After one of the most exciting games in this year’s Euroleague, Panathinaikos edged out visiting Zalgiris in overtime with Nick Calathes as the last-second hero, while Olympiakos suffered its fifth consecutive defeat on the road going down at Red Star Belgrade.
The 10,000 fans at the Olympic Sports Hall on Thursday night will take long to forget the 94-93 win of Panathinaikos over its Lithuanian visitor.
The Greek champion led by 20 (43-23) during the first half, but then switched off allowing the Kaunas team to stage a great comeback and lead 58-55 in the third period. The 76-68 home team lead was answered by Zalgiris that led 82-78, with regulation time finishing 83-83.
Overtime started with Zalgiris advancing by seven (90-83), Panathinaikos recovered to lead 92-91, Kevin Pangos thought he had won it for Zalgiris with his two-pointer 4.7 seconds from time, but he had not imagined what followed. In front of a crowd that had gone silent by the shock of the apparent defeat, Calathes ran the entire court with the ball in that time and laid the ball in just in time for a one-point win in the end. The ultimate buzzer beater, as Calathes imposed his own law once again.
Calathes made a total of 14 points, plus nine assists and eight rebounds. His points tally was matched by Marcus Denmon and Lukas Lekavicius.
Panathinaikos is now on a 13-7 record, the same as Olympiakos that went down 89-78 in Belgrade on Friday.
The Piraeus team has not overcome its crisis, having avoided to make any player changes despite reported plans to that end.
In Belgrade it only managed to show glimpses of the quality it had offered earlier this season, trailing its host for most of the game.
Red Star scored 35 points in the first 15 minutes to lead by 10 points, and when Olympiakos bounced back to advance by six (63-57) after the third quarter, the Serbs made an impressive 32 points in the last period to force Olympiakos’s seventh defeat in the Euroleague. This loss has removed the Greeks from the top four of the table.
The 16 points by Vassilis Spanoulis and the 14 from Brian Roberts were not enough for the players of Yiannis Sfairopoulos on the night.
In the Basketball Champions League AEK lost 88-87 at home to Strasbourg, Aris succumbed to visiting Besiktas 72-65 in overtime and PAOK went down 93-79 at Tenerife.