Olympiakos shut Panathinaikos out in the last two minutes of Game 1 of the Basket League final series to come back from three points down and win by five (63-58) at the Peace and Friendship Stadium on Sunday.
In a low-scoring game where the two teams tried to cancel each other out, Panathinaikos appeared slightly stronger than expected against host Olympiakos and pushed its “Eternal Rival” all the way at the start of the best-of-five series.
The Greens came back from an 11-point deficit (24-13) to advance 27-26, but the Reds ended the first half on top (35-33).
The second half was more of the same, with shooting rates even poorer for most players. The Olympiakos lead of 45-38 was quickly overturned (46-45 in the visitors’ favor) and the two teams were neck and neck until Panathinaikos advanced 58-55.
At that point Nikola Milutinov took over and scored some precious points while at the other end the Greens were simply unable to find the target.
Milutinov and Giorgos Printezis had 12 points each for Olympiakos, but the game’s top scorer was KC Rivers of Panathinaikos with 16.
Game 2 follows on Thursday at the Olympic Sports Hall.
In the battle for third AEK won Game 1 with Aris 90-74 in Athens.