After working so hard during the regular season and Top 16, it would be understandable if some teams and players felt as though the playoffs were a massive achievement. They are, but there is no time to pat yourself on the back because the playoffs are demanding and with a five game series, if you don’t get off to a flying start, you will find yourself in trouble.
CSKA Moscow 93 – Panathinaikos 66
In a game that lived up to expectations, CSKA Moscow led from start to end in this one, grabbing a crucial opening win in their bets of five encounter with Panathinaikos. The 93-66 win was exactly what the home team were looking for and they set out to dismantle their opponents as quickly as they could.
This was evident in the form of Milos Teodosic who managed to grab 18 points and 8 assists in less than 20 minutes, with 10 of these points coming in the opening quarter. By the end of the first quarter, CSKA Moscow were 29-21 ahead and they never looked like relinquishing it. Panathiniakos tried to fight back in the second quarter but a storing Russian rear-guard ensured that the half-time score was 56-27, with the Greeks only being allowed to pick up 6 points. While CSKA Moscow have a great pedigree, this lead was their biggest ever half-time lead in a playoff game.
Panathinaikos improved in the second half
Panathinaikos did manage to serve up an 0-8 run in the third quarter but Teodosic returned to the action and picked up 8 points in a minute as the Russians grabbed a 12-0 run that saw them on easy street until the end of the game.
Demetris Nichols and Manuchar Maroishvili both grabbed 13 points for the home team while Andrei Kirilenko managed to grab 12 points for the home team on a night when all 12 CSKA players managed to get on the score-sheet. Nikos Pappas was the main man for Panathinaikos grabbing 16 points while James Gist offered up 14 points. Loukas Mavrokefalidis provided 10 points for Panathinaikos who know that they need to put this defeat behind them and get back into the swing of things as quickly as they can.
There isn’t a lot of time between the first and second game, the next match takes place on Thursday the 16th of April, so there is a need for the Greeks to dust themselves down and not feel sorry for themselves. Being 1-0 down in a five game series is challenging but it is far from impossible but if you slip to a 2-0 deficit, you know that you are going to be right up against it.
It seems as though Bwin are very confident that CSKA Moscow will take a 2-0 lead as they have them available at odds of 1.05 on the Money Line bet. Today will be a day of rest for all of the players while perhaps looking at tactics for the next change but it won’t be long until these two teams clash again.