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Thursday brought a huge win at the OAKA that leaves Barça joint second in their Euroleague group with Maccabi. A 77-81 win at Panathinaikos involved a fantastic second period for Navarro, some top play from Pleiss and Doellman delivering when it mattered most.
Batista started the game on fire. The Uruguayan centre imposed his game both in offence and defence and was largely the cause of Panathinaikos’s early 7-1 lead. Barça needed to find their game quick and did with Satoransky scoring before Navarro got his first score of the night – and a truly spectacular one too. From 18-11 it went to 21-16 with FCB gradually looking stronger and stronger.
Navarro came into his own in the second period. His 3-pointer tied the game and an astonishing nine more from the same man soon had Barça leading at 25-28. Finally getting the edge was the boost they needed, and despite slipping back to 32-30 following a Slaughter three, Barça then stormed off to a 0-12 streak led by Abrines and Tomic. The half time score of 32-42 gave Barça every reason to feel confident.
Panathinaikos came out aggressive for the second half. Their intensity tested the rules of the game to the limit and a 15-7 run soon had things back level at 47-49. Pleiss led the reaction in one of his finest games for the club, but the period ended at 52-57 and everything still to play for in Athens.
Tense, nervous win
Barça kept their nerve and four almost consecutive points from Doellman made it 58-65. Doellman and Diamantidis cancelled each out with threes, and with five minutes to play, the score stood at 63-68. Doellman then bagged another three to put Barça seven ahead, and Navarro appeared in the hour of need with a three of his own. That looked to have done enough, but the drama continued when Slaughter and Gist converted 3-pointers of their own to make it 73-75 with just over a minute left. But the Catalans played their cards right and saved the best for last, with Doellman, Navarro and Satoransky all scoring to eventually secure a huge win - 77-81.
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