The second homecoming of former Panathinaikos coach Zeljko Obradovic, now at Fenerbahce, was not as emotional as last year’s, but it was certainly was the night of an emphatic triumph for the Greens in Athens as they thrashed their Turkish visitors 91-73 to take a leap toward reaching the top 16 of the Euroleague.
A three-point festival by the Greek champion saw it advance by up to 30 points in the third period (70-40), when its shooting rate outside the 6.75-meter zone was at an amazing 86 percent (14 out of 16). Had the hosts not taken their collective foot off the pedal, the result would have been an historic one.
Playing with great concentration in defense and with an incredible efficiency in attack (26 assists), the Greens did not just score a home win over an opponent who will rival them for a spot in the next round, but have also taken a huge lead in case the two clubs end up level on points.
Captain Dimitris Diamantidis needed just one assist to reach the 1,000-assist landmark in the Euroleague, but he was so hot on the night he distributed 10, to take his own Euroleague record to 1,009.
Panathinaikos owes a lot to US guard AJ Slaughter, who scored one three-pointer after another to end the game as the top scorer with 23 points.
The result has taken Panathinaikos’s record to two wins in three games, in this ever-so-tight group of the competition.
On Tuesday PAOK got thrashed at Lokomotiv Kuban 87-46 for the Eurocup.