Aris hoopsters beat PAOK twice in a week

Aris beat crosstown rival PAOK for the second time in a week, to earn bragging rights in Thessaloniki at least until the Basket League playoffs start, while Olympiakos and Panathinaikos scored easy home wins.

PAOK desperately needed to avenge its loss six days earlier at Aris, at the game that was replayed due to Aris fan action last October, but even as host at the PAOK Sports Arena it succumbed to its visitor with a 78-77 score on Saturday. This was a breathtaking encounter reminiscent of the rivalry between the two Thessaloniki giants in the 1980s and 1990s that determined the fate of the championship.

PAOK is still third, but just one point ahead of fourth-placed Aris, and three ahead of AEK that beat bottom team Panionios 94-78 away. Before the game at Nea Smyrni there were clashes reported between Panionios and AEK fans.

Leader Olympiakos strolled to a 77-63 victory on Sunday over the only Greek team that has beaten it this year, Nea Kifissia.

Panathinaikos is one point from the top, thanks to its 90-65 win against Kolossos Rhodes on Monday, in a game where its captain Dimitris Diamantidis exceeded 1,500 assists in his league career.

In other Saturday games Apollon Patras edged out Panelefsiniakos 72-71 away through a three-pointer right at the end, KAO Dramas dismissed visiting AGO Rethymnou 91-76 and Korivos Amaliadas saw off Trikala 80-58 at home.