European champion Olympiakos won the first battle in the local league’s final series as it beat Panathinaikos 84-78 at its home ground, the Peace and Friendship Stadium, on Monday.
The game that had been postponed from last Thursday owing to rocks being hurled at the Panathinaikos coach, injuring two players, was a much more peaceful affair with some entertaining basketball and a few exciting moments.
Panathinaikos led 20-15 after the first period, but a spectacular performance by Olympiakos’s Giorgos Printezis (18 points) and Costas Papanikolaou (16) made up for the poor showing of Vassilis Spanoulis (nine points) to turn the game in the Reds’ favor.
Olympiakos led 41-33 at half-time and fended off a Panathinaikos comeback (49-47) to lead 58-52 after the third period and hold on to the victory that is giving it a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five series.
The Reds, who are vying for their first domestic title since 1997, will now visit Panathinaikos for Game 2 of the finals on Thursday.