Istanbul clubs got the better of their opponents from Greece in the Euroleague this week, as Olympiakos lost at home to Fenerbahce on Thursday and Panathinaikos went down at Anadolu Efes on Friday.
The Reds suffered their third defeat in a row losing 73-72 in Piraeus to Fener that had Greek international Costas Sloukas score 20 points to decide the game in the visitors’ favor.
Olympiakos led by up to eight points in the game but its blank spells allowed the experienced Turkish team back into contention.
Janis Strelnieks has not yet returned to its proper form from injury, Vassilis Spanoulis had a mediocre showing – with coach David Blatt grilled by the Press over the fact he left his captain out of the game for the crucial final minutes – and Olympiakos was left expecting everything from Costas Papanikolaou, scorer of 18 points and all of them in the second half.
Sloukas scored Fener’s last six points and his over-the-top celebration incited the wrath of the fans of his former team, who had applauded him before tipoff. The Greek playmaker later apologized for his excessive celebration.
The Reds are on a 3-4 record, languishing in the wrong half of the table ahead of a week with two Euroleague games.
Panathinaikos was particularly disappointing in Istanbul, losing 78-62 to Efes for its third defeat in seven games.
The Greens played their worst game to date this season, trailing by 16 from the first half (44-28) and being reduced to performing damage limitation in the second.
Their poor shooting rate, the tremendous energy of the Turkish team in defense and the negative showing by players such as Keith Langford and Lucas Lekavicius condemned the players of coach Xavi Pascual to an easy defeat against one of the teams that will rival the Greek champion for a place in the top four.
Nick Calathes and DeShaun Thomas scored 11 points each for the Greens.
Greek clubs fared far better in the Champions League, as Promitheas won 83-82 at Neptunas Klaipeda, AEK defeated visiting Lietkabelis 65-59 and PAOK downed Friburg 92-61 in Thessaloniki.