Panathinaikos recovers to beat Red Star Belgrade

Panathinaikos came from behind to beat Red Star Belgrade 74-69 in Athens on Friday and rise to second in its group with half of the games played in this second stage of the Euroleague.

On the day that Panathinaikos found out it has had its annulled Greek Cup quarterfinal victory over Olympiakos restored, earning it a place in the cup semis, it also preserved its perfect home record with four wins in as many games in the top-16 of the Euroleague.

The Greens produced a stunning display in the first quarter of the game, after which they led 26-6. The 22-point lead at the start of the second quarter (28-6) clearly did not reflect the difference in quality between the two teams, but Panathinaikos coach Dusko Ivanovic appeared carried away as he chose to introduce his second-choice players in the second period.

Red Star recovered to cut the distance to just four points (33-29), before the first half ended 37-29. The tide had turned in the Serbs’ favor, who came to within one point after the third period (52-51) and went ahead from the start of the fourth and advanced by five (65-60) four minutes from the end.

That was when home advantage made the difference, with the Greens regaining the upper hand with 10 unanswered points to lead 70-65 and hold on to win a game they very nearly lost.

AJ Slaughter scored 16 points to lead the scorers’ chart, but captain Dimitris Diamantidis scored 11 and distributed 10 assists.