Green hoopsters survive PAOK scare

By George Georgakopoulos

PAOK gave Panathinaikos a real scare in the opening game of the A1 semifinal series on Tuesday, but eventually the champion managed to scrape through, while Olympiakos strolled past Panionios in the other semi.

Loukas Mavrokefalidis led Panathinaikos to an 89-83 win at the Olympic Sports Hall, scoring 32 points and collecting 10 rebounds, after PAOK led 31-21 in the first period.

The Greens lead 1-0 in the best-of-five series, but their defensive performance is a very bad omen for its chances in the A1 finals.

Olympiakos, on the other hand, dismantled Panionios with a 78-43 score, with the Nea Smyrni club being unable to challenge its host at the Peace and Friendship Stadium.

Panionios scored no more than just 14 points in the second half, with the 43 points being the lowest tally in the club’s history in the A1. A few days earlier Aris had only scored 44 points at Olympiakos, also a historic low for the Thessaloniki team.

Such performances are certainly making Olympiakos the favorite for the title, even though it is Panathinaikos that has the home advantage in the play-offs.

Games 2 of the series take place on Thursday at the home courts of Panathinaikos and Olympiakos.