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The Euroleague Final Four will be without Greek clubs

By George Georgakopoulos

Greek basketball has been knocked off its throne in the Euroleague, as after three consecutive years of domination there will be no teams from this country in the competition’s Final Four next month.

On Friday holder Olympiakos suffered an 83-69 reverse in Madrid to Real to lose 3-2 in the best-of-five series, while Panathinaikos got thrashed 74-44 at CSKA Moscow to bow out of the tournament with the same score.

Never has a team overcome a 2-0 deficit in the quarterfinals of the Euroleague, and the Greek teams followed the rule in the end, despite going level (2-2) on Wednesday.

Olympiakos matched Real for about 32 minutes in Madrid, but when the Spaniards upped their pace the Reds were unable to follow.

The main problem for Olympiakos was its inability to collect enough rebounds to challenge Real. Had the Reds’ frontline risen to the occasion, Olympiakos could have caused huge problems to its host thanks to the strong showing by Vassilis Spanoulis – scorer of 19 points – and Matt Lojeski, who added another 15.

Real Madrid had a good first and last quarter, with the half-time score at 40-34 in its favor, and has now set up an all-Spanish semifinal clash with Barcelona.

Panathinaikos had a huge problem in attack in Moscow as it could not get any scoring from its guards on the night. It was left to James Gist and Loukas Mavrokefalidis to notch up some points, as CSKA dominated the match from start to finish.

With Dimitris Diamantidis, Zach Wright and Roko Ukic having a 2-in-17 field goal rate, there was no chance for Panathinaikos to stay close to its host in Russia, in what was one of the worst performances for the Greens this season.

Gist was the only Panathinaikos player to exceed 10 points, notching up 11.

CSKA Moscow will face Maccabi Tel Aviv in the other semifinal.

ekathimerini.com , Saturday April 26, 2014 (00:29)  
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