SPORTS

Crunch week for Greens and Reds in Euroleague

The second week of the Euroleague playoffs sees Panathinaikos and Olympiakos with a 50 percent chance each to reach the final four of basketball?s top club competition, at the expense of Barcelona and Siena respectively.

March 29 sees Game 3 of all four best-of-five quarterfinal series, with Panathinaikos hosting holder Barcelona at the Olympic Sports Hall and Olympiakos visiting Monte di Paschi Siena. Both sides are tied at 1-1.

Panathinaikos lost Game 1 with an 83-82 score at Palau Blaugrana on March 22, but grabbed a precious away win two days later with a 75-71 score that has gifted the Greek champion home advantage. If the Greens beat Barcelona in both home games on March 29 and 31 they will return to the final four after a year?s absence.

The squad was greeted by some 300 Panathinaikos fans upon its return from Spain on March 25, while tickets to Game 3 were sold out on March 27.

Olympiakos had a rollercoaster week: On March 22 it thrashed Siena by 48 points in Game 1 (89-41), only to suffer a shock home loss in Game 2 (82-65) two days on. This means that if it wants to stay in the contest for a final-four ticket it will need to win at least once this week in Italy.

Greece?s two representatives in the Euroleague were given some time to rest by the Greek league, which continued with five games over the weekend.

PAOK is now alone in third after beating fourth-placed Maroussi 75-72 on March 27 at home, while Panellinios is ever closer to survival in the top flight after winning at fellow struggling Ilisiakos 88-85 in overtime.

In other games, Kolossos beat Ikaros Kallitheas 74-66, Kavala edged out Panionios 84-75 and Aris saw off bottom side Iraklis 86-70 away.