The comeback of Rick Pitino will boost PAO’s motivation vs. Baskonia

In Round 11 of Turkish Airlines Euroleague, Panathinaikos will try to maintain the good moment for the team with a win over Spanish side Baskonia. Last year both teams won their home games, with a 72-70 win for Panathinaikos in Greece. Let’s see what they’ve made during the weekend.

The change suffered on coaching level helped a lot Panathinaikos, who recorded four wins from four games under the interim coach Georgios Vovoras. But the big news comes on Tuesday when PAO announced that legendary American coach Rick Pitino is back to the bench, after last year experience. He led the team to the playoffs but lost the round against Real Madrid 3-0. Now he’s back and aims big results here in OAKA. In the weekend, Panathinaikos had an ‘’official training’’ against Iraklis, winning the game 130-81, giving no chance to their opponents. 12 players were used in this game, giving some rest to the important players and some minutes to players that played fewer minutes until now. The main scorer was Jimmer Fredette who finished the game with 24 points and 4 assists, while Jacob Wiley (18 points and 3 rebounds) and Nikos Pappas (12 points, 4 rebounds and 10 assists) have big contributions. Nick Calathes played only 14 minutes and finished with 5 points and 8 assists.

Baskonia had a Euroleague-level match in Spain against Valencia but managed to win the game 85-74 after a very good third quarter. They had a six points lead at halftime, but in the third quarter, everything was settled with a 33-20 win. In that quarter, Baskonia scored 13 buckets out of 19 attempts, while forcing 6 turnovers from Valencia. In the end, Baskonia won in every aspect of the game, while Valencia finished the game with 20 turnovers. The main contributors for Baskonia were Shavon Shields (17 points and 9 rebounds) and Nik Stauskas (16 points and 4 rebounds), while for Valencia, Jordan Loyd had 20 points.

I expect a nice win from Panathinaikos in Pitino’s first game in his second spell in Euroleague. He has a lot of players at his disposal and it’s very important to know how to use and motivate them, but also to train them to play like a team, to look for the open man and defend very well. The absence of Patricio Garino recently injured reduce even more Baskonia’s chances to win the encounter.


Bogdan Vasile Tirc