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Disgraceful refereeing mars all-Greek derby in Euroleague

GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS

TAGS: Basketball

Olympiakos defeated archrival Panathinaikos 81-78 for the Euroleague on Tuesday in Piraeus in a game marred by the one-sided officiating which decided the encounter’s outcome. It appears the clash seen in previous seasons between the Euroleague and the Greek champion has now been resurrected.

Panathinaikos was apparently made to pay for the attack by a few of its fans on the referees of its game with Barcelona two weeks earlier in Athens as they were heading to the airport.

The Euroleague announced after the attack on the referees’ taxi that any similar incident would mean the tournament's games would not be staged in the country again for some time, before trying to ease the negative impression this created then by saying it is not turning against all Greek basketball fans.

Instead it appeared to have taken action on Tuesday at the all-Greek derby at the Peace and Friendship Stadium, failing to do justice not only on Panathinaikos but also on the great effort by Olympiakos.

The menu offered by referees Daniel Hierrezuelo, Saso Petek and Uros Nikolic included blatantly obvious fouls that were not given, a technical foul on Panathinaikos coach Rick Pitino, baskets that counted when they shouldn’t have, others that didn’t while they should have counted etc.

As if all this was not enough, Panathinaikos owner Dimitris Giannakopoulos alleged he was twice attacked at the stands; instead of the police and the game’s authorities taking action, they advised him to leave at half-time, and so he did. The referees did nothing to prevent the numerous thugs surrounding the court from imposing themselves on the visiting squad, while reports speak of some 50 people with accreditations who stormed the locker rooms during the second half trying in vain to find Giannakopoulos.

Even so Panathinaikos was always close in the score, leading by five in the second period (33-28), but a spirited Olympiakos opened an eight-point gap (63-55) thanks to its great supremacy in triples and the huge contribution by Shaquielle McKissic. The referees aside, the recently arrived American was the protagonist of the match.

Panathinaikos made just one in 20 triples (it also scored a second one but the referees first counted it and then annulled it), and when it was left to DeShaun Thomas to try and equalize with eight seconds on the clock, his three-pointer was another miss, leading Olympiakos to its 12th win in 27 games and Panathinaikos to its 13th loss.

McKissic was the game’s top scorer, notching up 22 points for Olympiakos, while Nick Calathes made 18 for Panathinaikos.

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