Panathinaikos stepped up its game spectacularly in the second half of its big Euroleague derby with Olympiakos to win the first all-Greek clash of the season 93-80 at home on Friday.
The game was a hot affair at the filled-to-capacity Olympic Sports Hall in Athens, with the two teams swapping the lead in the first quarter before Olympiakos edged ahead by up to nine points (44-35) thanks to a great three-point shooting rate and its dominance in offensive rebounds.
The absence of injured Janis Strelnieks was more or less offset by Keith Langford very early four fouls, including a technical. The Reds had Janis Timma score five triples without fail, but the Greens reserved their reaction for the second half.
After the 48-41 half-time score in the visitors’ favor, the hosts came out with a far tighter defense, a recovered desire for challenges up and down the court and an energy that had the Reds pegged back: After having six offensive rebounds in the first half Panathinaikos collected 14 in the second.
Therefore the Greens quickly drew level at 54-54 and went ahead without ever looking back, thanks to the tremendous showing by players like Lukas Lekavicius and Thanassis Antetokounmpo. The fouls committed by Vassilis Spanoulis sealed the fate of Olympiakos that had no answer to the pressure from Panathinaikos.
The partial score in the second half was 52-32 in the hosts' favor.
Lekavicius was also the top scorer for the Greens with 17 points. Olympiakos had Giorgos Printezis notch up 26.
The result has brought Panathinaikos up to fourth at the table with four wins in six games, while Olympiakos is on a 3-3 record.
In the Basketball Champions League Promitheas Patras lost 83-78 at Strasbourg, PAOK triumphed 94-69 at Opava and AEK beat Fuenlabrada 78-71.