Panathinaikos has set up a Euroleague play-off appointment with CSKA Moscow for the second year in a row, after Maccabi Tel Aviv beat Panathinaikos’s main rival to a ticket for the last eight, Alba Berlin, to render the Greens’ 69-68 loss at Red Star Belgrade on Thursday irrelevant.
The bets-of-five play-offs begin on April 14 in Moscow, with the Russians holding the home advantage, just like last year when the series ended 3-2 in the CSKA’s favor.
In Belgrade Panathinaikos had a terrible start to the game as it made only two out of 18 field goals to trail 16-7 in the first quarter.
However it quickly recovered to cut its deficit to four points by half-time (30-26) and edge ahead in the second half by up to eight (60-52). Around that point the Greens found out that Maccabi had sealed victory at Alba, so the remainder of the game was academical.
Red Star felt it had to win the game to please its fans in the last Euroleague game for the Serb champion this season, and it turned things around to beat an error-prone Panathinaikos in the last few minutes.
On a particularly bad night for James Gist and AJ Slaughter, who ended the game without a single point, Esteban Batista was the leading scorer for Panathinaikos with 15 points.