SPORTS

Greens dedicate second win over Reds to Pavlos Giannakopoulos

GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS

TAGS: Basketball

Panathinaikos imposed itself on Olympiakos for the second time in the day to win Game 3 of the Basket League finals with a 73-58 score on Sunday and lead 2-1 in the series.

The Greens require one more win in the best-of-five finals to clinch one more league title, with Game 4 set to take place on Thursday in Piraeus.

This time the hosts were dominant throughout the match, as they made up for their poor shooting from the line (just 10/25) with a solid defense and a prolific teamwork in attack.

Olympiakos could not match its host after going level at 20-20, as its players lagged in energy and ideas in attack.

Following the 38-28 lead at half-time, Panathinaikos stretched its advantage up to 19 points (63-44) leaving no chance to the Reds.

KC Rivers was the top scorer of the game with 15 points, followed by Mike James with 14. Vassilis Spanoulis also notched up 14 for Olympiakos.

The Panathinaikos players and coach dedicated their victory to the memory of Pavlos Giannakopoulos, the man credited for resurrecting the basketball division of Panathinaikos in the early 1990s to lead it to six European crowns.

Before the start of the match each Panathinaikos player laid a flower in front of his usual seat at the stands, where a huge photo of his had been placed. At the end of the minute’s silence, when the entire set of fans at the stands gave a standing ovation, some Olympiakos players also joined in clapping in honor of the deceased entrepreneur and patriarch of the Giannakopoulos family.

The Panathinaikos fans made sure they had no banners at the stands on the night, except one that read “You will always be our Pavlos, we will always be your children. Immortal.”

PAOK sealed the third spot in the league, beating Promitheas Patras 91-79 away on Saturday and winning the series 3-0. Promitheas finished fourth.

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