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Reds' win in Serbia suits Panathinaikos too

GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS

TAGS: Basketball

Olympiakos defeated Red Star in Belgrade on Wednesday to confirm its home advantage for the Euroleague play-offs and do Panathinaikos a favor beating one of its rivals to the fourth spot, one day after the Greens sealed their own play-off spot with a home win over Armani Milano.

The Greek champion needed overtime in a rather poor game to beat its Serbian host 66-64, thanks to a last-ditch effort by Giorgos Printezis at the end of overtime.

Despite having a mediocre Vassilis Spanoulis and being deprived of Matt Lojeski, Olympiakos had an excellent defensive performance in the first half keeping its host to just 17 points and leading 30-17 at half-time.

However a dark spot halfway through the second half led to Red Star scoring 18 unanswered points to turn the game on its head (from 32-42 to 50-42), before the Greeks recovered to force overtime (58-58) and win the match for their 19th win in 27 games.

Costas Papanikolaou scored 17 points, seconded by an impressive Dimitris Agravanis with 16.

On Tuesday Panathinaikos beat depleted Armani 74-61 in Athens in a game that offered fans very little quality given the fact that the Italians arrived in Athens with just seven players fit to contest this Euroleague game.

After a 10-2 deficit at the start the Greens ruled supreme for the rest of the game stretching their lead up to 20 points, but clearly lagged in concentration.

They might be excused for thinking about their next game, that is taking place on Thursday in Spain against Baskonia. That match is crucial for Panathinaikos as victory would mean it will probably finish fifth and can have a shot at the fourth spot (after Fenerbahce’s defeat on Tuesday) that would grant it home advantage in the play-offs.

On Tuesday the Greens had Nick Calathes and Mike James score 13 points each.

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