The Euroleague battles between the Greek and the Spanish giants ended 1-1 on Wednesday, with home advantage making the difference in the victories of Olympiakos over Barcelona (59-52) and of Real Madrid over Panathinaikos (87-84).
Olympiakos was dominant throughout the game against a depleted Barcelona in a contest with a particularly low score. The Reds shook off the two consecutive losses in Europe by producing an excellent defense that kept Barcelona 25 points below its Euroleague average.
Leading 32-25 at half-time and 49-38 at the end of the third quarter, the host dropped a gear in the last period and was not concerned when the Catalans cut the distance to five (56-51) as that was definitely not the visitors’ night.
Vassilis Spanoulis was once again the maestro of the Greek champion, scoring 15 points and distributing six assists.
Before the game Olympiakos honored Barcelona coach Giorgos Bartzokas for leading the Piraeus club to its most recent Euroleague crown in 2013.
Panathinaikos missed a great chance to upset Real Madrid, two days before hosting Olympiakos, again for the Euroleague.
The run-and-gun first half ended with Madrid on top (53-50), and the two teams continued to exchange the lead in the second as the game went down to the wire.
Eventually it all boiled down to a couple of turnovers by Panathinaikos’s James Feldeine, who having scored a Euroleague career record of 19 points gave the ball and the game away in the end.
Nick Calathes added another 15 points for the Greens, who are on a 4-3 record, just like Olympiakos.
James Gist limped off injured and is likely to miss the next few weeks’ action.
In the FIBA Champions League AEK lost 72-67 at Ludwigsburg, PAOK went down 68-63 at Neptunas and Aris succumbed 87-79 at Nymburk