By George Georgakopoulos
Nicosia proved extremely hospitable for Panathinaikos, in the first of the two home games the Greens have to play away from Athens, as it crashed a depleted Laboral Kutxa 95-74 on Friday for its first win in this season’s Euroleague.
Playing in front of a capacity crowd at the Tassos Papadopoulos Eleftheria court in the Cypriot capital, Panathinaikos gave its fans a glimpse of the team that swept to the league-and-cup double last season.
The Greeks had a very prolific attack, scoring 26 points in the first period and 27 in the third, to lead by up to 26 points as the Basque team only had eight players in its roster due to injuries.
The visitors never really got to trouble the hosts who led throughout the game and afforded the luxury to relax from midway through the third quarter, giving their supporters plenty to remember from the first ever Euroleague encounter in Cyprus.
Laboral played a zone defense for the full 40 minutes, resulting in Panathinaikos attempting more three-point shots than two-pointers. Consequently this game was tailor-made for a shooting guard such as Mike Bramos, who had seven out of 11 three-pointers to lead the scorers’ chart with 21 points. Ramel Curry added another 15 for the Greens.
The other home game that Panathinaikos will play outside Athens will be at Iraklio on Crete, against Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar on November 7.