Olympiakos shook off a 10-point deficit five minutes from the end to win Game 3 of the Basket League final series with Panathinaikos 64-62 on Sunday in Piraeus in what was the closest of the finals so far.
The Piraeus giant made the most of the nervous Panathinaikos attacks in the end to come from behind and take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series.
The first half was balanced with the Reds advancing 12-7, Panathinaikos going up by seven (30-23), but the hosts scored nine unanswered points at the end of the second period to lead 36-33 at half-time. It was a pattern that would be repeated at the end too.
The third period ended 43-43, but Panathinaikos made a 15-5 partial score to go ahead by 10 (58-48) before Olympiakos began its comeback with consecutive three-pointers to eat into the Greens’ lead and go 64-62 ahead with a 15-4 partial score. In the last 13 seconds Panathinaikos missed the target twice and Olympiakos won by two in the end.
Nikola Milutinov was once again the game-changer for Olympiakos scoring a leading 14 points for the hosts, while Panathinaikos had Mike James score 16 points and then miss the key shots in the end.
Unfortunately this time the atmosphere was not as civilized as in the first couple of games, with bangers disturbing the players, despite calls from the public announcer.
Game 4 will take place on Thursday at the Olympic Sports Hall of Athens.
AEK has earned the third spot after sweeping Aris with a 3-0 score in the best-of-five series. It won Game 3 in Athens with a 71-60 score on Saturday.