Panathinaikos beats Red Star to make top-16

Ramel Curry and James Gist rubber-stamped Panathinaikos’s advance to the top-16 of the Euroleague on Friday leading the Greens to a 69-63 win over Red Star Belgrade, but the Greeks showed worrying signs once again facing one of the group’s weakest teams on the road.

The Serbs dominated the rebounds in most of the game and capitalized on a poor night for the hosts’ captain, Dimitris Diamantidis, to threaten Panathinaikos with its first loss at the Olympic Sports Hall this season.

However, Curry made up for Diamantidis’s showing by producing his best game to date this season, scoring 16 points.

Red Star led 21-20 after the first quarter and 31-28 in the second before Panathinaikos recovered to advance 37-34 at half-time. The second half was also neck-and-neck, with the Serbs leading 61-59 before Panathinaikos scored eight unanswered points to break away 67-61.

Gist was once again the most valuable player for Panathinaikos with precious points (15 in total), three blocks and five rebounds that steered the Greens to the win which sees them through to the second group stage of the competition with two games left to play.

The victory aside, coach Argyris Pedoulakis was sweating before the game over the absence of Nikos Pappas for the next month and a half, and after the end he has started worrying also for Jonas Maciulis. The Lithuanian, one of the most reliable players of Panathinaikos this season, suffered an injury in the third quarter and his spell in the sidelines is unknown.

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