The victory against Bayern, not even 48 hours before tonight’s game against Panathinaikos, left mixed feelings in the Barça parish. Obviously the coaching staff and fans left the Palau happy, after all it was a victory, but the feelings left by the team during long stretches of the match were bittersweet. An erratic Barça was seen, chaining errors that are not their own, but also a team that knows how to overcome even a bad game. Today against the Greeks they will try to repeat the final result, but they surely want to go another way (follow the match live on As.com).
Today is still a game between two European basketball legends, although Panathinaikos is no longer that fearsome candidate to win the Euroleague. The Greeks are penultimate, without options to reach the top-8 and with many problems to win games in Europe. They only have five victories (Barça 18) and their statistics suffer. It doesn’t matter which one is chosen, Barça is the best team in everything. Rebounds, points, success, assists, outside shooting… only Dimitris Priftis is better in blocking. As if these numbers weren’t bad enough, Panathinaikos have yet to win a single match away from Athens. And the Palau does not seem like the right track to achieve it.
With Higgins, Oriola and Abrines out of action (Sanli already played on Tuesday) Barça needs other men to pull the bandwagon. They count Mirotic, who is always there, and a Calathes who little by little is picking up more and more rhythm. Neither Jokubaitis nor Laprovittola have disappointed either, both at a high level, but Jasikevicius seems to have added two more men to the cause. Kuric, one of the best shooters in Europe, had a great game against Bayern and Dante Exum, signed for three months, began to justify his incorporation. The Australian changed the game and launched Barça when Jasikevicius’s team lacked the most.
It therefore seems difficult for Panathinaikos to win the Palau tonight, but we must not forget that the Greeks put Barça in trouble in the match in Athens (82-85). However, his two best men in that match (and two of his best players) will not be in Barcelona today: Papapetrou and Nedovic are out due to injury. Daryl Macon and Papagiannis, meanwhile, are doubtful for tonight’s match.
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