Panathinaikos lost 80-67 at home to Barcelona on Friday in a rather meaningless game at the end of the first group stage of the Euroleague, but the encounter will be remembered for the bomb scare that forced police to evacuate the stands at the Olympic Sports Hall of Athens and the match to resume with a 20-minute delay.
The 15,000 Panathinaikos fans at the stands were forced out at half-time as the sniffer dogs came in to ensure the phone call about a bomb was no more than just a hoax.
The second half nearly never started as Barcelona was reported to be considering to leave, while more than half of the fans never returned to their seats. However the police was quick and cleared the way for the second half to start.
Barcelona appeared to be more upset by the incident, as its complete domination in the first half, that ended 40-23 in its favor, was diluted in the third period. Panathinaikos reduced the distance up to six points (53-47) with DeMarcus Nelson playing his first game with the Greens ever as he was sidelined from the start of the season due to injury.
Yet Barcelona regrouped and regained a safe distance to win by 13 points, finishing the group in top while Panathinaikos was third.
In the absence of point guards Dimitris Diamantidis and Lefteris Bochoridis, it was a good opportunity for Nelson to get some playing time, ad score his first four points.
In this first home loss for Panathinaikos Antonis Fotsis was the top scorer with 14 points.
Interestingly the two teams will meet again in the second group stage of the Euroleague as they are in the same pool of eight teams that also features Real Madrid, holder Maccabi Tel Aviv, Galatasaray, Alba Berlin, Zalgiris Kaunas and Red Star Belgrade.
In the other group Olympiakos will face CSKA Moscow, Malaga, Armani Milano, Anadolu Efes, Fenerbahce Ulker, Laboral Kutxa and Nizhny Novgorod.
Also on Friday the supreme sports court in Greece (ASEAD) accepted Olympiakos’s case against Panathinaikos regarding the presence of banned Dimitris Giannakopoulos, the then president of Panathinaikos, at the stands and has referred the case of the Greek Cup quarterfinal (that Panathinaikos won 77-76 in October) back to the league’s judge.
As a result of that the federation has postponed the cup semifinal between PAOK and Panathinaikos that was due on Monday.