Greens within a whisker of upsetting CSKA Moscow

By George Georgakopoulos

Panathinaikos came mighty close to snatching home advantage from CSKA Moscow in Game 1 of the Euroleague play-offs on Wednesday, but eventually succumbed to its host in Russia in overtime, with a 77-74 score.

The Greens had a rather poor first period, trailing 21-14, but matched their host in the second (40-33) and tightened their defense in the third and fourth as the Russians appeared short of ideas at times.

Despite a disappointing performance by captain Dimitris Diamantidis, Panathinaikos advanced by as many as five points (67-62) three minutes before the end, but its inability to make the most of its free throws when it really mattered allowed CSKA to take the match to overtime (72-72).

A more nervous Panathinaikos could do no better than scoring just two points in the additional five minutes, and with forwards Stephane Lasme and James Gist fouled out, there was little coach Frangiskos Alvertis could do to stop the physically stronger Russians from dominating play under the basket.

Lasme and Jonas Maciulis notched up 14 points each for the Greens, who will feel they deserved more from this game.

They will get another chance to beat CSKA in Moscow within 48 hours as Game 2 is scheduled for Friday at the same court, with the series coming to Athens for Game 3 next week.