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Panathinaikos wins its seventh European crown | eKathimerini.com

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Panathinaikos has added a seventh European crown to its glorious history as it came back from 14 points down to beat Real Madrid in Berlin’s final on Sunday.

The Greens won 95-80 in a match that will go down in history as one of the examples of the never-say-die approach that any finalist ought to have even against the holder, Real Madrid.

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This is because despite an abysmal defensive performance in the first quarter, after which Real led by 11 (36-25) and then stretched their advantage to 41-27, the Greeks regrouped and improved their defense while maintaining their offensive flair that had them constantly devise new ways to overcome Real’s defense.

The 36 points that Panathinaikos conceded in the first 10 minutes of the game were its worst defensive performance in one quarter all season in the Euroleague. Yet as the Greens improved their game, Real appeared to be slowing down in the same way it had done in Friday’s semifinal against Olympiakos. The first half ended with Real only five points up (54-49), giving a glimpse of what was to come in the second half.

In the third period Panathinaikos turned things around completely thanks to its iron-clad defense that let in only seven points in 10 minutes. As a result it went ahead 58-56 for the first time and never looked back.

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The Greens contained the key players of the Spanish giant and scored triple after triple against a frustrated Real that was unable to stop them. The distance went as far as 18 points just before the end, a truly unimaginable margin given the course of the first half.

Most players of the Greens ended the game with tears in their eyes, as was the case with coach Ergin Ataman too, for Panathinaikos has won the Euroleague for the first time in 13 years, consolidating its position as one of the most successful European basketball clubs ever.

Captain Kostas Sloukas won his third Euroleague crown with a third team, as after Olympiakos and Fenerbahce he has also led Panathinaikos to the European throne. He scored 24 points, followed by Kendrick Nunn with 21, Mathias Lessort with 17, Jerian Grant with 11, Dinos Mitoglou with eight, Juancho Hernangomez with five, Ioannis Papapetrou with four, Luca Vildoza with three, and Panos Kalaitzakis with two. Also contributing on the night were Kostas Antetokounmpo (watched on by his brother Giannis) and Marius Grigonis.

Earlier Olympiakos earned the third place with its 87-84 win over Fenerbahce.

In a match that took place at a more relaxed pace (many turnovers, lots of rebounds, three-pointers and assists and even shots from 8 meters), the Reds had Alec Peters on a great evening, and with 13 offensive rebounds, they won easier than the final score indicates.

Peters scored 20 points and Nigel Williams-Goss added another 12.

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