SPORTS

Barcelona beats Panathinaikos once more

For the fourth time this season Panathinaikos failed to beat Barcelona, this time in Athens, losing 81-77 on Thursday and denting its chances for a privileged top-two finish in its Euroleague group. However, Maccabi’s loss at Red Star Belgrade meant that the Greens are still in with a chance to finish second to Real Madrid.

Despite the recent slump to its performance, Barcelona managed to snatch victory in front of a capacity crowd at the Olympic Sports Hall at Maroussi, as it made the most of the defensive errors and offensive turnovers Panathinaikos made.

The Catalans advanced by 10 points at the end of the first half (42-32) as Panathinaikos proved unable to match its visitor in the last five minutes of the second period.

That disastrous period for the Greeks gave Barcelona the upper hand in the game, and Panathinaikos had to play catch-up in the second half. A last-ditch effort just before the end, through an impressive Dimitris Diamantidis three-point shot, brought the Greens within two points (79-77), but Barca was not to be denied.

Esteban Batista scored 16 points and James Gist made another 14, but that was not enough for the Greek champion on the night.

This was the fourth loss for Panathinaikos in nine games, which means the Greens are now behind Maccabi as well as Barcelona, in fourth.