Olympiakos came from behind (76-72) in the end to defeat archrival and host Panathinaikos 79-77 after a spectacular all-Greek encounter for the Euroleague at the Olympic Sports Hall on Friday. The winner has moved on to a 5-3 record, while Panathinaikos is on four wins in eight games.
Regardless of the result, the two teams showed they have the quality to go all the way to the Final Four this season, after a grueling regular season of 30 games.
Olympiakos produced a perfect performance in the first half, without a single turnover, and led by eight at half-time (47-39) with captain Vassilis Spanoulis scoring 16 points in the first 20 minutes of the game.
Panathinaikos tightened its defense to regain the lead after more than 20 minutes, right at the end of the third quarter (63-61), led by a tireless Nick Calathes.
However a more composed Olympiakos exploited the frustration of Panathinaikos, which only scored through three-pointers and free throws, and won the game via a Giorgos Printezis goal-foul (although he was ordered by his coach to miss the free throw), as the Antonis Fotsis buzzer-beater missed its target.
Spanoulis was the top scorer of the derby with 22 points along with notching up eight assists.
Panathinaikos played without injured James Gist, who will be sidelined for at least two months. The Greens are considering to bring in a replacement for the Euroleague.