Tightened-up defense secures win for PAO

Panathinaikos made it three out of three in the Euroleague on November 4 with a 17-point win over Zalgiris Kaunas in Athens.

The European champion needed a good third period once again to overcome the resistance of the Lithuanian side to win 92-75 at the Olympic Sports Hall.

Zalgiris played a solid first half and led 28-25 early in the second period by scoring 10 unanswered points, to end the first half four points ahead (42-38).

But when coach Zeljko Obradovic tightened up Panathinaikos?s defense, he quickly turned things around. A 15-3 partial score saw the host lead 53-45.

The Greeks kept pulling away through some crucial shots by Ian Vougioukas, Romain Sato and David Logan to stretch their advantage to 19 points (81-62).

However, the problematic defense of the first half should serve as a warning for Panathinaikos as it allowed the visitors to attempt many shots without marking.

On the positive side, the champion had several players on a good night in attack and showed that when it raises its game it is very difficult for most opponents to follow.

Dimitris Diamantidis led scoring with 16 points, followed by Mike Batiste with 14. Vougioukas had 13 points and six rebounds, while Nick Calathes had seven assists.