SPORTS

Unconvincing start for Greeks in the Euroleague

GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS

James Gist, now ofRed Star Belgrade, received a framed jersey with his name and number on from the time he was at Panathinaikos.

TAGS: Basketball

The start of the 2019-2020 Euroleague this week was far from impressive for the two Greek teams, but at least Panathinaikos did the job beating Red Star Belgrade at home while Olympiakos suffered at the hands of new boys ASVEL Villeurbanne in France.

For Panathinaikos, victory over its Serb visitor was absolutely necessary, and it got just that, with an 87-82 score on Thursday. However its 11,000 fans at the stands were not impressed.

Red Star led throughout the first quarter (14-17), but an improving Panathinaikos responded and pulled away in the third period (66-53), after which the Serb comeback was not enough to upset the odds.

The problem remains in the front line for Panathinaikos, with the visitors collecting an impressive 15 offensive rebounds, while free throws (20/28) also remain a liability for the Greek champion.

Nick Calathes made 21 points and DeShawn Thomas had 18, but former Panathinaikos star James Gist (honored by the Greens before the start of the game) was the top scorer with 22 points for the Serb team, feeling very much at home.

Next week Panathinaikos visits Villeurbanne which on Friday defeated Olympiakos 82-63 in Lyon.

The Reds had problems in offense, like any team that has many new players and little time to improve. Many of the Reds’ players underperformed, as the team does not have a league to play at anymore to help the players gel together in competitive games.

In France Olympiakos had a rather good start against a team that returned to the Euroleague after nine years, but the more athletic hosts easily got the better of the more experienced Greek team to lead by seven at half-time (40-33) and run away with the game halfway through the last quarter (73-57).

Giorgos Printezis saved some face for the Piraeus team scoring 15 points, but he often seemed lonely in offense.

In its opening game at the Eurocup Promitheas Patras thrashed Maccabi Rishon 88-55 in Israel on Tuesday.

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