BASKETBALL

Emphatic start for the Reds in the Euroleague play-offs

Emphatic start for the Reds in the Euroleague play-offs

Olympiakos made an emphatic start to its Euroleague play-off series with Monaco, winning 71-54 in Piraeus on Wednesday in Game 1 of the best-of-five series that leads to the competition’s Final Four.

The Reds recovered from a poor start to the game (they trailed 15-8 after Q1) to strangle the Monegasque offense in the rest of the game, as they conceded just 39 points in the last three quarters of the game at the Peace and Friendship Stadium.

The key for the Greek team was the containment of Monaco’s top scorer Mike James, who only got to score 10 points with just 3/10 field goals.

Olympiakos also benefitted from its pluralism in offense, with five players in double figures, led by evergreen Giorgos Printezis and Shaquielle McKissic with 12 points apiece.

Game 2 is taking place on Good Friday, again in Piraeus.

Wednesday also saw five games played for Greece’s Basket League, headlined by the Thessaloniki derby where Aris edged out bitter rival PAOK 77-76 at home.

Champion Panathinaikos had no problems at home against Larissa, winning 98-67 and showing some signs of recovery.

Promitheas Patras let coach Ilias Zouros go on Monday and welcomed back historic coach Makis Yiatras after a year’s absence from the bench he graced for eight years. However that return did not bring victory on Wednesday for the ambitious Patra team that went down 90-82 at Lavrio.

In other games, AEK downed Iraklis 80-74 and Peristeri won 87-82 at Ionikos.