Ήθελε αλλά… δε μπορούσε ο Παναθηναικός

107

Με άλλα όνειρα και με διαφορετικές φιλοδοξίες ξεκίνησε τα playoffs ο Παναθηναϊκός ΟΠΑΠ, αλλά τα ολοκλήρωσε με τον ίδιο… εφιάλτη της τελευταίας επταετίας. Όπερ και σημαίνει με το ίδιο αποτέλεσμα! Αποκλεισμός από το Final 4 και σίγουρα όχι με τον τρόπο που θα είχαν στο μυαλό τους όλοι μέσα στην ομάδα. Με «σκούπισμα» από τη Ρεάλ, η οποία μετά το 2-0 στη Μαδρίτη, επικράτησε των «πράσινων» και μέσα στο ΟΑΚΑ (82-89) για το 3-0 στη σειρά.

Μάλιστα αυτή ήταν η 8η συνεχόμενη νίκη της Ρεάλ Μαδρίτης επί του Παναθηναϊκού τον τελευταίο έναν χρόνο (τρεις στα περσινή playoffs, δύο στη φετινή regular season και άλλες τρεις σε αυτήν την σειρά), κάτι που σημαίνει ότι έχει πάρει για τα… καλά τον αέρα της ελληνικής ομάδας. Όπως αποδείχθηκε υπήρχε διαφορά ποιότητας και όσο και αν ήθελαν οι «πράσινοι» να επιβληθούν των Μαδριλένων, δεν… μπορούσαν.

Στο τρίτο ματς του ΟΑΚΑ και μπροστά σε 18.000 φίλους του Παναθηναϊκού η Ρεάλ έκανε την διαφορά στα… κρίσιμα σημεία και πιο συγκεκριμένα στα σημεία που η ελληνική ομάδα δεν μπόρεσε να κάνει το ακριβώς αντίστοιχο στο Game 1 της Μαδρίτης. Πήρε διαφορά πέντε πόντων (75-70) στο 37′ την οποία, όχι μόνο δεν έχασε ποτέ, αλλά φρόντισε να την κρατάει στα ίδια επίπεδα με συνεχόμενα τρίποντα και εξαιρετικές συνεργασίες των Καμπάτσο και Αγιόν.

Αμφότεροι ήταν εκείνοι που έβαλαν το κερασάκι στην τούρτα του αγώνα, συμπληρώνοντας ιδανικά τον Ρούντιο Φερνάντεθ, ο οποίος είχε κάνει την περισσότερη δουλειά στην επίθεση μαζί με τον Τζέφρι Τέιλορ. Από πλευράς Παναθηναϊκού πολύ καλή ήταν η παρουσία του Ματ Λοτζέσκι, ο οποίος θυμήθηκε τον… παλιό, καλό Λοτζέσκι, ενώ ο Νικ Καλάθης είχε τις… στιγμές του χωρίς ωστόσο να κάνει το «κάτι παραπάνω» ώστε να μειώσει τη σειρά σε 2-1.

Το ματς

Μπορεί το ΟΑΚΑ να «κόχλαζε» στο τζάμπολ του αγώνα, αλλά η Ρεάλ μπόρεσε να βρει ρυθμό μέσα από τα εύστοχα σουτ και να προηγηθεί με 12-4 πριν συμπληρωθούν πέντε λεπτά αγώνα. Οι Ράντολφ και Καμπάσο ήταν εκείνοι που είχαν κάνει τη «ζημιά» στην «πράσινη» άμυνα αλλά με ένα επιμέρους 12-2 το οποίο ξεκίνησε χάρη στην πίεση πάνω στη μπάλα και το γεγονός ότι ανάγκασαν οι παίκτες του Πιτίνο τους Μαδριλένους σε δύσκολα σουτ, ο Παναθηναϊκός προηγήθηκε με 16-14. Ήταν η στιγμή που είχε… οπλίσει ο Ματ Λοτζέσκι, ο οποίος αποτελούσε τον key factor του αγώνα. Όμως όπως αποδείχθηκε εκ των υστέρων, δεν ήταν και… αρκετός.

Ο πλουραλισμός της Ρεάλ, σε συνδυασμό με την καλή της άμυνα που έκλεινε συνέχεια προς τα μέσα, την βοήθησαν ώστε να προηγηθεί με 18-23 στο πρώτο δεκάλεπτο. Αντίθετα, όσο και αν ήθελε ο Παναθηναϊκός να επιστρέψει στο ματς, λίγο η μέτρια απόδοση του Καλάθη σε συνδυασμό με τη γενική αστοχία έδωσαν το δικαίωμα στη Ρεάλ να αυξήσει εκ νέου τον δείκτη του σκορ και να προηγηθεί με 34-25 στο 14′ χάρη και στην καλή απόδοση του Φερνάντεθ. Σε εκείνο το σημείο όλα έδειχναν ότι ο Παναθηναϊκός δεν είχε τις «απαντήσεις» για να γυρίσει το ματς.

