Panathinaikos suffered on Friday an unexpected home loss to bottom club Laboral Kutxa with a 68-61 score that has dealt a major blow to its chances for qualifying to the quarterfinals of the Euroleague.
It would be fair to say Panathinaikos underestimated Laboral, that had only scored one win in its previous eight games in the second group stage of the competition.
A disastrous third period during which the visitors from Spain recorded a partial 27-17 score tipped the game’s balance in Laboral’s favor, while Panathinaikos had a huge problem in attack throughout the game, given also the absence of injured Ramel Curry.
With a 20 percent scoring rate in three-pointers and just 28 rebounds against Laboral’s 37, it is no wonder the Greeks suffered a reverse on the night.
Laboral led 28-27 at half-time and ran away with the lead in the third period. The Basques even got to lead by up to 15 points (61-46) early in the last quarter.
When Laboral forward Tibor Pleiss got fouled out five minutes from the end the Greens got the upper hand under the basket and started eating into their deficit to get to within four points (65-61).
The inability the host had in scoring easy baskets and some referee decisions beyond explanation held Panathinaikos from snatching an undeserved victory right at the end.
Dimitris Diamantidis led the scoring for the Greens with 15 points, with Zach Wright notching up 12.
This was the fifth defeat in nine matches for Panathinaikos in the group, that virtually takes it out of the running for the group’s top two spots.