SPORTS

Reds thrash Siena but PAO loses

Olympiakos and Panathinaikos had spectacular performances in their opening games for the Euroleague playoffs on March 22, but only Olympiakos got to get a win.

The Reds broke one defensive record after another at their 89-41 home win over Monte di Paschi Siena to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five quarterfinals series that leads to the final-four.

Such was the spectacular performance of Olympiakos at the start of the game that eight minutes from the start it led 19-0, and 24-4 at the end of the first period.

The second was more of the same, with the half-time score at 47-9; holding Siena to just nine points in the first 20 minutes is a record for the Euroleague.

The remainder of the game was an opportunity for Olympiakos coach Dusan Ivkovic to rest some of his players, although the host?s lead even stretched to 52 points (77-25).

Panathinaikos, in turn, lost 83-82 at Euroleague holders Barcelona after coming mighty close to breaking the Catalans? home advantage. Barca now leads 1-0.

The two sides were never far apart with Barcelona edging ahead at half-time (37-35) and Panathinaikos taking the upper hand in the third period (60-57).

The individual quality of the hosts, the repeated errors by Panathinaikos players in the fourth period and some controversial referee calls allowed Barcelona to lead 82-77 nine seconds from time.

Panathinaikos skipper Dimitris Diamantidis took it upon himself then to give back some hope to the Greeks. He scored an unlikely three-pointer, two free throws and even had a shot at the very last second that would have given the Greens victory had it gone in.

March 24 will see the same ties for Game 2 of the Euroleague playoff series, as Olympiakos hosts Siena and Barcelona entertains Panathinaikos once again.