SPORTS

Fightback not enough for Greens at Laboral Kutxa

Panathinaikos suffered a 79-77 loss at Vitoria to a Laboral Kutxa that was impressive in the first half but almost lost the game in the end to a spirited Panathinaikos fightback.

The problem for Panathinaikos was not only in its defense in the first half but also in its front line, with James Gist, Stephane Lasme, Loukas Mavrokefalidis and Mike Batiste scoring no more than just 15 points between them.

Panathinaikos had a terrible start to the game conceding as many as 34 points in the first period (34-19) as the Basques had a mesmerizing Fernando San Emeterio score five out of five three-pointers in the whole of the first half.

Laboral reached a double score (42-21) after 13 minutes with an amazing nine-out-of-ten scoring rate in three-pointers.

With the contribution of Dimitris Diamantidis and Roko Ukic, and a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Jonas Maciulis, Panathinaikos cut the deficit in half for a half-time score of 55-44.

The Greens’ recovery continued in the second half and Panathinaikos went ahead for the only time in the game at 58-57, eight minutes into the third quarter, with a partial score of 22-2, as the hosts stopped scoring at will from the 6.75-meter line.

Yet the Basques were not done yet. They took a nine point lead (76-67) and safeguarded it till the end for a precious home win, as it all came down to the last shot by Diamantidis, where the ball bounced on the basket and fell into the hosts’ hands.

The Greens’ captain notched up 19 points and had seven assists, while Maciulis had the same number of points along with eight rebounds.

Panathinaikos is now fourth in its six-team group with three wins from seven matches.