Olympiakos and Panathinaikos had to work hard to score home wins for the Euroleague on Friday, against opposition that in other seasons would not have troubled them so much.
The Reds are on an 8-12 record after downing Bayern Munich 89-72 at the Peace and Friendship Stadium in the first win for coach Giorgos Bartzokas after his return to Piraeus. A tremendous final quarter made up for a poor third one that allowed Bayern to harbor big hopes for a win in Greece.
The hosts started well to advance 37-32 at half-time, but the second half was quite different. Bayern began scoring from everywhere and started building up a lead, only for the Reds to wake up toward the end of the quarter, when they edged ahead again (54-53). They then imposed themselves with some beautiful basketball, adding 35 points in the last period for a comfortable victory by 17.
Giorgos Printezis paced Olympiakos with 20 points, followed by Augustine Rubit with 14.
Panathinaikos did not pay for its poor defending against Zalgiris Kaunas in Athens winning 96-94, its 12th victory in 20 games.
Zalgiris led by a maximum of 11 points (24-13) for a 27-18 Q1 score in its favor. The hosts’s offense started improving in the second quarter, but the defense had coach Rick Pitino complain on camera at half-time about “unacceptable defending” by his team.
The Greens had to wait for 26 minutes to get the lead in the game, and never conceded it again.
In the final quarter Panathinaikos started much more serious and efficient, stretching its advantage up to 10 points (82-72) to anxiously win by two in the end due to a number of turnovers and some more careless defending.
It largely owes its win to Tyrese Rice, scorer of 20, and to a lesser extent to energetic but error-prone DeShaun Thomas (16 points, eight rebounds, five turnovers).