A buzzer-beating three-pointer by Vassilis Spanoulis gave Olympiakos a precious away win at Panathinaikos with a 68-66 score on Sunday, to tie the finals of the Basket League at 1-1 and restore the Reds’ home advantage in the best-of-five series.
Three days after winning in Piraeus, Panathinaikos appeared to crack under the pressure from its 20,000 fans at the Olympic Sports Hall in Athens, with poor shooting rates in free throws and three-pointers, while Olympiakos led for almost the entire second half.
Unlike in Game 1, Olympiakos had a tight defense and often left the hosts frustrated in attack, to lead by up to six points (50-44).
Still, with 8.5 seconds remaining on the clock and Olympiakos leading by two (65-63), Panathinaikos captain Dimitris Diamantidis very nearly gave the Greens the win with a three-pointer to make it 66-65.
However Spanoulis fended off the pressure from Nick Calathes, possibly traveling in the proces,) to try an off-balance triple one second from the end, winning the game for the visitors and leaving the hosts with a look on their faces that read “what did just happen?”
Giorgos Printezis was the top scorer of the game making 20 points of Olympiakos’s 68. Nikos Pappas was the only Panathinaikos scorer in double digits (12 points).
Reports say Panathinaikos intends to formally dispute the result on Monday morning at the league (ESAKE) on the grounds of Spanoulis’s traveling before the final shot.
Game 3 will take place on Thursday in Piraeus.
AEK leads Aris 2-0 in the battle for third after a very eventful Game 2 in Athens that ended 89-84 and with the two teams having three players each on court, as all others had been disqualified due to an ugly clash among players and officials.