ATHENS – The surging Panathinaikos hoopsters showed they are still a force to be reckoned with in Europe, easily disposing of the Turkish team, 78-64 at the Olympic Sports Hall, going 3-0 in Euroleague play, tied with Barcelona at the top of their group.
Anadolu Efes may have thought it had a little edge with its new coach from Greece, Vangelis Angelou, but it held a brief lead only once in the game, near the end of the half.
it was a tight first period that ended with the Greens holding only a two-point lead, 23-21 with 13,000 fans screaming their team on. Anadolu played tougher in the second period but that would be it for them.
The Greek team’s sharpshooters started off miserably, missing seven three-point shots in the second quarter but held a 37-36 halftime edge behind the spirited play of Mike Batiste.
Panathinaikos made a run in the third period to bolt out to a 67-54 lead behind perennial all-star Dimitris Diamantidis, joined by Ramel Curry, who got the team running and broke a slow pace that had dominated. Diamantidis stood out with 17 points and nine assists, while Stephane Lasme had 16 points and eight rebounds.
The easy win was a good tune-up for Panathinaikos before takes on its eternal rival Olympiakos Jan. 20 back in Greek domestic league play.