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Abandoned match crowns Panathinaikos champion

By George Georgakopoulos

Panathinaikos swept back to the throne of the basketball league after a year’s recess, as Game 3 at Piraeus was abandoned on Wednesday with the score at 76-72 in the Greens’ favor. Olympiakos fans showered the Panathinaikos players with objects, the referees asked for the evacuation of the stands, but as some fans refused to go after more than an hour of stoppage the referees called the game off.

Consequently Panathinaikos has won the best-of-five final series with a 3-0 score to complete the league-and-cup double for the 2012-2013 season, while Olympiakos stands to suffer a huge penalty for its fans actions.

Panathinaikos shook off an early Olympiakos lead (8-3) to lead 13-8 and then stretch its advantage to a maximum 10 points (24-14) thanks to repeated three-pointers. The Reds came back through improving their attack in the second period and ended the first half having the upper hand (39-35).

The third period produced the highest score in the series for a single quarter, with Panathinaikos netting 25 and Olympiakos 22, while the fourth period had the Greens edge forward thanks to personal efforts by captain Dimitris Diamantidis from the free-throw and the 6.75-meter lines. He ended the game with 18 points, while Costas Tsartsaris had 14.

Olympiakos last led at 72-70, but the Greens recovered to advance by four points, when the fans took over.

With a minute and a half remaining on the clock, a number of objects including lit flares were thrown at the Panathinaikos bench with the score at 76-72 in the Greens’ favor, resulting in the teams and the referees rushing to the locker rooms. A few minutes later fans were asked to leave the stands for the match to resume, but some refused to go. All this while there were no Panathinaikos fans at the stands.

Once again it was proven that some fans simply do not do justice to Greek basketball, that for three consecutive years now has held the European crown. In other words, the Greek game does not deserve such fans.

Yet this was not only provoked by the fans themselves. During the game there were some incidents of aggravation between players, and in the run-up to the match there was a war of words between the officials of the two clubs, which could only lead to what happened on the night.

Before the game fans attacked a television crew and broke their camera, while a flare hit Panathinaikos player Mike Bramos.

In a similar situation two years ago the last game of the finals was abandoned after Olympiakos fans hurled objects at Panathinaikos players, resulting in a penalty to Olympiakos for six games played at home behind closed doors in the following season.

ekathimerini.com , Thursday June 13, 2013 (00:25)  
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