Greek stars gift Reds opening Euroleague win

Olympiakos defeats Caja Laboral 85-81 at home By George Georgakopoulos

Olympiakos began the defense of its Euroleague crown on Thursday with an 85-81 home win over Spain's Caja Laboral.

The Reds were the better team throughout the game with the exception of a spell in the third period when the team from Vitoria temporarily edged ahead, having trailed by 11 points at half-time (48-37).

Using pretty much the same recipe as last season, under coach Dusan Ivkovic, the players of Giorgos Bartzokas focused mostly on defense, although they have generally formed a team that is fast and produces many attacks in a game.

Led once again by its two Greek stars, Giorgos Printezis (17 points) and Vassilis Spanoulis (16), Olympiakos will gain self-confidence from this win at the Peace and Friendship Stadium ahead of the start of the Greek league this weekend and the big match with Panathinaikos on October 22.

New signing Stratos Perperoglou added another 14 points.

Panathinaikos opens its Euroleague challenge on Friday visiting Real Madrid.