Panathinaikos wasted a great chance to upset Barcelona in Spain, going down 80-76 on Friday for its first loss in the top 16 of the Euroleague, on the day it found out its win over Olympiakos in the Cup has been annulled.
The Greens had a strong start to the game at the Palau Blaugrana and led twice by 10 points in the first half: 16-6 and 35-25. However a disastrous last couple of minutes in the first half allowed Barcelona to level the score by half-time at 37-37.
A three-point-shot crescendo by Barcelona’s Marcelinho Huertas (making five straight shots for a total of 6/8 in the game) allowed the Catalans to advance by 10 (54-44), before Panathinaikos began eating into its deficit.
With Barcelona not at its best, coming from a 10-point loss at Alba Berlin a week earlier, Panathinaikos got closer and closer to get to within one point (77-76) a minute from the end.
However the Greens proved too error-prone to take the chance they were given and wasted several attacks to go down by four in the end. Still, this margin may prove useful if the Greek champion needs to overcome it when the home fixture comes later on.
DeMarcus Nelson was the top scorer for Panathinaikos with 16 points.
On Friday Panathinaikos also found out that its 77-76 quarterfinal win over Olympiakos in the Greek Cup has been annulled, as a sports judge has sustained the appeal by Olympiakos which claimed it should win the game due to the courtside presence of banned Panathinaikos former president Dimitris Giannakopoulos.
The Greens will appeal to the supreme sports court (ASEAD), but it looks likely it will be Olympiakos to face PAOK in the Thessaloniki semifinal next month.