EuroLeague Mid-Season Review: Panathinaikos on pace for Play-offs
With the first half of the EuroLeague season now in the books, AGONAsport’s Peter Katsiris takes a look at the progress Panathinaikos have made in their bid to reach the EuroLeague play-offs…
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Despite pulling off yet another domestic double last season, Panathinaikos ultimately underwhelmed in the EuroLeague as the Trifylli bowed out at the play-off stage. This season, Xavi Pascual’s men appear to have the right formula in place as the Athenians sit comfortably in a play-off spot at the midway mark of the EuroLeague’s regular season.
Former Panathinaikos coach, Zeljko Obradovic, got the better of Panathinaikos last season as eventual EuroLeague Champions, Fenerbahce, swept Panathinaikos in the play-off round.
This season, Panathinaikos struggled out of the gate as the Trifylli struggled away from home and thus finished the first five games of the season with a 2-3 record following road losses to CSKA Moscow, Barcelona, and Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz.
Another away game, however, would provide the necessary boost for Panathinaikos’ campaign as the Trifylli got the better of arch-rivals Olympiacos at a hostile Peace & Friendship Stadium to kick-start a five-game winning streak that would include triumphs over Real Madrid and Maccabi Tel Aviv.
As expected, Nikos Calathes has played an integral role for Panathinaikos as the Greek international point guard has been an instrumental playmaker as demonstrated by his league-leading 7.92 assists per game.
Perhaps what is different for Panathinaikos this season, however, is that the side does not necessarily rely on Calathes as their only source of offense. In fact, that was on display when Calathes was forced to sit out three EuroLeague clashes, which prompted the likes of James Gist and KC Rivers to take over the offensive duties.
Panathinaikos depth will need to continue to play a role in the club’s success on the continent, especially with the club looking to make a deep run in the play-offs.