Panathinaikos has mathematically qualified to the top 16 of the Euroleague after another emphatic home win, this time against Bayern Munich, with an 87-72 score on Friday.
Given the changes to the roster and the hiring of a new coach in the close season, Panathinaikos had set as its first target for the season the emergence from one of the most difficult groups such as this one in the top competition in Europe. With a 5-2 record after the first seven games in the group, Panathinaikos will have been proud to have met its target so quickly and so convincingly.
Despite playing without center Esteban Batista, the Greens had the upper hand from start to finish, never allowing the Germans to believe in victory even when they equalized at 31-31.
That in fact was the moment when the players of Dusko Ivanovic upped a gear and started an impressive eight or nine minutes that saw them lead 44-33 at half-time and 59-37 during the third quarter, with a partial score of 28-6.
The rotation to Panathinaikos players by Ivanovic allowed Bayern to close the distance (70-61) before the Greens gave their fans some more beautiful moments to remember at the end.
AJ Slaughter was Panathinaikos’s top scorer with 17 points on the night,one more than Loukas Mavrokefalidis (16).
However it was at least disheartening to hear some Panathinaikos fans chant obscene slogans against the fans of Olympiakos during the minute of silence that the Euroleague imposed before each game this week in honor of the dead Red Star Belgrade fan who was stabbed in Turkey last week. Red Star fans are affiliated to those of Olympiakos.