Panathinaikos has all but confirmed home advantage in the Euroleague play-offs thanks to its huge win over CSKA Moscow on Friday and the simultaneous loss of Fenerbahce at Real Madrid. Meanwhile Olympiakos confirmed it will finish third after going down at Anadolu Efes on Thursday.
The Greens triumphed 85-80 in overtime in Athens after a fascinating game that neither team wanted to lose for its own reasons.
The two teams were neck-and-neck throughout the match at the filled to capacity Olympic Sports Hall, with the host advancing 45-40 at half-time, the Russians fighting back to go ahead by four (67-63) and the regulation time end 73-73.
Then in overtime Panathinaikos appeared to want the win more than its visitor, and, led by KC Rivers (17 points), Chris Singleton and Mike James (both 13 points), it grabbed the precious victory that makes it a favorite for a spot in the tournament’s Final Four.
For Panathinaikos to lose the fourth place it currently holds it has to lose at eliminated Maccabi in the last round of regular season games along with a Fenerbahce home win over Barcelona and a Baskonia home loss to Zalgiris.
As for Olympiakos, the match against Efes in Istanbul meant little for its position in the standings as it was always more than likely it would finish third next week whether it won or lost in Turkey. Eventually it went down 77-69 after a rather forgettable match in which it missed injured Matt Lojeski.
The Turks led for most of the game with a margin that dropped as low as two points but Olympiakos could not go ahead of a team that needed the victory much more.
Giorgos Printezis was the top scorer for the Reds with 16 points, with Vassilis Spanoulis adding another 11.