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2007 – European Champion (Athens, 4-6/5/2007)

If in 2002 everyone thought of Panathinaikos as the underdog, in 2007 everyone thought it was the absolute favorite to win, and not just after it had already qualified to the Final Four, but from the very first Euroleague competition date, in October 2006. The reason for that was very simple: the Final Four would be hosted in Athens, namely at the OAKA indoor arena, the “home” of Panathinaikos. The “Greens” took it upon them to justify the forecasts and make a liar out of no-one. In an arena filled to capacity – and then some! – under the watchful eye of Nikos Gallis and Stojan Vrankovic, who received standing ovations of adoration from the “green fans” Panathinaikos won the 4th European championship in club history. The top of Euroleague throne was once again its own after a five-year period that only saw Panathinaikos in the 2005 Final Four in Moscow.

Panathinaikos had an 11-3 record in the first competition round: Joventut Badalona 83-73, 82-79, Cibona Zagreb 86-69, 78-75, Olimpija Ljublijana 83-74, 86-65, Lottomatica Roma 87-71, 79-69, Unicaja Málaga 87-72, 61-67, Partizan 80-93, 75-63, Maccabi Tel Aviv 90-88, 73-76. In the Top16, Panathinaikos downed Efes Pilsen (84-57, 79-65), had one loss to Barcelona (102-82, 66-87) and moved on with two wins over Prokom Trefl Sopot (95-68, 75-69). Dynamo Moscow did not prove to be an effective hurdle (2-0/80-58, 73-65), thus Panathinaikos clinched a ticket to its home arena Final Four in its hands. Despite the fact that during the summer transfers it lost two of the main cogs behind its motor, Jaca Lakovic (Barcelona) and Vassilis Spanoulis (Houston Rockets), it advanced as if in a race of its own. Panathinaikos showed that it can very well make it without them, reaching the semifinals to face Tau Cerámica, which it defeated by 67-53 in a low-score game for both teams. When Zeljko Obradovic was asked about the rhythm and the score, he said with a big smile on his face: “Who knows? Maybe in the next game things will be different. It is the game that dictates what you need to do.” He obviously knew what he was talking about, since victory came after both teams had scored as high as 93-91 in one of the most beautiful and exciting Euroleague finals the amazed crowd ever had the chance to see. Panathinaikos also enjoyed amazing performance by all its players, whether they were used for a few seconds or for a much longer time. Only one, however, was voted Final Four MVP and was none other than Dimitris Diamantidis, who was also included in the All-Euroleague First Team and named Best Defender of the Year. Ramunas Siskauskas was named to the All-Euroleague second team, whereas Zeljko Obradovic was voted Coach of the Year.

Final Four (Athens, 4-6/5/2007)

Semifinals  

Panathinaikos-Tau 67-53 (35-21)

Panathinaikos (Obradovic): Alvertis 5, Delk, Becirovic 15, Batiste 15, Siskauskas 11, Hatzivrettas 3, Dikoudis 7, Tsartsaris, Diamantidis 3, Tomasevic, Vujanic 8, Javtokas

Tau (Malkovic): Scola 6, Prigioni 6, Rakocevic 4, Vidal 2, Planinic 7, Erdogan 11, Teletovic, Peker7, Splitter 7, House 3

CSKA Moscow-Unicaja Málaga 62-50 (33-24)

CSKA Moscow (Messina): Papaloukas 11, Kurbanov, Smodis 8, Holden 7, Pashutin 2, Andersen 12, Zevrochenko 7, Torres, Ponkrashov, Langdon 13, Van den Spiegel 2

Unicaja Málaga (Scariolo): Sánchez 1, Rodriguez 7, Welsch 2, Cabezas 13, Pietrus 2, De Miguel 4, Tusek 3,Faison 4, Brown 8


3rd Place Game

Tau-Unicaja Málaga 74-76 (40-35)

Tau (Malkovic): Scola 14, Prigioni 13, Rakocevic 16, Vidal 2, Planinic 15, Teletovic, Splitter 10, House 4

Unicaja Málaga (Scariolo): Sánchez 5, Vassiliadis 8, Welsch 4, Pietrus 2, De Miguel 9, Tusek 18, Jimenez 10, Sánchez Α. 1, Faison 5, Brown 14


Final

Panathinaikos-CSKA Moscow 93-91 (46-36)

Panathinaikos (Obradovic): Alvertis, Delk, Becirovic 6, Batiste 12, Siskauskas 20, Hatzivrettas 10, Dikoudis 2, Tsartsaris, Diamantidis 15, Tomasevic 16, Vujanic 12

CSKA Moscow (Messina): Papaloukas 23, Smodis 18, Holden 11, Pashutin, Andersen 4, Zevrochenko 4, Torres 9, Ponkrashov, Langdon 16, Van den Spiegel 6

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