A rising Panathinaikos threatens Barça in the Palau

Rick Pittino's team arrives with four consecutive victories and as the best attack of the competition (89.3 points); former Barça Deshaun Thomas and Tyrese Rice, key pieces.

Barça receives Panathinaikos Athens at the Palau this Friday (9:00 pm) in a classic Euroleague clash and a duel of benches between two of the three most veteran and legendary coaches of the competition: the Serbian Svetilav Pesic, from 70, and the American Rick Pittino, 67. In addition, in a key clash for the Catalans to maintain their second position and for the Athenians for adding a victory that keeps them at the top of the table.

Pesic's are second (9 wins and 3 losses) and Pittino's, sixth (8-4), hence a winning victory would further compress the top ranking positions.

With the already known losses of Thomas Heurtel, Kevin Pangos and Víctor Claver and with a really intense calendar, since after this meeting, on Sunday, day 15, Barça will face Unicaja in Liga Endesa, on Tuesday, day 17 what will, again in Euroleague, to Asvel Villeurbanne and on Friday, the 20th, at Bayern Munich, the Barca coach is starting with the rotations before a new European double day

Thus, on the last European day on the track of Khimki Moscow, neither Pau Ribas nor Álex Abrines played and in the Endesa League in Manresa Cory Higgins did not play, which he gave rest, which, except last minute problems, it will only have the known losses.

Barça, after the victory on the Khimki track (94-102), returns to the Palau in Euroleague after the hard defeat against CSKA Moscow (67-96), knows that he cannot fail again in his fief.

Panathinaikos, sixth in the table, arrives after adding four consecutive victories in the Euroleague and as undefeated leader of the Russian league after ten days

Rick Pittino's team is showing a tough opponent. Except for Khimki Moscow (103-86), his other three losses have been by the minimum. Against Asvel (79-78), before Armani Milan in Athens (78-79) and Alba Berlin (105-106) after two extensions.

Two former Barca players Tyrese Rice, who scored 41 points on the last day against Olympiacos, and Deshaun Thomas are class pieces in the Greek team's schemes, the best Euroleague attack (89.3 points average) .

Four men without undisputed headlines: veteran baseman Nick Calathes (13.8 points and 8.8 assists on average); the aforementioned forward Deshaun Thomas, now top scorer and rebounder of the team (14.2 points and 5.3 rebounds); American guard Jimmer Fredette, signed for the NBA Golden State Warriors (13.5 points and 2.3 rebounds) and Greek power forward Ioannis Papapetrou (11.2 points and 3.7 rebounds) .

His fifth man is the roof of the team, the young Greek center (22 years and 2.18 meters) Georgios Papagiannis. Next to them are Elya mentioned Tyrese Rice, the American forward Wesley Johnson, from the Washington Wizards, along with Jacob Wyley (Gran Canaria), the escort Nikos Pappas or the Ghanaian pivot Benjamin Bentil (2.06 meters), complements of a powerful initial five

The Athenian weak point is its defense, the 15th in the Euroleague with 83.3 points conceded per game, against Barça, the fifth (77.8 points) .

And Barça's weak point is the penultimate rebound of the Euroleague with 31.8 catches per game, against Panathinaikos 38.4, the best in the competition (38.4) as well as in offensive rebound (12.8 per game), also the best.

Photos from as.com
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