Κι όμως, τις είχε! Με τον Ίαν Βουγιούκα να τα… βάζει με όλους τους ψηλούς της Ρεάλ και τις περισσότερες φορές να βγαίνει και νικήτής και τον Ματ Λοτζέσκι να επιστρέφει το… ίδιο «καυτός» όπως στην πρώτη περίοδο, οι «πράσινοι» πραγματοποίησαν ένα επιμέρους 16-2 (!!) μέχρι το τέλος του ημιχρόνου (41-36) και γύρισαν ολοκληρωτικά το παιχνίδι, παίρνοντας και το momentum.

Στο πρώτο μισό του αγώνα, ο Παναθηναϊκός είχε 45% στα δίποντα (10/22), 50% στα τρίποντα (5/10), 75% στις βολές (6/8), είχε πάρει τα ριμπάουντ (17-14) αλλά είχε «φτωχή» δημιουργία με μόλις 6 ασίστ (σ.σ. οι 3 ο Καλάθης, ο οποίος είχε 1/5 δίποντα και 1/2 τρίποντα). Ο Λοτζέσκι ήταν… άχαστος με 14 πόντους (2/2 δίποντα, 3/3 τρίποντα) ενώ εξαιρετικός και ο Τόμας με 9 πόντους (4/4 δίποντα, 0/2 τρίποντα, 1/1 βολή). Αντίστοιχα, η Ρεάλ μέτρησε 71% στα δίποντα (10/14) και 4/17 τρίποντα (23%) ενώ είχε ξεκινήσει με 4/11 αστοχώντας στα έξι τελευταία.

Βέβαια το ξεκίνημα της 3ης περιόδου δεν ήταν ίδιο καθώς η Ρεάλ έπιασε στον… ύπνο τον Παναθηναϊκό, με τον Ταβάρες να «καθαρίζει» τα επιθετικά ριμπάουντ και με ένα 5-0 σερί να ισοφαρίζει σε 41-41. Εκεί ο Ρικ Πιτίνο κάλεσε τάιμ άουτ και ο Καλάθης με ένα τρίποντο και μια ασίστ «πάρε-κάρφωσε» στον Παπαγιάννη, οι «πράσινοι» έκαναν το δικό τους 5-0 για το 46-41. Ο Αμερικανός προπονητής ανακάτευε συνέχεια την τράπουλα, χρησιμοποιώντας Λάνγκφορντ-Λοτζέσκι στην ίδια πεντάδα. Μάλιστα ο Παναθηναϊκός είχε την ευκαιρία να στείλει την διαφορά και στους 8 πόντους όταν το σκορ ήταν 54-49 στο 28′. Όμως ο Λάνγκφορντ αστόχησε σε τρίποντο και στη συνέχεια το «τριφύλλι» δέχτηκε ένα επιμέρους 9-1 (55-58) 33 δευτερόλεπτα πριν από το τέλος της τρίτης περιόδου (58-58).

Στη συνέχεια το ματς ήταν… αίμα και άμμος αφού οι δύο ομάδες πήγαιναν πόντο-πόντο, σε ένα παιχνίδι για γερά νεύρα (68-68 στο 35′). Οι άμυνες ήταν εκείνες που είχαν βγει… μπροστά και είχαν πρωταγωνιστήσει, αν και οι συνεργασίες των Καμπάσο και Αγιόν ήταν εκείνες που είχαν φέρει τη Ρεάλ μπροστά στο σκορ με 68-72 τέσσερα λεπτά πριν από το τέλος. Ουσιαστικά ήταν και το σημείο-κλειδί για να γείρει η πλάστιγγα στη μεριά των φιλοξενούμενων. Ειδικά το τρίποντο του Τζέφρι Τέιλορ στο 37′ με το οποίο έστειλε την διαφορά στους πέντε πόντους (75-70). Έκτοτε δεν υπήρξε γυρισμός για τον Παναθηναϊκό που έμεινε για έβδομη συνεχόμενη χρονιά μακριά από το Final 4 της EuroLeague.

Τα δεκάλεπτα: 18-23, 41-36, 58-58, 82-89

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