Olympiakos and Panathinaikos strolled to easy home wins in Greece this week for the Euroleague, with the Reds seeing off Armani Milano to rise to joint top of the table along with CSKA Moscow, while Panathinaikos dismissed visiting Anadolu Efes to stay alone in third, one point behind the leaders.
When home wins like those become a routine for the Greek representatives in the Euroleague, it becomes clear that even on this level Panathinaikos and Olympiakos have evolved into forces to be reckoned with across the continent, and fully deserve a spot in the Final Four in the spring.
Panathinaikos nailed Anadolu Efes from the start of the game at the Olympic Sports Hall to emerge victorious with a 90-79 score on Thursday.
Enjoying spectacular scoring rates, the Greens were always in the lead and reduced their visitor to an also-run in a game that extended the Greek champions’ perfect home record in the competition to eight games.
Nick Calathes is now back for good after his injury and led the Athens giant with his 17 points and nine assists, followed by on-fire Nikos Pappas who had 16 points making four out of five triples.
Had Panathinaikos made a greater effort in rebounds (just 20 against Efes’s 37) the distance would have been far greater on the night. Even so the Greens have risen to an 11-5 record.
Olympiakos also deserved a win by a greater margin, as it relaxed in the end against Armani to win by just seven (87-80) at the Peace and Friendship Stadium on Friday.
The Piraeus team was in the lead from start to finish as hapless Milano was unable to match its host until the Greeks dropped a gear in the final minutes.
The game marked the best performance to date for the Reds by Kyle Wiltjer, scorer of 15 points on the night, the same tally as Costas Papanikolaou.
Coach Yiannis Sfairopoulos will be more concerned about the state of Janis Strelnieks, who played for just five minutes and came off injured.