The return to action after Christmas was a rather sour one for Panathinaikos and Olympiakos as they went down to Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively.
Real Madrid had a rather quiet night at the Olympic Sports Center in Athens on Boxing Day, beating Panathinaikos 87-75 with ease, as the Greens were always behind in the game and never really appeared to threaten the Spaniards’ supremacy.
The Greek champion has slumped to a 9-7 record with this second straight defeat in the Euroleague, disappointing its 15,000 fans who almost filled the stands as it lacked the spark required for rivaling a top-class team such as Real.
The visitors led 22-18 after the first quarter and 44-34 at half-time, and despite the hosts’ effort to get back into the game in the third period after trailing by 18 (57-39) to get the distance down to eight, the Madrid giant held on, taking its distance up to 16 (84-68).
Nick Calathes made 19 points (but had 1/8 triples) and Jimmer Fredette added another 18.
Olympiakos had a great second quarter at Barcelona, but that was nowhere near enough to avert its 90-80 loss in Spain on Friday.
The Reds reversed an early Barcelona lead to advance by five (34-29) during the second quarter after which they trailed 40-39, but the second half was a very different proposition altogether.
The hosts came out firing from the restart and even when Barcelona coach Svetislav Pesic was ejected with two technicals halfway through the third quarter, the Catalans powered ahead to take their lead up to 20 points (80-60) against an Olympiakos that was missing Nikola Milutinov.
On another poor night for Vassilis Spanoulis (two points three turnovers) and Brandon Paul (zero points, 0/7 field goals), Willie Reed registered 15 points and Sasha Vezenkov made 14.
The Reds are now on a 6-10 record, but should improve their position with their relatively easier set of fixtures ahead.