The Greeks returned to Euroleague action this week with two losses in games they will feel they could have won, as Olympiakos left a great comeback against CSKA Moscow unfinished, while Panathinaikos let a 10-point lead at Alba Berlin slip.
Olympiakos went down 75-74 at home to CSKA on Thursday for its sixth defeat in a row. However three minutes into the third period, with the core at 51-26 in the Russians’ favor, nothing would point to the tight finish the Peace and Friendship Stadium witnessed.
The Piraeus club, the perennial jinx team of the Russian giant, regrouped, equalized and even managed to edge ahead a few seconds from the end. However a needless foul by Vassilis Spanoulis on Mike James 2.6 seconds from regulation gave the Russians the chance to win the game and they did.
Shaquielle McKissic made 24 points and Sasha Vezenkov added 14 for the Reds, who find themselves with an 11-15 record. They are now out of the reckoning for the playoff spots.
Two weeks since its previous competitive game, and ravaged by injuries and the coronavirus, Panathinaikos could not make its lead last at Alba, going down 74-65 on Friday.
The Greens, without injured top scorer Nemanja Nedovic, slumped to a 9-15 record despite leading by up to 10 points during the first half in Berlin. Their tight defense that saw them advance 34-28 at half-time collapsed in the second half, and they even – uncharacteristically – lost the rebound battle (34 against 32).
Aaron White was the only Panathinaikos player in double digits, scoring 14 points.
However the Greens can expect better days to come, as besides the return of Nedovic they can look forward to new signing Mario Hezonja who arrived in Athens on Thursday to a rapturous reception by the Panathinaikos fans at the airport. The former NBA star from Croatia will make his debut on Sunday in the league game against Aris.