Olympiakos scored an important road win at Valencia, its seventh in the Euroleague this season, while Panathinaikos was unable to follow up its triumph at CSKA Moscow with another away victory at Armani Milano.
Panathinaikos had another poor game in defense on Thursday, after conceding 100 points to AEK in the Greek league four days earlier, to go down 96-87 at Armani that prides on its good shooting rates anyway.
The Greens were always trailing their hosts, allowing many free three-pointers to a team that made 14 from 30 outside the 6.75-meter line.
Their typical reliance on Nick Calathes meant that on his poor night in Milan (four points, 1/10 field goals), Tyrese Rice was unable to fill in (five points, 1/4 FG). It was left to Jimmer Fredette (28 points) to save Panathinaikos’ face, with some help from DeShaun Thomas (15 points).
The Greens, who are now on a 10-8 record, announced on Friday the signing of Canadian guard Andy Rautins, who is expected to arrive in Athens over the weekend.
Olympiakos won 93-91 at Valencia on Friday in what may well have been the last game of Lithuanian coach Kestutis Kemzura on the Reds’ bench.
The Greeks were on top for most of the encounter in Spain and managed to fend off each and every effort by the hosts to edge ahead. The amazing ratio of 23 assists for eight turnovers illustrates the concentration and work rate of Olympiakos.
Giorgos Printezis and Sasha Vezenkov scored 18 and 17 points respectively to pace the scoring for the Reds, in a game that will restore calm in Piraeus and allow the club to make some important decisions.
Reports bring Giorgos Bartzokas close to agreeing a two-and-a-half-year deal with Olympiakos to return immediately to the club he led to the Euroleague crown in 2013. Bartzokas, the first Greek coach ever to win the Euroleague, will likely be pronounced Olympiakos coach in the next few days.
Olympiakos has also shown the door to Willie Reed after just two-and-a-half months at the Reds’ roster, following his tussle during training with Will Cherry; the latter is also considered likely to go.