SPORTS

Panathinaikos lets win at Malaga slip through its fingers

Panathinaikos disappeared from the court in the last five minutes of its game at Malaga and suffered a 66-60 loss to local Unicaja for the Euroleague in a game that was always its own to lose.

The Greens also wasted a chance to get a better-head-to-head record as they had won by five points in Athens, but are still one point above the Spaniards four games from the end of the second group stage of the competition, with six wins out of 10 games.

Malaga led only in the first minute of the game as Panathinaikos dominated the encounter up to the last five minutes courtesy of its shooting by Jonas Maciulis (15 points) and Roko Ukic (14 points), given that its front line was not as influential as usual.

Panathinaikos led by up to 12 points (38-26 at the start of the second half) and when it got a six-point lead five minutes from time (58-52) it looked like a sure winner.

Yet somehow it failed to score after reaching 60 points, allowing Malaga to snatch victory courtesy of three consecutive three-pointers by Marcus Williams in the end that turned a 60-57 deficit into a 66-60 win.

With a 22-7 partial score in the last period, Panathinaikos could not possibly expect to win such a demanding game, thereby taking not one but two steps back in its fight for a place in the quarterfinals, given also its head-to-head with Malaga.

While the players of Panathinaikos are to blame for the high number of turnovers (14, against Malaga’s six), it is the coaching by Argyris Pedoulakis that bears a great share of responsibility for the shut-out of the last few minutes.