SPORTS

Spanoulis becomes the Euroleague player with the most assists ever

GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS

TAGS: Basketball

Vassilis Spanoulis became the Euroleague’s number one player in assists, but Olympiakos lost in overtime at Malaga, while Panathinaikos comfortably beat Valencia at home on Friday.

Unicaja Malaga beat Olympiakos 87-85 in an ever-so-tight encounter in Spain that the Reds will feel they should have won.

Playing without Giorgos Printezis and Costas Papanikolaou, Olympiakos trailed by up to 16 points at the start of the second half (49-33), but bounced back to level the score quickly (51-51) and edge ahead by seven near the end (74-67).

Malaga, however, forced overtime (74-74) and covered the three- and four-point leads of Olympiakos in the extra period to win in the end by two.

The loss means little to Olympiakos, that will seal the third spot in the regular season in the last round of games next week with a win over Zalgiris. However the match is historic for Spanoulis, whose eight assists took him above Dimitris Diamantidis as the all-time top "assistant" in the Euroleague. He also made 15 points on the night.

Panathinaikos saw off Valencia 75-56, holding the Spanish team to its lowest point tally in the Euroleague this season.

The Greens led from start to finish in their last home game in the regular season, mainly thanks to their great defending, letting in just nine points in the last quarter.

Nick Calathes stood out with his 17 points and 10 assists, while Adreian Payne had his best game with Panathinaikos so far, making 12 points and collecting eight rebounds.

Victory at Armani Milano next week will probably take Panathinaikos to the fifth spot, to face Real Madrid in the play-offs.

In its first-leg game of the Basketball Champions League quarterfinal AEK beat Strasbourg 78-69 in Athens on Wednesday, to take a nine-point lead to the second leg in France on April 4.

Online