By George Georgakopoulos
The second convincing performance of Panathinaikos in the Euroleague this season, after the home win over Laboral Kutxa in Cyprus, brought about a 19-point triumph at group leader Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar on Friday.
The Greens won 82-63 to avenge their home loss at Iraklio earlier in the season, climb to the third spot and still have a chance even to finish second in their group with one game left to play, at home with group winner Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Their amazing performance in defense and attack, despite the absence of Jonas Maciulis and Nikos Pappas, had the Russians pegged down for most of the game, as you cannot beat a team with a 60 percent scoring rate in three-pointers (14 out of 23) and a 100 percent rate in free throws. The game served to prove that when the three-pointers go in, Panathinaikos is unbeatable.
With six players reaching double figures in scoring and a solid defense that let in no more than just seven points in the second quarter, the Greeks brought Lokomotiv down from the top spot of the group with a relative ease in Russia.
Panathinaikos had a good enough first quarter, leading during most of it, only to trail 23-21 at its end to a Simas Jasaitis buzzer-beating three-pointer.
Fromt the 11th minute on, things changed completely. Suddenly Panathinaikos started scoring from everywhere in the court, for a partial score of 20-2 that turned its 25-23 deficit to a 43-27 advantage, with the first half ending 46-30.
The second half had Panathinaikos continue its three-pointer festival, pulling away by as many as 22 points, with the game easing to its end within just one hour and half since it tipped off, as the result was a foregone conclusion.
Rejuvenated Antonis Fotsis and Roko Ukic scored 17 points each, while Ramel Curry had another good game in the Euroleague with 13 points.