Olympiakos suffered a major setback on its way to the Euroleague Final Four after going down to Anadolu Efes in Piraeus on Friday, while Panathinaikos has all but crashed out as Zeljko Obradovic’s Fenerbahce got the better of the Greens again on Thursday.
The Reds faced a much more competitive Efes in Game 2 than two days earlier and lost 73-71. The best-of-five series is now tied at 1-1 after the pair of games in Piraeus and the two sides will meet again next week in Istanbul for Games 3 and 4.
At the Peace and Friendship Stadium Olympiakos trailed 23-22 after the first period, but had an inspiring Vassilis Spanoulis guide it to a seven-point lead at half-time (44-37).
Efes took advantage of a lapse in the hosts’ concentration to edge ahead (56-54) early in the last quarter, yet the Reds fought back to lead again by seven (65-58). Somehow Efes started scoring one triple after another, with the Greeks’ defense crumbling.
Olympiakos was betrayed by its particularly poor two-point rate of 45 percent while the Turkish team had 61 percent, but could have still nicked victory if its last shot by Erick Green had gone in.
Spanoulis and Giorgos Printezis scored 20 points each.
A day earlier Panathinaikos lost 80-75 at home to Fenerbahce and is all but eliminated from the competition as its relative improvement from Game 1 was not enough for it to level the series. Fener has a 2-0 lead.
Despite its strong start (16-6), the host insisted on its unorthodox game in attack with little cooperation between its guards and its forwards, while Fenerbahce thrived in its pick-and-rolls and its three-pointers to advance 45-43 at half-time.
With some of its stars, such as Nick Calathes, James Gist and KC Rivers underperforming once again, Panathinaikos could not sustain its second-half comeback that gave it a three-point advantage (68-65) and suffered a second home loss in 48 hours. It now has a mountain to climb next Tuesday in Istanbul.
Mike James was the Greens’ top scorer with 22 points on the night.