Olympiakos produced an emphatic win over Buducnost Podgorica in Piraeus on Friday, a few hours after Panathinaikos succumbed once again on the road, this time at Khimki.
The Reds scored their sixth win in 10 games beating Buducnost by 22 (92-70), i.e. the team that last week had ended the unbeaten run of CSKA Moscow.
The Piraeus giant was only challenged by the Montenegrin visitors in the first half, that ended 44-37, as in the second the Greeks ran away with it thanks to their irresistible game in attack.
The barely 5,000 fans at the stands of the Peace and Friendship Stadium witnessed Zach LeDay playing his best game with the Greek club so far, scoring 28 points and collecting eight rebounds. Vassilis Spanoulis added another 17 points.
Before the match there were extensive clashes between Olympiakos fans and riot police, with two vehicles burnt from the use of Molotov cocktails by the hooligans. Earlier on Friday Greek police had detained 37 Buducnost fans who had come to Athens even though they were allocated no tickets for the game. A number of makeshift weapons, including a hammer, were found in their coaches.
Panathinaikos, on the other hand, went down 76-68 at Khimki for its fifth defeat in 10 games, a result that is not only putting the team's top-eight finish in doubt but also increases the pressure on coach Xavi Pascual.
Despite the absence of super scorer Alexey Shved due to injury, Khimki led for almost the entire game, except for a brief period in the second quarter when the Greens edged ahead.
Panathinaikos had major problems in defense, conceding 29 points in the first quarter and 19 in the second (48-44 at half-time), lacking the necessary energy that would see it upset its host, as is usually the case on the Greens' travels.
Much as James Gist (19 points, nine rebounds) and Keith Langford (17 points) tried, the rest of the team was clearly struggling. Influential Nick Calathes was unrecognizable, scoring just two points with 1/9 field goals.