Real Madrid has swept Panathinaikos with three wins in as many games thanks to an 89-82 win in Athens on Tuesday, to leave the Greek champion out of the Euroleague Final Four.
Unlike in Games 1 and 2, the Greens this time were unable to contain the Spanish attack for long and despite some very good spells they were second best overall in this game.
Panathinaikos coach Rick Pitino chose the tactics of attrition, targeting Facundo Campazzo and Walter Tavares, but it was only in the second period, that Panathinaikos won 23-13, that the plan worked for the Greens.
Entering the second half with a five-point advantage (41-36), the host looked good for a vital win, having Matt Lojeski on fire, but the Greeks’ energy seemed to run out as the game went on and the shooting rate of the visitors kept improving; they finished the game with 69 percent in twos, against the host’s 49 percent.
Eventually Real put some distance between itself and the Greens and eased to a seven-point win through 31 points in the last period.
Troubling Nick Calathes remained the preferred strategy for Real coach Pablo Laso, but even so the Greek captain scored 17 points (6/16 field goals), just ahead of Lojeski with 16.
The match ended with the capacity crowd applauding not only Panathinaikos but also Real Madrid, reserving their boos only for the referees of the game.
Some first-half referee calls provoked the wrath not only of the fans but also of Pitino, but in the second half officiating was more balanced and defused what could have evolved into a nasty evening for the Euroleague.