Five opening-round hoops games on a knife edge

The basketball league tipped off on Saturday through Monday with five very balanced games and title rivals Olympiakos and Panathinaikos thrashing their Thessaloniki opponents.

After a week’s delay due to a dispute over television rights, fans were rewarded for their patience as they got to see some very competitive games, woth five out of seve matches being decided with a two-point difference.

Champion Olympiakos faced some decent opposition from PAOK in the first half at Piraeus, but eased to an 89-64 victory in the end on Sunday. Cup winner Panathinaikos led Aris by just 27-23 at half-time on Monday in Thessaloniki, but eventually returned home with a comfortable 71-56 win.

Kolossos and AGO Rethymnou played out a fantastic encounter on Rhodes that was decided in overtime in the hosts’s favor (82-80).

Panionios came away with a 64-62 win at KAO Dramas and Peristeri defeated neighboring Panelefsiniakos 77-75 in the Elefsina club’s first ever game in the top flight.

Ikaros Kallitheas edged out promoted Apollon Patras 67-65 at home and Ilisiakos defeated host Kavala 68-66 in a game marred by the verbal clashes between the two teams’ coaches, Chris Hougaz of Kavala and Dimitris Papanikolaou of Ilisiakos.