Panathinaikos surrenders to the might of CSKA

Panathinaikos was unable to exceed its potential for a second time in two days and lost 74-55 to CSKA Moscow in Athens on Wednesday to bid farewell to this season’s Euroleague in front of a capacity crowd at the Olympic Sports Hall.

The Russians have won the best-of-five series with a 3-1 score and have joined Fenerbahce/Ulker on the way to the Madrid Final Four next month, where Olympiakos has a good chance of appearing, too.

The Greens matched their visitor for about 25 minutes, and while they always trailed the Russians, they were within striking distance for long periods of the first three quarters. However without the spectacular three-pointer shooting rate of last Monday the Greeks were never going to beat CSKA at its own game, the physical game.

As a team that lives and dies by its three-point shots, it won on Monday when it made 16 out of 31 and lost on Wednesday when it only made just four out of 21.

The first period ended 21-11 after a late rally by CSKA but Panathinaikos fought back and cut the distance to three points (35-32), with the first half ending 37-32.

The last time the Greens were within range was when they were four points behind the Russians (45-41) halfway through the third period. That was CSKA went out with all guns blazing, and scored 13 unanswered points (58-41) to take the game beyond Panathinaikos.

Nikos Pappas, who has just extended his contract up to 2018, was once again the top scorer for Panathinaikos with 11 points, but only made one in eight three-pointers on the night. With Esteban Batista on another poor night (seven points, two rebounds in 15 minutes), it was Loukas Mavrokefalidis who held firm at the frontline with 10 points and five rebounds in 17 minutes.

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