An imposing performance by Panathinaikos on Tuesday saw the Greens triumph with a 93-73 score over Maccabi Tel Aviv in Athens and take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five Euroleague basketball quarterfinal series.
The hosts stretched their lead to as many as 34 points in the second half, completely dominating the second and third period of the game at the Olympic Sports Hall.
Playing in front of some 17,000 fans the European champions turned an 18-18 score toward the end of the first period to a 40-18 advantage late in the second period that took Game 1 of the series beyond the Tel Aviv team.
The tight defense of coach Zeljko Obradovic and the isolation of Maccabi’s Greek star Sofoklis Schortsanitis, who scored no more than six points, meant the Greens were able to run away with the game (73-39) in the second half and then save some of their strength in the end, ahead of Game 2 on Thursday, also in Athens.
An outstanding Dimitris Diamantidis was Panathinaikos’s top scorer with 15 points, as well as collecting five rebounds and distributing eight assists. He was followed by Nick Calathes with 13 points, eight rebounds and three assists.
Notably, Aleks Maric was instrumental in containing Schortsanitis, while Maccabi’s other Greek, Thodoris Papaloukas failed to score any points.