A stunning performance in the last seven minutes of the game was enough for Panathinaikos to see off Anadolu Efes with a 75-62 score at the Olympic Sports Center in Athens on Friday and edge ever closer to a spot in the quarterfinals of the Euroleague.
Panathinaikos even got close to covering the 14 points of its loss in the first game between the two teams, although it is not very likely it will finish level on points with second-placed Efes. Panathinaikos is fourth, level on points with third CSKA Moscow.
The Greens were the better side throughout the game with the Turkish team and led twice by eight points (34-26 and 56-48), but could not break away from its visitor. In both cases Efes managed to bring the score back on level terms, partly due to the Greeks’ offensive turnovers and a very poor record in free throws, just 47 percent.
Yet just as the game was heading to a balanced finish, the Greeks scored 16 unanswered points to take the game beyond Efes (72-56) after a superb all-around performance in defense and attack.
In the end Jonas Maciulis tried to exceed the 14-point margin for the Greens but failed twice outside the 6.75-meter line.
Roko Ukic was once again the man of the match for Panathinaikos, with 13 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Captain Dimitris Diamantidis notched up another 13 points, while Stephane Lasme stood out for his five blocks.
This was the sixth win in nine games for Panathinaikos in this second group stage, which along with Unicaja Malaga’s home loss to Zalgiris Kaunas means it has a genuine chance of a top-four finish that will see it through to the knock-out stages.