Milutinov leads Reds to the first defeat of Pitino’s Panathinaikos
Olympiakos ended its negative streak against Panathinaikos winning 79-65 in Piraeus in Friday for its 10th win in 16 Euroleague games.
The Reds were completely dominant in the second and third quarters of the game at the Peace and Friendship Stadium and built this handsome victory on their energy in defense and their superior shooting rates.
Panathinaikos coach Rick Pitino looked on unable to change the course of the game after the 16-14 score of the first period, as a partial 20-7 score saw the hosts power ahead by 15 (36-21) and never look back.
The players of coach David Blatt tightened their defense under the basket allowing the Greens to shoot triple after triple without success in most cases (3/19 after Q3, improving to 8/25 by the end).
At the other side of the court Olympiakos had some excellent distance shooting, led by Janis Strelnieks, while Nikola Milutinov was instrumental for the Reds with a record 18 rebounds and as many points.
Even when the advantage of 21 points (59-38) just before the end of the third quarter was reduced to 13 (65-52), the Piraeus team had the answer and took the game back to 21 (73-52), before ending up with a 14-point victory.
Strelnieks also made 18 points for Olympiakos, while Nick Calathes had 13 and Lukas Lekavicius 10 for the visitors.
The result has left Panathinaikos with a 7-9 record, and a mountain to climb in order to make the play-offs.