BASKETBALL

Reds lose, Greens in dire need for change

reds-lose-greens-in-dire-need-for-change

The Greeks had a tough time against their Russian opponent this week in the Euroleague, but while Olympiakos’ loss at Zenit was not so damaging, the home defeat of Panathinaikos to UNICS may well have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Olympiakos retreated from the second spot of the table after going down 84-78 at Saint Petersburg on Friday to a superior Zenit.

The Reds’ defense left a lot to be desired in Russia, with Zenit leading for almost the entire match despite the improved showing of the Greek team in the second half.

Zenit braved the Olympiakos challenge even when the Greeks threatened to turn things around and eased to victory that has brought Olympiakos’ record to 6-3, in fourth.

Thomas Walkup stood out for the Reds with his 17 points on the night.

Panathinaikos is languishing near the bottom of the table, with a 2-7 record, after going down 74-72 at home to a rather mediocre UNICS Kazan on Thursday.

With the fans focusing on booing former Panathinaikos player Mario Hezonja on his sentimental return to the Olympic Sports Hall (he even bent to touch the shamrock at the center of the court), as most of them have not forgiven him for his departure, the Greens underperformed once again.

The lead changed hands numerous times, but Panathinaikos was far from the home team that had thrashed champion Anadolu Efes a couple of weeks earlier. With the Russian visitors taking a two-point lead a few seconds from the end, Ioannis Papapetrou (2/11 three-pointers on the night) tried an all-or-nothing triple that came to nothing, as the Greek champion is begging for changes.

Giorgos Papagiannis was impressive scoring a double double (14 points and 17 rebounds), though that was not enough for the team of coach Dimitris Priftis.