The battle to reach a playoff spot: PAO – Efes

The 26th round brings us a duel between a team with no real chances to catch the playoff, Panathinaikos and Efes, which has the same number of defeats as the 6th place and for which every victory counts.

The Greeks changed their coach a week ago, Dejan Radonjić was replaced by Christos Serelis. They behaved honourably in the first match with the new coach, losing narrowly in Milan. Panathinaikos is not immune to injuries: Agravanis, Bochoridis, Gudaitis and Kalaitzakis have various medical problems. The only players averaging over 10 points per game are Dwayne Bacon 18.4 ppg, Derrick Williams 13.7 ppg and Paris Lee 11 ppg. in the rebounds fight Georgios Papagiannis’s 5.7 reb and Mateusz Ponitka 5.5 stood out. The first game was won by Efes with 88-69 thanks to a double-double from Clyburn with 23 ppg and 10 reb. On the part of the Greeks, Bacon responded with 20 points, but it was too little.

Efes is facing a severe problem: Vasilije Micic sustained a potentially season-ending injury. The last round with Lyon showed that this is a severe problem, playing in a short rotation Will Clyburn and Shane Larkin played 35 and 36 minutes respectively in the 90-89 victory. Micic joins captain Dogus Balbay in a long-term absence. The great advantage of the Turks in the fight against their rivals for the playoffs is the fact that they are the only ones who have 6 more matches to play at home and have the second shortest distance to travel (6235 kilometres). Will Clyburn has had an exceptional season so far with 17.2 ppg and 5.7 reb and there are chances that his offensive numbers will increase due to Micic’s absence. Larkin helps the team with 12.5 ppg and Beaubois with 11.9 ppg.

Are we likely to see another Clyburn-Bacon duel? Will coach Serelis manage to get his first victory in the Euroleague? There are questions that will receive answers soon.

Valentin Petruta

Photo credit: EuroLeague