Vassilis Spanoulis is back for good, leading Olympiakos to a home triumph over Euroleague favorite CSKA Moscow, while Panathinaikos produced an emphatic victory over Maccabi Tel Aviv, as the table’s top four includes the two Greek superpowers.
Panathinaikos extended its perfect home record beating Maccabi 89-76 on Tuesday, shaking off the absence of injured playmaker Nick Calathes.
The Greens produced a great all-around display with five players in double scoring figures and plenty of energy that saw them dominate rebounds too.
After being challenged hard in the first half by the Israeli team (49-43 at half-time), Panathinaikos marched ahead in the third quarter and never looked back, led by the ingenuity of guards Lukas Lekavicius (13 points) and Nikos Pappas (14).
However it was James Gist and KC Rivers who were the top scorers for the Greek champion, with 15 points each. Panathinaikos is now joint third with nine wins in 13 games.
Olympiakos had the most difficult of home games to play on Wednesday against table-topping CSKA Moscow while missing key players such as Giorgos Printezis and Nikola Milutinov. Yet is still won 88-86 and has joined the Russians at the top of the table on a 10-3 record.
After a balanced first three periods of the game where the lead swapped hands several times, CSKA gave away a 10-point lead in the last quarter and never recovered against its jinx club, Olympiakos.
The Piraeus team turned a 72-66 deficit into a 77-72 advantage with 11 unanswered points, led by Jamel McLean (25 points and 12 rebounds), Costas Papanikolaou (15 points) and mainly Spanoulis, who had 16 points and eight assists in 31 minutes.
McLean was actually the round’s Most Valuable Player along with Khimki’s Alexey Shved.
In the Basketball Champions League Aris lost 71-65 at home to Nymburk on Tuesday, while on Wednesday PAOK defeated Gaziantep 77-65 in Turkey and AEK saw off visiting Venezia 84-64.