Greece’s Euroleague representatives are following diametrically opposite roads, with Panathinaikos securing another home victory, over Villeurbanne on Firday while Olympiakos lost at Zenit St Petersburg on Thursday.
Panathinaikos defeated Villeurbanne 100-88 in particularly easy fashion, relying almost exclusively on its offense, as its defense had once again some problems.
This third straight win, all of them at home, has brought the Greek champion to a 13-8 record, making it a strong favorite for a top-six finish.
With Nick Calathes distributing one assist after another (for a total of 17 on the night), the Greens led from the start, but stretched their advantage to 17 points by half-time (52-35) thanks to 32 points scored in the second quarter.
The distance grew up to 23 points (69-46) during the third quarter and the result of 100 points came in the end with an unlikely buzzer-beating triple by Benjamin Bentil, his only points in the match.
Jimmer Fredette made 22 points, Ioannis Papapetrou had 21, and Giorgos Papagiannis was once again impressive with 12 points, eight rebounds and five blocks.
Olympiakos slumped to a disappointing 91-87 loss at Zenit in Russia to see its record come to seven wins in 21 games and its season already come to a close, given its absence from domestic competitions.
The return of coach Giorgos Bartzokas has not yet managed to contain Olympiakos’s decline, in what has clearly been another year lost for the Piraeus club.
The Reds amazingly had only five scorers in the game, with the three flagbearers, i.e. Vassilis Spanoulis (31 points), Giorgos Printezis and Costas Papanikolaou (20 points each) accounting for 71 out of the team’s 8 points on the night.
“We should have got more from the other players,” complained Bartzokas after the game.
Despite a positive start, leading 27-24 after a prolific first period, Olympiakos was second-best at St Petersburg, not exactly the most difficult places to visit in the Euroleague. Zenit was on top for the rest of the game as Olympiakos proved unable to match its host with its four US stars scoring zero points between them.