On Tuesday, in Round 9 of Euroleague, Panathinaikos will make a long trip to Kaunas to face Zalgiris in a tough and quite balanced match. It’s a duel between two teams that has no problem in their national competition, Panathinaikos having a perfect 7-0 record, while Zalgiris has 10-0 in LKL.
Zalgiris came in this match after two defeats in Euroleague, one against Barcelona at home at second away at the other Euroleague’s Greek team, Olympiacos. Despite they had more offensive rebounds and more shots attempts, they managed to score only 74 points with a 41% shoots made from the field, including 4-19 from the distance. They used all the players from their rotation, with 10 of them playing over 9 minutes, but that didn’t help to stop an Olympiacos team that is coming after several defeats. Their top performer was Jock Landale who came from the bench and finish the game with 23 points and rebounds, while Lukas Lekavicius ended the game with 14 points and 4 assists. Three of their starters (Hayes, Grigonis and Ulanovas) finished the game with only 10 points combined after a poor shooting.
In the last round of Euroleague, Panathinaikos suffered a shocking defeat at home against ALBA Berlin 105-106 after a disastrous game from the Greeks. Despite a double-overtime, then PAO’s Coach Pedoulakis give 14+ minutes in the game to only 6 players with is a huge mistake. He forced their starting players to play more than 37 minutes each which gave them a lot of fatigue and lost their concentration in the closing moments of the game. Nick Calathes and DeShawn Thomas missed a lot of shots, first ending the game with 3-9 from the field, while second with 1-8 from the distance. Ioannis Papapetrou had a huge game, ending with 39 points and 5 rebounds in 48 minutes of play. PAO’s bench scored only 4 points out of 105. The only thing to say here is OMG! No surprise that Coach Pedoulakis was sacked after this game, you simply can’t take those poor decisions. You have some good players of the bench, gave them some minutes, don’t force your starting players to play over 40 minutes.
It’s important to see how PAO’s players will react in a tough match after the coach’s dismissal. In the national league, they simply destroyed Ionikos, but now they face the Lithuanian Champions and given the fact that they desperately need a win, it will be very hard for the Greeks to win here. Maybe Zalgiris will use PAO’s problems in their advantage and also take advantage of Fredette’s absence.
Bogdan Vasile Tirc