Can Panathinaikos run over Partizan too?

Panathinaikos Athens will host Partizan Belgrade on Friday evening in the OAKA in a game that counts for Round 22 of the current EuroLeague season.

It will be a game between two historic teams that became powerhouses again in the last two seasons after a few years of poor results (for their standards). Panathinaikos missed the playoffs and was one of the worst teams in the EuroLeague in the past three years. But last summer they made big changes and the Greens became once again a Final Four contender team under the guidance of Ergin Ataman. The situation at Partizan was even worse, as they didn’t play in the EuroLeague for eight straight seasons until last year when they made a strong comeback to the league and almost qualified for the Final Four.

Right now they are separated by two wins. Panathinaikos is on a three-game winning streak and are 4th in the standings with a 13-8 record while Partizan is tied with three other teams for 7th place with a 11-10 record.

It will be great to see Zeljko Obradovic in OAKA again, as he is the most important coach in Panathinaikos history, winning five EuroLeague and eleven Greek league titles in the 13 years he spent in Athens. Also, the Obradovic vs Ataman duel is always interesting to follow. The two great coaches were rivals for many years in Turkey, when Obradovic was coaching Fenerbahce and Ataman was at the helm of Efes.

In their first meeting this season Partizan won 92-87 at the Stark Arena in November after a stellar performance by Zach LeDay. The game was played in front of a crowd of 20.000 fans, and the OAKA is expected to be packed on Friday. It’s great to see these two teams with one of the best fanbases in Europe return to their old glory.

If we check the statistics, Partizan is a more high-scoring team (they score 84.5 points/per game) than Panathinaikos (82 points/per game) but they also receive way more points on average (84.1 points/per game vs 78.4 by Panathinaikos).

Imre Halasz

Photo credit: EuroLeague