Panathinaikos came ever so close to upsetting host Laboral Kutxa in Vitoria on Friday, but eventually lost in overtime (82-78) and is returning to Greece with a 2-0 disadvantage in the best-of-five series that history has proven to be insurmountable.
Game 2 was a very balanced affair, unlike the easy victory for the Basques two days earlier. The main difference to Game 1 was the Greeks’ commitment to defense, that also saw them collect 12 more rebounds.
Panathinaikos led by as many as eight points in the first half, but the hosts fought back and led by 10 before the Greeks recovered to force overtime (73-73) with an off-balance triple by captain Dimitris Diamantidis. He was the team’s top scorer with 17 points.
In overtime Panathinaikos made just five points in as many minutes and naturally succumbed to a nervous but prolific Laboral.
Game 3 is scheduled for Tuesday in Athens, but Panathinaikos knows very well that never before has a team won the series after going 2-0 down in the Euroleague play-offs. Still, the players of Aleksandar Djordjevic showed that if it comes down to a fifth game back in Spain, they have the capacity to win away at Vitoria.