Panathinaikos Athens | Panathinaikos Triumphs in Epic Comeback to Clinch 7th EuroLeague

A Night to Remember for Panathinaikos Fans

In a thrilling showdown, Panathinaikos AKTOR Athens came back from a 14-point deficit to capture their 7th EuroLeague title, defeating the presumed favorites Real Madrid, 95-80. The game was a rollercoaster of emotions, marked by outstanding performances and strategic plays.

First Quarter Fireworks

The game started with a bang as Real Madrid’s Eli Ndiaye, who averaged just 2.6 points per game, nailed two consecutive three-pointers. Edy Tavares, a key player for Real Madrid, faced early foul trouble, picking up two personal fouls within the first three minutes, forcing him to the bench. Real Madrid’s head coach, Chus Mateo, received a technical foul during the interval following Tavares’ second foul.

Real Madrid set a new EuroLeague Final Four record with 36 points in the first quarter. The combined 61 points by both teams also marked the highest scoring first quarter in EuroLeague Final Four history. This was the most points Panathinaikos had allowed in any quarter throughout the season.

Sloukas Steers the Comeback

Kostas Sloukas played a crucial role in Panathinaikos’ comeback. In the second quarter, Mathias Lessort’s nine points helped narrow Panathinaikos’ deficit to just one point at 48-47. However, Real Madrid ended the first half with a quick 6:2 run, maintaining a slim lead.

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The third quarter was a turning point. Real Madrid missed all nine of their three-point attempts and managed to score just seven points. Panathinaikos seized this opportunity to take their first lead of the game.

The Final Push

With the game on the line, Real Madrid switched to a zone defense with six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. This strategy proved ineffective as Panathinaikos exploited Edy Tavares’ presence on the court, hitting numerous shots after targeting him on the perimeter.

Facundo Campazzo fouled out with 2:36 remaining. Real Madrid, desperate to close the gap, began intentionally fouling Mathias Lessort. However, the French center from Martinique made enough free throws to render this tactic useless.

Real Madrid’s desperate shots in the final minutes failed to connect, and Panathinaikos emerged victorious.

Sloukas: The MVP

Kostas Sloukas was named the Final Four MVP after scoring 24 points and achieving a Performance Index Rating (PIR) of 31. His leadership and clutch performance were instrumental in securing the victory for Panathinaikos. Sloukas also made history by becoming the first player since Sarunas Jasikevicius to win the EuroLeague with three different teams.

Dedication and Triumph

Panathinaikos’ head coach, Ergin Ataman, dedicated the win to his late father. This emotional victory highlighted the team’s resilience and determination.

Financial Rewards

For their triumph, Panathinaikos will receive €1.75 million in prize money. Real Madrid, despite their loss, will receive close to a million euros.

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Rudy Fernandez’s Farewell

The game marked the final EuroLeague appearance for Rudy Fernandez, who had announced his retirement after the season. Fernandez’s illustrious career ended on a high note, albeit without the championship title he hoped for.

Conclusion

Panathinaikos’ comeback victory over Real Madrid in the EuroLeague final was a testament to their skill, strategy, and tenacity. Kostas Sloukas’ standout performance, combined with key contributions from Mathias Lessort and the tactical acumen of coach Ergin Ataman, ensured that the night belonged to Panathinaikos. As the team celebrates their 7th EuroLeague title, fans will remember this epic comeback for years to come.

Table: Key Statistics

PlayerPointsReboundsAssistsPIR
Kostas Sloukas244731
Mathias Lessort189222
Eli Ndiaye (Real)103111
Facundo Campazzo (Real)152617

Key Moments

Early Foul Trouble for Real Madrid

Edy Tavares, a towering presence for Real Madrid, faced early foul trouble. His absence on the court allowed Panathinaikos to capitalize and regain momentum.

Record-Breaking First Quarter

Real Madrid’s explosive start set a new record with 36 points in the first quarter, the highest in EuroLeague Final Four history. This early surge, however, was not enough to secure a win.

Sloukas’ Leadership

Kostas Sloukas’ exceptional performance was the cornerstone of Panathinaikos’ comeback. His 24 points and strategic playmaking were pivotal in the team’s victory.

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Quotes from the Game

  • Ergin Ataman: “This win is dedicated to my father. It’s been a challenging year, but the team’s hard work paid off.”
  • Kostas Sloukas: “Winning the EuroLeague with three different teams is a dream come true. This victory is for our fans and my teammates.”

Panathinaikos’ Path to Victory

Panathinaikos’ journey to the title was marked by resilience and strategic brilliance. Overcoming a formidable Real Madrid team required not only skill but also mental fortitude.

Real Madrid’s Struggle

Despite their strong start, Real Madrid struggled to maintain their momentum. Key players faced foul trouble, and their offensive strategies faltered in the second half.

The Significance of the Win

Panathinaikos’ victory is a milestone in EuroLeague history. It highlights the importance of teamwork, leadership, and the ability to adapt under pressure.

Future Prospects

With this win, Panathinaikos solidifies their status as a powerhouse in European basketball. The team’s future looks promising with a blend of experienced players and emerging talents.

Conclusion

Panathinaikos’ epic comeback against Real Madrid in the EuroLeague final will be remembered as one of the greatest moments in basketball history. The combination of strategic plays, standout performances, and emotional dedication culminated in a well-deserved victory. As the team celebrates their 7th EuroLeague title, they set a new benchmark for excellence in the sport.

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