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Panathinaikos 74-88 Barça: Job done and into the playoffs!
Barça come back after a poor start to certify the win and a place in the EuroLeague playoffs
That's now four wins in a row for Barça after they defeated Panathinaikos 74-88 in Athens. The victory both confirmed the recent improvement in form and classification for one of the eight spots in the EuroLeague playoffs.
The Greek side were already out of the running for the playoffs, yet they started strongly, Papagiannis' accuracy taking Panathinaikos to a 14-5 lead and only a couple of three-pointers by Abrines showed some fight for the Catalans. Jasikevicius called a necessary time out with the score 20-10 and Barça responded superbly to end the quarter only three points down (25-22).
The Catalans took the lead for the first time in the second, with the defence preventing easy throws for the Greeks. Barça scored 12-2 and looked like they were going to run away with it, but Panathinaikos managed to keep the score down to 36-43 at the break.
Barça outscored Panathinaikos 10-3 after the restart, opening up a 14 point lead, but the Greek side again ensured there was little to choose between the sides, with the lead for the Catalans eight points at the end of the quarter (60-68).
Panathinaikos came out fighting in the fourth, reducing the difference to 70-75, but Barça stepped it up again, Nikola Mirotic shining bright with 26 points, ably assisted by Mike Tobey, who equalled his season high 16 points, to see out the game and confirm their spot in the EuroLeague playoffs.
Now the aim is to confirm court advantage as soon as posible in the remaining games. Next up though is the domestic derby against Joventut Badalona at the Palau Blaugrana this Saturday (8.45pm CET).
Panathinaikos: Wolters (0), Papagiannis (19), Thomas (11), Williams (9), Grigonis (13) - starting five - P. Kalaitzakis (0), Lee (6), Bochoridis (5), Agravanis (2), Manrzoukas (5) and Gudaitis (4).
Barça: Satoransky (8), Laprovittola (2), Abrines (8), Mirotic (26), Sanli (0) - starting five - Da Silva (0), Vesely (7), Kalinic (6), Higgins (9), Tobey (16) and Jokubaitis (6).
Quarters: 25-22, 11-21, 24-25 and 14-20.
Referees: Olegs Latisevs, Milan Nedovic and Luka Kardum.