Having misplaced three video games in a row, Panathinaikos OPAP Athens confronted its Spherical 29 house date in opposition to Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv strongly in want of revival. Of their earlier encounter, the Greek champions misplaced 89-81 in Tel Aviv by permitting 48 factors to Maccabi’s backcourt of Scottie Wilbekin, who scored 22 of these, in addition to Elijah Bryant, Chris Jones and Tyler Dorsey.
Desperate to keep away from repeating that mistake, Panathinaikos head coach Oded Kattash emphasize earlier than the sport how vital it was to decelerate Maccabi’s backcourt. His plan labored effective because the Greens downed the Yellows 81-63 due to a stable defensive show.
“I feel we gained the sport defensively,” Katash stated afterward. “On the set recreation, we did a superb job. Our huge guys performed wonderful in opposition to their guards on switching defenses, based on our recreation plan. So long as we did not flip the ball over and we performed sluggish offensively, we may management them. I actually like how the fellows reacted to the sport plan. I am very pleased with the gamers.”
Panathinaikos’s defensive effort lowered the offensive manufacturing of its opponent’s backcourt as a lot because it was wanted, sticking to the sport plan. Despite the fact that Wilbekin scored 14 factors on 5-for-11 taking pictures, the trio of Elijah Bryant, Tyler Dorsey and Chris Jones had been restricted to a mixed 5-for-16 accuracy on two-pointers (31%) and 2-for-9 on threes (33%).
That protection was a key basis, too, for Panathinaikos constructing a 25-7 result in open the sport whereas stopping Maccabi from scoring a three-pointer for greater than 12 minutes. This was not the definitive blow for the guests, although, as Maccabi’s 2-15 run late within the third quarter introduced it again into the sport at 58-55.
One thing else was wanted, and Ioannis Papapetrou supplied it. The Greek ahead scored half of his game-high 20 factors within the final interval, changing into the go-to-guy when the result was on the road. Regardless of lacking the final two video games amongst six of the earlier 9, Papapetrou was sturdy sufficient on the finish of the sport to attain 8 factors in a row to seal the victory.
“I really like basketball, I like to play basketball. It was a tough interval for me, clearly, with COVID and my harm earlier than that,” he stated after the sport. “This previous month, I have not been taking part in and having fun with and doing what I really like. However now I am again. I really feel like I nonetheless should construct up my physique and my readiness; I am not 100%. However I really feel good to be again.”
Speaking about his staff’s response within the final interval, by which Panathinaikos outscored Maccabi 23-8, Papapetrou did not have any doubt:
“We needed to keep composed for 40 minutes. It’s extremely powerful to be prepared and have good chemistry with the brand new additions, the staff adjustments. Clearly, Nedovic is out and he is an enormous a part of the staff. However I feel we have to execute and keep composed for 40 minutes. We tried to do this, and we got here out with the win.”