Lietuvos Rytas couldn’t handle Panathinaikos

In the opening game of the Euroleague Top16 phase Panathinaikos escaped Siemens Arena with a win, despite a bad half time with 59-80 being the final score.

Panathinaikos started the game with tight defense and took the early 6-0 lead. But Rytas had the answer and tied the game at 6-6, before taking the lead for the first time in the game with a threepointer by Gecevicius, 9-8. The Lithuanian champions took charge of the game and with a zone defence and good shooting percentages maintained their lead in the first quarter, 21-18.

Gecevicius hit another threepointer in the start of the second quarter to make the score 24-18. Panathinaikos struggled, especially on offense while Kaimakoglou was trying to keep The Greens afloat, all by himself. Thanks to the Greek champions’ bad shooting percentages (2/10 for three at half time) Rytas not only kept the lead, but increased it on the way, 31-24. Two baskets by Nicholas and Diamantidis in the last seconds of the first time allowed Panathinaikos to cut the difference, 33-29.

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The teamtalk by Obradovic at half time motivated his players as they started the second half off to a 6-0 score, passing Rytas by for the first time since 11-13. Rytas could not unlock Panathinaikos defense while two back-to-back threepointers by Nicholas and Kaimakoglou gave Panathinaikos a rather comfortable lead. Rytas tried to come back but then Tsartsaris took over and some easy dunks established double digits difference for Panathinaikos at the end of third quarter, 41-53.

The fourth quarter was rather the most boring one of the game as Panathinaikos kept growing the points difference while Rytas players stopped trying to defend and spent all their energy on offense, not always successfully. Panathinaikos even made it to +24 at some point and with Batiste and Kaimakoglou in charge made the final score 59-80.