BASKETBALL

Greeks dominate the Spanish giants in Euroleague

Greeks dominate the Spanish giants in Euroleague

Olympiakos has clinched a top-three finish in the Euroleague beating Barcelona in Piraeus on Friday, after Panathinaikos defeated the other Spanish giant, Real Madrid, in Athens on Thursday.

The Reds downed regular-season leader Barcelona 73-66 at the Peace and Friendship Stadium in their final game in the round-robin phase, but will need to wait a couple of weeks to find out who will be their opponent in the play-offs, where they will enjoy home advantage.

On Friday they made that advantage count, in the first time the stands were allowed to be filled to capacity. Olympiakos dominated its opponent in the second half mainly thanks to its defense (just eight points conceded in the third quarter) and deserved its win, Barcelona’s only sixth loss this season in Europe.

Shaquielle McKissic paced the Reds with 20 points, as Sasha Vezenkov notched up 13.

The Reds have finished on a 19-9 record and will end up either second or third.

As for Panathinaikos, its week started off on Tuesday with a poor showing against Maccabi Tel Aviv, but the Greens redeemed themselves in front of their fans with victory over Real Madrid.

Maccabi won 95-83 in a game that was far more meaningful to the Israeli team than struggling Panathinaikos, that had Nemanja Nedovic score 21 points on the night.

Yet two days later a massively improved Panathinaikos turned up the heat on Real Madrid to win 87-86 in its final home game in Europe this season.

Giorgos Papagiannis was outstanding, against rival center Walter Tavares too. The Greek international ended the match on 18 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks, leading the Greens to an 8-18 record, up to the 13th place.