Barcelona got the better of Panathinaikos in Game 4 of their Euroleague quarterfinal series winning 70-60 in Athens and tying the best-of-five series at 2-2 on Thursday.
The series is now returning to Spain for the deciding game, that will take place on April 25.
In the only game in this play-off series that was not on a knife’s edge, Barcelona led from start to finish thanks to its improvement in attack and the major pressure from fans on the Greeks’ shoulders that had them stutter in attack on many occasions.
Barcelona realized from the second half of Game 3 that its zone defense was causing serious problems to Panathinaikos and applied it for most of Game 4.
This time the men who had decided Game 3 for the Greek Cup winners were unable to score any field goals, with captain Dimitris Diamantidis ending the game scoreless and James Gist only notching up four points, all from free throws.
The Catalans led 20-10 after the first period and 27-16 in the second before Panathinaikos cut the distance to 31-27 at half-time. Barcelona had a very good third period to stretch its advantage again as the pressure from 22,000 Panathinaikos fans at the stands seemed too much for the Greens.
A late effort by Panathinaikos in the fourth period to get back into the game reduced the 57-40 deficit to 60-52, but that was simply not enough for the Greek team on the night.
Michael Bramos was once again the top scorer for the Greens with 15 points, while Sofoklis Schortsanitis added 13.