Barcelona came to OAKA with very bad ranking, but also with two very good consecutives victories against Khimki and CSKA and, at least for more of 25 minutes gave a lot of difficulties to Panathinaikos, seemed not in a good night, considering statistics at halftime: 1/10 from three points line, for a 4/22 total at the end, and 5/11 from free throws line.
But for one time Pascual's team have a huge superiority from two points shot (29/41 for 70,7%) and, as everytime, they have a player that don't need more words for describe what season is doing: 17 points (8/13 shots), 12 assists, 4 rebounds, 5 steals and a sense of leadership that push entire Panathinaikos world. And 1/4 from the line is the only thing for which is possible to consider Nick Calathes a human!
But, as repeatedly demonstrated this season, Panathinaikos not depend from Nick Calathes and not depend from anyone else because this is a TEAM, build by an excellent coach and directed by an excellent orchestra director, and all players gave a contribute, small or large but at same time important.
For example Ian Vougioukas: he played just 7 minutes and 30, but during his stay he had a great attitude, giving all his energy in both sides of court, scoring a couple of crucial shots for begin the decisive break. And can't be underestimated the dark job of Gabriel (crucial his three pointer at last quarter) and Lojeski
And what else to say about Nikos Pappas? Silent for 30 minutes and totally exploded during last quarter with all of his 15 points scored there, when the game took the Green way. And all of this without forget the consistency of Gist and Singleton.
So, 9/9 at OAKA and third position consolidated, waiting Friday night games, with more of 15.000 fans inside that as usual made everything shown inside court a highly spectacular setting and this will be a factor for next 20 hot days.
Because the program until end of January is very very "aggressive" starting already from Sunday with OAKA game with AEK, but with Sakota's team at home, and passing from next week, when will be the double Euroleague round and Panathinaikos will fly to Istanbul at Fenerbahce home on Wednesday 17th and will receive CSKA Friday 19th. A little break with home game with Lavrio Sunday 22th before receive Zalgiris Kaunas Thursday 25th and close Monday 29th with derby against Olympiacos at OAKA.
And...when play become hard, the hard men start playing!