Giorgos Papagiannis dunks for Panathinaikos.
Panathinaikos produced the most convincing performance of its season to date to beat last year’s Euroleague finalist Anadolu Efes by 16 points in Athens, while Olympiakos could not follow up its win at CSKA with a good showing at home against Maccabi Tel Aviv.
The Greens defeated their Turkish visitor 86-70 on Thursday, showing more energy than in previous games and making the most of the poor shooting rates of Efes.
The hosts had the lead for most of the first half. Halfway through the third quarter Efes led for the last time, 54-51. Panathinaikos then went out will all guns blazing to score a partial 17-1 for 68-55 eight minutes from the end. There was no way back for Efes against this Panathinaikos, that had both a tight defense and a prolific offense on the night.
This time the Greens were efficient even in their weak spot, the rebounds, matching their opponents’ figure of 39 on the night. Yet most importantly they have won back two players that were conspicuously negative in previous matches, namely Tyrese Rice (18 points) and Giorgos Papagiannis (10 points, seven rebounds).
Nick Calathes enjoyed another double double, with 11 points and 10 assists, leading the Greek champion to a third victory in six games.
For Olympiakos the return home was far from happy, as it suffered a 25-point drabbing to Maccabi (90-65) on Friday.
Crippled by the injury to Costas Papanikolaou and the stomach bug that had affected a number of its players, Olympiakos could not match Maccabi in the second half after just about staying in the game by half-time (40-45).
Coached by Greek Yiannis Sfairopoulos, formerly of Olympiakos, Maccabi appeared to know the Reds inside out and made the most of its great shooting rates (13/28 triples) to run away with the game from rather early on in the second half.
Giorgos Printezis (16 points) and Brandon Paul (12 points) led the scoring for the Greeks, who are now on a 2-4 record.
The question now is, was the triumph in Moscow on Wednesday a mere blip? Only time will tell.