SPORTS

Greeks losing sight of Euroleague play-off spots

GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS

TAGS: Basketball

Greece’s Euroleague representatives are already drifting away from the top eight spots of the table, that lead to the playoffs, after their home losses this week, as Panathinaikos went down to Armani Milano and Olympiakos to Zenit St Petersburg.

For the second week in a row the Greens lost 79-78 (exactly the same score), despite once again having the final shot in the game with a few seconds on the clock. Yet just like in the match at Villeurbanne a week earlier, Nick Calathes took the last shot on Thursday and failed from close distance but under pressure.

Pressure is also growing on coach Argyris Pedoulakis, as the Greek champion relied once again only on the personal qualities of some of its players, namely Jacob Wiley (17 points) and Calathes (23 points).

The lead kept swinging from the hosts to the visitors and back, and when Panathinaikos advanced 68-61 in the last quarter the Italian team had the answer from the 6.75-meter line on a night when it made 14/26 triples.

Panathinaikos, on the other hand, had a miserable 4/21 in three-pointers and paid for that dearly, even though it improved its free-throw record (9/11).

Both the Greens and the Reds are on a 1-2 record after three games.

Olympiakos surrendered to Zenit in overtime with a 77-68 score in Piraeus on Friday. The Reds’ roster once again seemed unable to match a team that on paper was inferior, disappointing the 7,000 fans who filled up half of the Peace and Friendship Stadium.

The Russians had a slight edge for most of the game and thought they had won it when they went into the last minute with a six-point lead.

Olympiakos had 1/17 triples halfway through the third quarter, but it came back from the dead with two triples by Antonis Koniaris and a precious one from Costas Papanikolaou six seconds from the end that forced overtime (64-64).

However the visitors strolled to an easy nine-point win in overtime as Olympiakos appeared to have run completely out of steam, succumbing to its first defeat at home this season, despite having Kevin Punter and Nikola Milutinov score 16 points apiece.

Online