Barcelona got the better of Panathinaikos and won 63-56 on Friday in Athens to force the Greens’ second loss in five games at the second stage of the Euroleague.
Turnover-prone Panathinaikos was unable to make the most of a poor night for Barcelona’s top scorer Juan Carlos Navarro, and despite holding the Catalans to just 63 points (and no more than 19 points in the second half), it succumbed to the group’s only unbeaten team.
Barcelona led throughout the game, with the exception of the last minute of the first period when Panathinaikos temporarily advanced 23-22.
The first half ended 44-32 in the visitors’ favor as Panathinaikos’s consecutive three-pointers of the first quarter were not repeated in the second and the Greens grew frustrated in attack.
Every time the host tried to reduce the arrears and get within striking distance, Barcelona pulled away again, stretching its advantage up to 13 points at one point in the third period that finished 52-47.
Barcelona controlled the pace of the game in the last period to stroll to a seven-point win that makes it the clear favorite for the top spot in the group. As for Panathinaikos, it is now level on points with Olympiakos, and it appears the twp Greek teams may well fight it out between them for the highest possible position at the table.
Stephane Lasme and Dimitris Diamantidis scored 13 points each for Panathinaikos, while Greece forward Costas Papanikolaou notched up 14 for Barcelona.