Panathinaikos saw off Euroleague leader Real Madrid on Thursday, while Olympiakos was upset at home by Galatasaray on Friday and is yet to clinch home advantage for the play-offs.
The Greens produced a great performance in offense to beat Real 88-82 at the Olympic Sports Hall in Athens and reach a 15-11 record that keeps them in fifth, two wins behind the top four.
The game was balanced almost in its entirety, with the Greens advancing by two at half-time (43-41) and the two teams exchanging the lead in the third period too.
Panathinaikos managed to contain Sergio Llull to 10 points and Rudy Fernandez to eight on the night, but it still trailed in rebounds (collecting 30 against Real’s 40).
What made the difference for the hosts though was the return of James Gist. The US forward came back from his injury that kept him sidelined for four months and showed why he was so badly missed by his team. His impressive display in defense and offense saw him score 11 points and collect four rebounds in 21 minutes. His energy is the best hope Panathinaikos has to reach the Final Four.
Chris Singleton was the top scorer for the Greens with 21 points on top of his nine rebounds. James Feldeine and Mike James added 14 points each.
Olympiakos had a far easier task at the Peace and Friendship Stadium against Galatasaray and wished to avenge its defeat in Istanbul earlier in the season, but lost 80-71 in one of the week’s biggest upsets in the Euroleague.
The match started with the Reds on top, stretching their lead to 16 points (42-26) before the Turks began an unexpected comeback that saw them equalize 57-57.
The warning signs were there for the Greek champion to see, namely the impressive three-point rate of the visitors, but after the Reds advanced 69-68 they suddenly switched off, allowing Galatasaray to score a partial 12-2 and win the game easily in the end.
Erick Green and Giorgos Printezis scored 14 points each, but when a team has a three-pointer rate of 10 percent it usually cannot beat another with a 62.5 percent rate.