Panathinaikos has a good chance to reach the Euroleague Final 4
PAO has been in superb form in the last games of the regular season of Euroleague as they won 7 out of 8 encounters in order to secure the 6th spot and qualify to the playoffs.
At the end of the last game, against Buducnost, coach Pitino was excited about his players and the entire organization, pointing out to Nick Calathes, who had a monstrous game, recording a triple-double (11 points, 18 assists, 11 rebounds) and James Gist who scored 23 points. Also, he warned Real Madrid not to lose sleep only because they play at home, saying that the morale in Greeks locker room is sky high and they will do everything to clinch a place for Final 4.
If the players will continue to show the same amount of determination and teamwork, PAO can cause Real Madrid serious problems. They have a good roster, with big players and the most important thing, they don’t have any injury concerns.
Real Madrid, on the other hand, will likely miss Sergio Llull in the clash with Panathinaikos. Before the game with Zalgiris, he was diagnosed with a muscle injury and the recovery may last up to three weeks, which means he will miss at least the first two games of the Euroleague Quarterfinals. Also, Rudy Fernandez had some ankle pain and he might not be fully fit against the Greeks superpower.
Real Madrid roster is getting older and to have their main star out, will be a big problem, against a Panathinaikos team that is very competitive and with a Nick Calathes that is in very good shape.
In the last two years, PAO was eliminated exactly in this phase of the competition by that year`s winner of the Euroleague. In 2017 they were eliminated by Fenerbahce with 3-0 and then, in 2018 by Real Madrid with 3-1, despite having the home court advantage in both duels. Now they have the chance to go to Final Four for the first time since 2012 and with all the problems Real have right now, maybe the luck will be on Greek`s side.
Bogdan Vasile Tirc, email@example.com