Olympiakos got its first away win against Panathinaikos since 2007 on January 12 when it beat the Greens 65-61 at the OAKA indoor arena to gain a great advantage in the race for the title.
In a tight, tactical game, Dusan Ivkovic showed his value to Olympiakos who made the move to bring the master tactician back to Piraeus last summer.
In contrast to recent years, the Reds were able to hold their own on the Greens’ court and managed to keep their noses in front for much of the game.
Vassilis Spanoulis was on the end of a torrent of abuse in his first game as an Olympiakos player since his summer move from PAO. The Reds’ key player, however, was Rasho Nesterovic who scored 17 points and was strong on defense.
Drew Nicholas led the Greens with 15 points but the home side could not count on the usually reliable Dimitris Diamantidis. The guard had been suffering from a virus for the past few days and looked a shadow of himself as he failed to spark PAO’s game, scoring only two points in the process.
The win means that Olympiakos have a perfect record and 24 points from 12 games. Panathinaikos have 23.
Finishing top of the A1 League is vital as it gives that team home court advantage in the best-of-five playoff finals should the team that finishes first in the regular season make it that far.
In the day’s other games, Panionios beat Aris 89-84 in Thessaloniki, Iraklis dispelled some relegation worries by beating Ikaros Kallitheas 78-64, Kavala dominated Panellinios 81-70, Kolossos Rhodes kept up its decent record with a 71-66 home win over PAOK and Peristeri completed the series of home wins with a 68-61 defeat of Ilisiakos.
The match between AEK and Maroussi was postponed for January 19, as there were no electronic clocks at the Elliniko court.