CSKA of Moscow crashed Panathinaikos for a second time in three days, this time with a 100-80 score, to lead the series 2-0 in the Euroleague playoffs (Final 8).
Even though both teams carry a heavy history (they combine 12 Euroleague titles) CSKA is a step ahead in every degree in this series. With a budget of 45 million euros, they are by far the most expensive club in the history of European basketball and almost double that of Real Madrid and Barcelona who come in 2nd and 3rd respectively.
In antithesis to the first game though, where the difference in the two teams’ level was visible from the very get-go, the visitors got off to a strong start, as Charalampopoulos and Vlantimir Giankovits shined early to give the Greens an 8-14 lead. Kirilenko struck three times from downtown in a 15-0 run, in which De Colo also hit a three-pointer at the first quarter buzzer to give his team a 21-14 margin after 10 minutes.
And that was it pretty much for the Greens, whom put in a massive effort, shot quite well, played some strong defense but couldn’t stop the almighty Russians and their outstanding 68% shooting.
The Greek Champions tried to stay in the game during the second quarter (47-35) but by the third, the game was set when Markoishvili and Nichols struck from downtown to bring it up to an 18-point game (72-54). In the last quarter, Panathinaikos tried to chop the difference down (maxed at 84-56) and succeeded by leveling it to just 20 (100-80).
The series now returns to Athens where Panathinaikos hopes to break the spell of losing nine out of the last 11 meetings between the teams and hopefully get one back.