Panathinaikos ended the first group stage of the Euroleague with a hard-fought home win over Bamberg (71-66) on December 21, but its coach Zeljko Obradovic came out thundering against some of his players, accusing them of not caring for the team.
The German side led throughout the first half as Panathinaikos had a terrible field goal rate of just 29 percent in the first couple of periods and was trailing Bamberg by eight points at halftime (38-30).
The second half was a very different affair, with European champion Panathinaikos restoring order and scoring 26 points in the third period.
The game had no significance for Panathinaikos, which was destined to finish second in the group regardless of the result, but Obradovic did not want to suffer another loss to the German team, having already gone down once to it away from home.
He therefore chose to keep four of his best players for between 31 and 35 minutes on the court — Dimitris Diamantidis, Romain Sato, Nick Calathes and Costas Kaimakoglou — as he realized that not all were up to scratch during the game.
“Do you want to keep playing for Panathinaikos? You know what you need to do. Are you doing it? You stay on. You’re not doing it? The door is open. Unfortunately we have players who do not help the team. Everybody realizes that. I cannot pretend that everything is perfect. There are things we have to change,» warned a livid Obradovic during the post-match press conference.
In the Eurocup, Aris scraped through to the second group stage on December 20 by beating Lithuanian team Rudupis at home in overtime.
Aris won 96-86 at the Alexandrio Sports Palace in Thessaloniki after a tight game whose regulation time ended with the score at 78-78.
Now Aris is entering the last-16 group stage, where it will face Russian side Khimki, Ukraine’s Donetsk and Asvel from France, starting on January 17 against Khimki at home.
PAOK, which had already been eliminated, lost 69-66 at Cholet in France to end up last in its group.