Spanoulis keeps Reds second in Euroleague, Greens falter
After the one-week break in the Euroleague, its Greek teams presented the same picture as in the previous three quarters of the regular season, with Olympiakos being solid at home to beat Valencia and Panathinaikos appearing lost on the road, suffering another bad reverse, this time at Khimki.
The Reds remained joint second at the table scoring their 16th win in 23 games, an 80-70 victory over Valencia in Piraeus on Thursday.
With Vassilis Spanoulis (25 points, nine assists) showing once again that he is back on his top form, and flanked by Nikola Milutinov (15 points) and Dimitris Papanikolaou (11 points, 10 rebounds), Olympiakos could not be beaten at home, shaking off the Greek Cup final loss to AEK.
It was only in the second quarter that Valencia got the better of the Greeks, when it scored 28 points to reduce its half-time deficit to just one point (40-39).
The Spanish champion had no answer to the hosts’ teamwork and good shooting rate from close range (68 percent in two-pointers), so the 10-point margin in the end appeared fairly flattering for Valencia.
Panathinaikos, on the other hand, was disappointing from start to finish and succumbed to a superior Khimki 78-61 in Moscow on Friday.
The Russian team, coached by Giorgos Bartzokas, grabbed a 15-point lead from the first half (46-31 at half-time) and strolled to an easy home win in the second as Panathinaikos lost the battle in shooting, rebounding and defending alike.
When the Greens’ most influential player, Nick Calathes stays on two points in 29 minutes, with 1/9 field goals, coach Xavi Pascual could hardly expect any better from his team in Russia.
The addition of Adreian Payne and the return of Mike James did not make a difference, though James did score 11 points on the night. Chris Singleton made 14 and Marcus Denmon another 11.
Panathinaikos is now joint fourth, on 14 wins, in a four-way tie that also involves Khimki, Real Madrid and Zalgiris Kaunas.