SPORTS

No gain in Spain for Greens and Reds

GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS

TAGS: Basketball

Spain has always been a very difficult place for Greek teams to go in the Euroleague, and both Olympiakos and Panathinaikos duly suffered defeats this week to Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively.

The Reds are on a 5-8 record after going down 93-77 at Madrid on Thursday, with the 16 points of difference actually being rather flattering for the Greek team given its poor performance.

In the absence of injured captain Vassilis Spanoulis, Olympiakos was unable to contain its host, with the difference shooting up over 20 points for long spells. The only bright period for Olympiakos was when it managed to score 10 unanswered points to slash its deficit from 19 to nine points early in the second half, but this was no more than a blip.

Were it not for the Spanish team’s decision to drop a gear in the last period, after a 72-48 score in the 30th minute, the gap would have been particularly wide by the end.

Will Cherie and Sasha Vezenkov made 12 points each for Olympiakos.

The Greens lie joint fifth on eight wins in 13 games following their 98-86 defeat at Barcelona on Friday.

Panathinaikos’ defense once again showed coach Rick Pitino where he needs to keep working at, as there were times when Barcelona was not denied at any point. The Greeks went almost the entire first quarter without a rebound.

Even so Panathinaikos did challenge Barcelona for most of the game, got within two points from its host twice during the game, at 30-28 and 60-58, but Barcelona were always on top with a varying spread and eventually won rather comfortably courtesy of its long-range shooting by such stars as Malcolm Delaney and Nikola Mirotic.

Although this was not at all a must-win game for Panathinaikos, the mere fact it conceded 98 points will leave the Athens team disappointed having worked so hard in offense.

Nick Calathes had 13 points and as many assists, with Jimmer Fredette being the top scorer for the Greek champions with 19 points.

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