded by the Turkish defense. At the other end former Olympiakos star Linas Kleiza did the damage for the hosts.

In the second half Panathinaikos improved as usual and reduced the deficit to five points 49-44, to trail by six (56-50) at the end of the third quarter. It kept fighting on and led by up to three points two minutes from time (67-64) as it suddenly started scoring three-pointers from everywhere.

The good luck from the 6.75-meter line proved short-lived for Panathinaikos, though, as Fenerbahce recovered to regain the lead, also through some precious three-point shots, and finish the game with its first victory after three losses in this stage.

Obradovic, however, did not celebrate as much as his players, choosing instead to visit the locker room of Panathinaikos after the end of the encounter.

Ramel Curry was again the top scorer of Panathinaikos, with 14 points, as Loukas Mavrokefalidis added another 11, including seven out of seven free throws.